Couples are faced with many challenges and transitions throughout the course of their relationship. While it would be nice to have a crystal ball, there is no specific way of determining whether or not your relationship will last. You may have a sense of the qualities you and your partner appreciate in your relationship. Whether or not your relationship will last is really about how important the relationship is to you and your partner and how committed you are to weathering the storms of life as a couple.
Sometimes the climate within a relationship feels stormy and you may start to doubt whether or not you will find your way through. When things go wrong it is because of the pattern of interaction that has evolved between the couple. It is easy blame the other for your distress but partners impact each other. It hurts because you matter so much to each other.
Some things are fundamental to a healthy couple relationship:
1. Can you turn to your partner when you feel insecure in your relationship?
When things go wrong in the relationship instead of minimising problems and anxieties, we need to voice our concerns and confide our insecurities to our partner. If we are unable to turn to our partner and share our deepest fears and longings it leads to disconnection from each other.
We may blame our partner for our insecurities yet all this does is pushes them further away. Criticising your partner or withdrawing from your partner does more harm than good to a relationship.
A relationship has more of a chance of lasting if we learn to listen to our doubts or fears and take a risk communicating them to our partner. Feeling comfortable enough to express our feelings to our partner no matter how vulnerable this makes us is essential to a healthy relationship. The challenge is many of us have not had models of how to do this in a secure way through out our life.
2. Does your partner respond when you reach out to them?
When a couple fights it generally means there is a demand for emotional reconnection. If our partner doesn’t respond to or acknowledge our insecurities, then we can feel rejected, alone or emotionally deprived.
If our partner responds to us in way that suggests they understand, we are re-assured that we matter to them. We experience a feeling of comfort, support and security in the relationship.
For a relationship to last it important you and your partner discover how:
- You each react when your relationship needs are not being met
- To develop a deeper understanding of your own and your partner’s emotions
- To talk to each other about your emotions, needs, hopes and longings in a way that strengthens your relationship.
Couples counselling with an Emotionally Focused approach can help you understand how you and your partner currently dance together. Once we understand the music (emotion) of the dance we can start to learn new dance steps (patterns of interaction) and restructure the emotional bond between you, so you are able to dance in a more loving way.
Dr. Sue Johnson (2013). Love Sense: the revolutionary new science of romantic relationships, Little, Brown and Company, New York.
Veronica Kallos-Lilly and Jennifer Fitzgerald (2015). An Emotionally Focused Workbook for Couples: The two of us.