Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, John and Vilene Farina have been more observant of the surroundings around their Lewiston home. They often go on walks around their neighborhood and have been paying more attention to the birds. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — Semiretired couple John and Vilene Farina had to close their wellness business in June due to COVID.

Like many, Vilene does some work from home.

Like many, she and her husband are spending more time together than normal.

Whether living with roommates or family, being together 24/7 can be challenging, especially with the heightened stress caused by pandemic problems and unknowns.

It’s easy to get in each other’s way, to lose patience.

What can help, Vilene said, is understanding the personality needs of others in the household, giving them their own space at times and togetherness at other times.

Vilene and John attended a seminar recently where they learned about personality assessment and each other’s traits.

“John’s an introvert. I’m an extrovert,” she said. After both attended a convention filled with intense, day-long classes, “I was all wound up” and wanted to talk, she said.

He was all done for the day and wanted quiet time. No talking.

Not wanting to talk after a full day didn’t mean he didn’t care, “he needs his John time,” she said.

Another example of each other’s makeup is that he’s a thinker, a planner; his decisions are ruled by logic, she said.

She’s more of what she called a “feeler,” more spontaneous, someone who’s “all heart,” someone who wants to be thanked and appreciated.

One way those differences play out in the household is “he wants to know what his dinner is going to be,” Vilene said. “I could care less.”

Paying attention to the personality of those you live with, how they think and operate, can promote understanding and harmony, Vilene said.

When it comes to chores and leisure, couples hunkering down should find things to do together and apart.

An AARP article recommends couples do some activities together, like preparing dinner, walking the dog or watching television shows or movies.

But all relationships also need a balance of “we” and “me” time, according to AARP. There should be space in the home where each person has room and time to themselves to recharge and pursue interests.

“It’s about giving space to people when they need it, yet finding time to do things together,” Vilene said.

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