• Helping couples make positive changes!

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  • Where A.R.E. you in your relationship?

    If you’ve ever attended a party celebrating a 30-, 40-, or 50-year anniversary, one of the most common questions asked of the couple is this: what’s the secret to a lasting marriage.Perhaps the couple has a formula of their own that is a testament to their relationship success. There are many responses:

     

    • Never go to bed angry
    • Make time for each other
    • Try new things together

     

    Among many others. But the question is actually more poignant than the asker may realize. How does love last?

     

    Dr. Sue Johnson, founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), the most researched and evidence-based couples therapy model today, studies this question extensively and has distilled the answer down to its bare essentials:emotional responsiveness. Okay, great, you may be thinking. But how does that mean and how can I use that to improve my relationship.

     

    Simple. What is is and how it works is outlined by the acronym A.R.E.

     

    Accessibility

     

    When you think of accessibility think of the question, am I available?Can your partner reach you even when you’re upset or feeling insecure? When you start to spin and fall down emotional rabbit holes, can you make sense of the maelstrom? Can you express yourself and share in ways that don’t blame or accuse your partner for your current emotional state? When you fall into your emotions rather than trying to understand the underlying issues, you become disconnected from yourself andyour partner. If you can find a way to ground yourself and maintain a center of balance, you can better determine what’s going on inside those intense feelings and reconnect and tune in with your partner.

     

    Responsiveness

     

    Responsiveness is complicated – as are relationships. But essentially, it speaks to the question, can your partner can count on you to respond?This is the opportunity for partners to let each other know that what’s going on in their individual worlds matters to the other. One partner’s negative emotions can easily affect the other partner, leading them into an ‘uh-oh zone’. As in, uh-oh, are they mad at me? Did I do something wrong? Did they have a bad day? Did she/he What’s going on? It’s hard for a partner to figure out what’s happening inside your personal world, and even if they’re willing to fix it – or if they WANT to fix it – they may not know what the itis. If you’re accessible and responsive, you become highly aware of the other’s internal and external states and work together to comfort, support, and solve problems together.

     

    Engagement

     

    Everyone wants the kind of engagement and tenderness that occurs when two people show up and share in ways that strengthen an emotional bond and pull that beloved close. Each person in a relationship is responsible for the energy they bring to the table. You can’t pull or turn away, turn away, leave, yell, or shut down and expect the special kind of attentiveness and care you’re looking for. Engagement is about leaning in (especially during tough times) and being involved in ways that allow the other person to come close.

     

    As partners in intimate relationships, one of the most helpful tips is to figure out which part of the A.R.E. trilogy you need help with and then reaching out and asking for it.