Happy Marriages and Happy Couples Are Emotionally Focused - Find out what this means?
Who is emotionally focused couple? Simply put is when two individuals who know how to share their emotions in vulnerable ways. This is an important ingredient to having a successful marriage when you are each able to consistently connect on an emotional level, and relate to your spouse from a secure attachment. A secure attachment is someone who is a secure connector.
What is a secure connector? It means, as a spouse you are someone who is comfortable with yourself, and with others’ emotions and you are able to easily discuss through your own negative feelings, difficult issues or any conflict without reacting. It means you can listen without reacting to your spouse without being defensiveness or giving reasoning to whatever she or he is sharing with you. Are you someone who is able to sit and receive information and tolerate any negative feelings.
Do you have the relationship skills, discussing important experiences, and resolving conflicts and as a result feeling connected and close to each other?
A secure attachment is what makes marriages healthy, authentic and happy. The secure attachmenet has a lot do with your early life experiences and the type of home and environment you grew up in. This includes what your experiences were with your caretakers. An honest look here at yourself is very helpful without blaming anyone. This is not about blaming parents or anyone. It’s simply about understanding your attachment and your love style. A secure attachment requires trust and safety in a relationship. Both spouses must reach out to each other and be vulnerable with each other in order to feel close and connected. For example, the husband needs to know and feel secure when he talks to his wife about his emotions, and hopefully she can listen and find out what he needs in that moment emotionally from her. Vulnerability is huge here because he can be honest and reveal to her by sharing his internal process. Sometimes it's hard for a man to tell his wife that he misses her and ask her for more time in the relationship. Another example is, when the husband is working too hard and too many hours and is gone most of the times, or perhaps he is too preoccupied by activities or other professional demands. At first his wife is understanding and patient and supportive of him. However, after a few weeks or months, she starts feeling uneasy and might experience feeling unimportant, unseen by or forgotten by him. So the wife might show anger or might withdraw. Especially if the wife is someone who has an insecure attachment and is an avoider, in this case she would be unable to share with him her real emotions. The wife feels lonely and that her husband's work has become his first priority. A wife with a secure attachment would tune into her own feelings, identify them and accept them and feel free to share those with him in a vulnerable way without attacking him. In my Burbank counseling office, I teach couples how to get to have dialogues with their spouse, so that they are operating more from a secure attachment and as a result feeling close and connected instead of reactive.
The common complaints couples make are usually as follow: they report that they are growing further apart, they have arguments, now that the kids are grown gone they feel strangers to each other, one spouse finds more interest in someone else or starts to have an emotional affair with an opposite sex person, perhaps they are dealing with spouse's addictive behavior or sometimes infidelity and dishonesty in other issues. As a marriage therapist, I often find out that there is a pervasive pattern with couples experiencing emotional disconnection, and not having maintained a consistent closeness and open communication. Many time couples simply don't have the right relationship skills to come closer and feel connected. When couples feel disconnected from each other that leads to infidelity, arguments, addictive behavior or other marital problems.
Learn to have difficult conversation. Many couples don't know how to have a difficult conversation that leads to feeling connected. It takes courage to enter into difficult conversations. As a person you can grow into a place when you can be a truth teller and someone who asks questions when discussing important issues. Difficult conversation includes when you are able to explore each other's minds and feelings and when you put the mind and the feelings together then you are sharing what is going on in your soul with your spouse or partner. It's the totality of the person. So you ask questions about how he or she is feeling turning 50 or 60, or let's talk about sexual relationship. It is usually very difficult and even scaring to begin to have these talks. It is significant that men know how to pursue his wife's heart and looking to investigate what is going on in her heart and in her soul by asking real questions.
I often tell couple's one of the most important thing they must learn and do is to get a ph.d. in their spouse's childhood. Do you know what I mean by this? How does this sound? Is it scary to you? How well do you know your spouse? Are you feeling overwhelmed by this comment? Read on more to see what I mean by getting a phd in your spouse's background.
Whatever you two have experienced in your early life experiences have certainly been carried in your marital relationship and as a result it is affecting your communication and the quality of your connection.
Learning how to share your heart and what goes on in your soul, and be vulnerable in your conversations is a significant changing process in your marriage. This will increase the quality of your relationship and true intimacy in your marriage. Sometimes I get comments about how a couple is not sexually as intimate as they used to be. When you start to work on your relationship outside of the bedroom, meaning you know how to get connected emotionally and relationally then that is a good start. Sex begins outside of the bedroom - the best the most powertful sex organ is your eye balls are your having true genuine eye ball to eye ball talks that go deep in your soul. Eye ball to eye ball experience is the beginning of intimacy.
As human beings we are hardwired and designed for closeness and emotional connection. This is a very serious point that many people ignore. It is very important that first you know how to tune into our own feelings and then the feelings of your spouse by asking good questions, listening, identifying the emotions, and accepting his or her emotions. These steps and skills are the core patterns of my couple's counseling in my practice. This is when I see significant changes happen when I do therapy and coaching with couples on these skills and points.
Even though men and women handle feelings differently, emotions are essential part of each man and a woman. A few days ago I saw the new animation Disney movie Inside Out which elaborates so beautifully on what occurs inside a person throughout her day and her interactions with others which led her to behave the way she did. Her emotions were linked to her memories and as a resule acted out and presented her emotions through her behavior and her responses to others. You as well learned to express your emotions which you learned to do before you got married has a lot to do how your relationship is doing now. Knowing how to ask for your needs is an important key to a happy marriage. Emotions and attachment style go hand in hand. Knowing your type of attachment would help you to make progress in your marital relationship especially if you are facing problems. Attachments have to do with emotions that you experience and if you are able to share yourself with someone else in a relationship. Sometimes in counseling sessions, I hear all the time from individuals who do not know what they need because they have never stopped and asked themselves this question nor they can communicate a true need in a close relationships.
Don't forget no matter how happy or uhappy your background has been, as men and women we are all designed and hardwired to connect and feel close with another person in an intimate way hopefully you will learn to do that with your spouse. I invite you to read my other blogs under the link of the counseling couch in this website, so you can have more clarity on this issue. You can also call me to schedule for an appointment to get specific help and solutions for your relationships and learn to relate from a secure attachment feeling more emotionally focused and happy as a couple instead of reacting, arguing and feeling distant.