The Diversity Initiatives and Resource Center and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute hosted a Valentine’s Day-themed couples panel with three of the institute’s couples in the Pollak Library on Feb. 14.
(Baylee Mause / Daily Titan) FEBRUARY 18, 2019
The panel consisted of Cindy Senften-von Coelln and Fritz von Coelln, Jerome and Adleane Hunter, and Paula and William Purpura, talking about their personal experiences and how to maintain a healthy relationship. The three couples have each been together for around 50 years.
“I think relationships are as unique as the people in them. So what works for us doesn’t necessarily work for others,” Adleane Hunter said.
Jerome Hunter said one secret to staying in a marriage is simply wanting to be married. The Hunters have been married for 46 years.
Adleane Hunter said she never felt like she had to compromise or change who she was to appeal to her husband. Similarly, couple Paula and William Purpura had to learn to accept each other in all aspects, including their mental illnesses.
“We entered our marriage not knowing any of this. Also not fully understanding how we were wired,” William Purpura said.
William Purpura said he found out he had attention deficit disorder when he was in his 30s and years later, Paula Purpura was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
“For the 42 and a half years we’ve been together, it’s been a discovery trip. And it has been scary,” William Purpura said.
Paula Purpura said she wanted to take the time she had on the panel to discuss the significance of mental illness because there’s a stigma attached it.
“I’m glad to have this opportunity to talk a little bit about mental illness because it’s a hard set of words to apply to yourself, but I have to apply it to myself,” Paula Purpura said.
The Purpura couple emphasized that having the proper diagnosis and medication are necessary to improve mental illness. The two opened up about attending counseling during the harder times in their marriage.Video Player00:0000:28
Cindy Senften-von Coelln and Fritz von Coelln also opened up about seeking help.
“It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you, it actually means you’re a better person to say there’s something broken here, I need some outside help,” Cindy Senften-von Coelln said.
Cindy Senften-von Coelln said that people should not be afraid or too proud to ask for outside help just because they are in a committed relationship.
Before Cindy Senften-von Coelln met her husband Fritz von Coelln, she had been single for 11 years. Cindy said her past marriages were not based on the right foundation and that she needed time to work on herself.
She also said to avoid vocabulary that uses words like “divorce” or “I’m leaving you.”
“We’re a partnership, we’re a team. We need to cooperate with each other and help each other reach our goals, our dreams, our aspirations. We need to celebrate when we achieve something, not become jealous,” Cindy Senften-von Coelln said.
Fritz von Coelln later mentioned that he learned through his marriage to Cindy that he could also still love his first wife, who died of breast cancer.
“I found love twice. I found that I can love two people. This is a relationship, a friendship, a companionship,” Fritz von Coelln said.G