When two people decide to marry each other, they have different expectations about the relationship that will be built. Realizing these expectations will make them happy in their marriage, while their rigor will make it very difficult to feel happy.
I do not deal with this vision of the establishment of the family – which undoubtedly has a central place and very important in itself – but the simple sense of happiness that occurs when the couple feel that the relationship fulfills their hopes. This feeling of happiness is also a basis for realizing the shared vision of the two partners and without it they will usually sink into difficult feelings and tensions that will make it very difficult for them to deal with the vision.
For different people, there are different expectations of the marital relationship, but there is one common general expectation – everyone wants to build a warm and safe nest for themselves. Or in other words, everyone wants a relationship in which they will feel loved, safe and relaxed. In professional language, this is called a secure attachment, which we need from our parents from birth to adolescence, and then we need it in the relationship we build.
It sounds very simple, but in practice we find many couples caught in negative circles of tension and distance, who feel insecure and warm, in a way that both partners lose.
What delays the creation of secure attachment in order to establish a good and stable relationship?
Absurdly, many couples find themselves in an endless struggle with each other, when in fact each expresses his anger at the fact that his engagement is not as secure as he expected.
I will demonstrate this:
Ami and Ronit have been married for 20 years but their marriage is not so good. Ami believes that Ronit is a nervous person because she complains about his attitude toward her. Her complaints are often accompanied by angry outbursts that are very difficult to calm. Ronit, on the other hand, claims that Ami is an indifferent and irritating person, because every time she turns to him with a complaint or request, he makes a noncommittal answer, but does not relate to her feelings and desires.
After careful examination, it turns out that each of them feels that his deep expectations about the relationship are violated:
Ami feels attacked all the time, so he can not feel safe within the marital system. In response, he retreated to a distant position perceived as indifference by Ronit.
Ronit, on the other hand, feels that Ami is not emotionally available to her. His distance makes her try to force him to respond to her, and to this end she uses high tones and extreme statements that make Ami feel attacked.
It is easy to see the negative circle in which the couple is trapped, each of them thirsty for a sense of safe attachment, but in fact, in frustration, causes the other to lock even more in its harmful patterns. The more defensive and self-protective Ami is, the more Ronit attacks him. The more Ronit attacks my people, the more withdrawn Ami is. Needless to say, it is very difficult to establish a good relationship out of this dynamic.
How to establish a secure connection?
In order to establish a safe connection, it is important to get used to talking about the real needs instead of trying to fight for the needs of the attachment.
Instead of closing in, Ami can explain to Ronit that he wants to listen to her, but that when he attacks him, he feels the need to defend himself and shut himself off. After explaining this, he can ask her to say things more calmly, and to ensure listening. This will make it easier for Ami to listen, and Ronit will find that the effort to speak calmly pays off.
Alternatively, instead of attacking Ami, Ronit can explain to him that his seclusion frustrates her and makes her even more angry. She can tell him that she understands his need to defend himself, to make sure to try to speak more calmly, and to ask him to listen.
Talking about communication needs leads to much closer and more effective communication, but it is not easy to change old patterns that have already become automated responses. Therefore, I recommend trying to practice this form of speech, and if you do not succeed alone, I invite you to come to my clinic and practice things.
Couples who learn to communicate in this way discover that good couple communication can be established, and that the couple bond is strengthened so that it is a safe basis for both partners, in which both will feel loved, safe and relaxed.