A whole new science of love and connection has developed over the last two decades that helps 7 out of 10 distressed marriages or couples significantly repair their relationship, known as Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples, developed by Sue Johnson, author of "Hold Me Tight." Love doesn’t have to be a mystery anymore, and is the most powerful influence on our survival as a species.
When you feel close emotionally to your partner or spouse, your brain codes your closeness as a safety cue. Your brain also perceives the other spectrum, when you feel isolated and emotionally disconnected from your partner or spouse, as danger cues. Since we are all born dependent on a caregiver for our survival, we need the safety of a caregiver to feel secure. The need for a secure connection is with us from the cradle to the grave. Just like when you were a child, when your adult love relationship feels insecure, anxiety and depression result from this lack of safety in your relationship.
We all need a secure connection with our partner or spouse, who can offer us comfort, support, and strength to explore the world. Studies now show that the need for a secure connection with our partner or spouse is wired in us, even more primary for our survival than sex or aggression.
How you define yourself, your self-esteem, and how you relate and connect with other people, depends on the quality of your emotional connections in your life, from childhood, teenage years, and throughout your adult life. The most important relationship for adults is with their partner or spouse, who has the most influence on our self-esteem and how we relate to other people, in a positive or negative way.
Ask yourself the following key questions:
- Do you see yourself as lovable?
- Do you feel you deserve care?
- Do you feel confident in yourself?
- Do you trust other people, and do you feel that you can count on them?
Answers to these key questions are heavily influenced by your relationship with your partner or spouse.
When you feel close and connected to your partner or spouse, you feel stronger and more resilient, instead of feeling weak or needy. If you feel your partner or spouse is “there for you” and “has your back,” you are much more likely to explore the world around you, to take appropriate risks, and to learn new things better. Instead of feeling vulnerable and weak, you can experience a sense of empowerment when you know your connection with your partner or spouse is secure.
When you are securely connected in your marriage or love relationship, you can stay “present” with him or her, “attune” to what he or she is experiencing on the inside emotionally, “resonate” or have a “felt sense” of what he or she is feeling emotionally, and “respond” in a way that meets what he or she needs. Staying present, attuning, and resonating with your partner or spouse leads to trust, the prize of security in a love relationship.
Share Your Experience in Your Marriage or Love Relationship
Have you had moments in your marriage or love relationship when you've doubted the security of your connection? Have you felt alone, isolated, or misunderstood in your relationship? What have you done that has helped? Share your experiences in the comment section below. Have questions about how to make your marriage or relationship better? Let us know as well in the comment section.
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