In-Depth Feature Articles for a Happy Marriage
The Art and Science of Love and a Happy Marriage
For centuries love, mysterious and puzzling in its nature had been the exclusive domain of poets and songwriters.
A 19th-century poet described the connection to a loved one as a safe haven: “Beside him I fear or dread of none.”
Love has been described as a source of joy and happiness as well as a source of misery and pain.
Not until a few decades ago has romantic love been demystified by psychologists and scientists.
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), developed by Sue Johnson as a theory of adult love relationship, made love less mystifying. Based on Bowlby’s attachment theory, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy conceptualizes love as an attachment process. The attachment perspective on adult love suggests that secure bonds are built on interactions in which partners, who are perceived as attachment figures, are accessible and responsive to each other’s attachment needs. The availability of an attachment figure, especially in times of stress and hardships, provides partners with safe haven for expressing their deepest emotions as well as providing and receiving comfort from each other.
Sometimes, when couples are longing for love, connection, and support in times of stress and hardships, they have a difficult time communicating their feelings and needs softly and clearly. One partner may feel hurt, sad, or fearful on the inside, but appear as shut down, angry, or blaming on the outside. In turn, the other partner may feel insecure, inadequate, or rejected, but respond by lashing out or closing down. As a result, the couples feel stuck in a negative cycle of miscommunication that makes them feel unloved, unappreciated, and not heard by each other. Both partners may start questioning if their partner really cares about them, if their partner can be trusted, or if they are lovable, and it leads to suffering, emotional pain, and disconnection.
With the help of an EFT marriage counselor, couples are able to identify and prevent the negative cycle of miscommunication that leads to disconnection, express their heartfelt feelings and needs in a way that allows both partners to feel heard and respond to each other in a soft and loving way.
During EFT marriage counseling process, the couples also have an opportunity to heal emotional injuries, clarify misunderstandings, practice communication skills, repair a relationship rapture, regain self-confidence, and restore trust. As a result of the emotionally corrective experiences and bonding interactions, the couples are able to adopt a new way of interacting with each other.
The couples are able to rebuild a positive way of relating to each other that makes them feel safe, loved, and connected, and it leads to a deeper emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and physical intimacy and a more satisfying relationship.