How to tell if your relationship is in trouble

If you are continually fighting with each other, what does that say about your relationship?

When you need each other the most why can’t you communicate and stay connected rather than turn against each other?

If you find yourself in a relationship where you are continually fighting, this is not necessarily an accurate barometer of where the relationship is.  We can spend a long time in therapy trying to make sense of an argument and what it means but the real barometer when we fight is to be aware of the distance it causes between us.

There are times in a relationship when we feel loved and safe and secure that it’s ok to argue and fight.  But when we can’t connect with the person we love, and we don’t feel very secure – this is scary and creates distance.

When a relationship is in trouble we tend to start a dance which Sue Johnson, the founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples writes in her book Hold me Tight calls the Demon Dialogues.  One person starts complaining and criticising and gets angry and the other starts defending and stonewalling.  The couple get caught up in the dance which takes on a life of its own as it gains momentum and very soon we see the other person as the enemy.

As therapists working with the Emotionally Focused therapy model we can help couples stand back and look at the patterns they are caught up in.

Its about learning how to step out of the pattern, stand back  and reach out for each other to sooth and calm and create emotional safety between the two of you.

By paying more attention and valuing our relationship it is really possible to find a better barometer for understanding our unhappiness and hopefully take care of it sooner.  This makes for a more active approach to marriage.

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Dawn Kaffel


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