Relationships are hard work. You’ve probably heard that statement. Many have experienced it first hand and can attest to the fact that, at times, we all have no clue what we’re supposed to be doing in our relationships. Do you feel like you can’t stop bumping your head against walls? Are you making the same mistakes, running into the same frustrations, seemingly unable to escape the idea that maybe you’re doomed to be single and alone?
The unavoidable truth is that relationships CAN be frustrating, they CAN be defeating, they DO take effort, but dependent upon how each one manages the connection to the other, can and often does make all the difference between feeling deflated and feeling expanded. In her work with couples and families, Dr. Sue Johnson subscribes to the notion that we as humans are built to bond, and emotionally connect. This connection is what makes us human and allows us to form strong bonds for the entirety of our lives.
Here are the two things you need to know. The connection between a couple or family is maintained similarly through a combination of two important, but often overlooked factors, those being accessibility and emotional responsiveness. In very simple terms, will you be there for me when I reach out, and are you a safe place for me to be myself? Remember that old song, “Lean on me”? How about the theme song from the old TV comedy Friends? Everyone wants to know someone will be “there” for them. We all need to reach out in our time of need and feel that another human being is there and will respond back to us. This connection is what allows those “mole hills” to remain “mole hills”, and not explode into insurmountable “mountains” that eventually erode even the most picture perfect couples.
When that connection exists, it doesn’t inoculate us to the occasional storm that comes every couple’s way, but it does help that relationship remain in balance and weather the sporadic challenge or conflict that blows through. In the doldrums of everyday life, and when encountering that moment of conflict, ask yourself if you are distancing and disconnecting from your loved one, or being responsive and accessible, strengthening that connection while sending the message that despite what may come, you are secure, and right where they need you to be, connected in love…
Yameen specializes in mood disorders, youth & adolescent work, couples, pre-marital and family counseling related to transitions, adoption and trauma. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with him, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at the office at 317-471-8996.