Many couples that find healing and restoration in marriage counseling but have fear that they will fall back into old unhealthy patterns after they stop the counseling. It’s very true that if the couple doesn’t actively care for their relationship, the positive progress they fought for will diminish. Conversation 7 of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy is about keeping relationship love alive.
Susan Johnson writes, “But love is like a language . If you speak it, it flows more and more easily. If you don’t, then you start to lose it.”
In Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), “Conversation 7” is a road map for taking what is learned in the counseling sessions and working everything into the future love of the relationship. The task is to review and process the danger points in the relationship where the couple might slide into insecurity and fall back into destructive negative cycles. The objective is to help the couple create paths that lead back into safer connections.
A major task in the strengthening of the relationship connection is purposefully planning rituals around the times of separation and reunion in the couples daily lives as a way to signify the bond, support, and responsiveness. The rituals remind the couple that the most important part of their lives is the safety of the relationship. The rituals can be simple types of “goodbyes” and “greetings.”
Another major step to plan for steps on how to defuse conflicts in recurring differences and arguments. The couple must be proactive in creating emotional safety and trust so they both can face conflicts when they arise. Susan Johnson writes, “This will allow you to resolve problems without letting hot attachment issues get in the way. I call this the Safety First strategy. Once emotional safety is established, one partner can bring up a problem in softer, less aggressive ways, and the other partner can stay emotionally engaged in the discussion.”
Conversation 7 of EFCT is developed on the foundation that love is an ongoing continual process of seeking and losing emotional connection, but also reaching out to the other to find that connection again. In EFCT, the love connection is a living thing. If couples don’t purposely stay attuned to it, the love bond will begin to weaken and wither. Both partners in the relationship are required to be deliberate and mindful to continually work hard on loving the other.