Why is it so common for couples to experience distress in their relationship? Most of us know first hand that after Mr Perfect meets Mrs Perfect they don’t live happily ever after. The ‘after’ can at times be quite distressing and result in conflict, or living parallel lives. what is going on when this occurs?
In intimate relationships we seek closeness. Feeling close to our mate gives us feelings of love, security, joy and contentment – life is good! No one ever decides to live with a loser… in the beginning anyway. With the busyness of life it becomes more difficult to maintain the emotional intensity of courtship forever, so it’s normal for couples, at times, to not feel close. This is when the problem arises because the genders go about restoring closeness in different ways: Women tend to verbalise their concerns more and men tend to want to fix things up – that is physical things, not the relationship. They hope the problem will go away and their partner will get happy again.
But women don’t ignore it! When they sense distance they need to talk about it, because to them, talking about it will restore closeness. We use an attachment frame to help couples express their real feelings while maintaining their sense of closeness.
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Dr. John Gottman’s marital research has found that couples who know a lot about each other have happier marriages.
How well do you know your mate?
Ask them these questions and see if their responses match yours.
- The first time we meet was?
- My most embarrassing moment was?
- Two people I admire the most are?
- How did I spend my day yesterday?
- How do I feel when I am in a social situation with you?
- What are the stresses in my life at present?
- What is my life dream?
- What’s my favourite piece of music?
- I feel the most love when you do this?
- When do I have the most fun with you?
- My favourite place I have visited is?
- Who is a person who really annoys me?
- When are the times when I get discouraged or frustrated?
- When are the times when I feel most in love with you?
- What’s the thing I most value in life?
How many did your partner get right? If less than 60% you need to come to our couples workshop! Find a Workshop Near You…
Did you know happy couples fight as much as unhappy couples?
It’s true. But happy couples fight differently. They get angry and heated at each other, but it doesn’t push them apart like happens for unhappy couples.
How can you disagree yet still remain feeling emotionally close?
The answer is in having a secure base for your relationship. If you feel safe you can disagree without feeling threatened. We teach how to do this in our couples workshop.
If you experience any of the following it probably indicates your relationship with your partner needs a more secure base. Without it you’ll start blaming them and wishing that if only they would change your relationship would be better. But the problem is not “them” the problem is the lack of closeness between you both. The following statements are the result of a negative interacting cycle between a couple. The interaction is the enemy, not the partner!