If you and your partner can do and be these 3 things for each other, you have the trick to a healthy relationship.
What are these 3 magic things?
Sue Johnson, founder of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, uses the acronym A.R.E. to spell them out.
They all basically answer the question “ARE you there for me?” with a resounding “yes” when you can achieve them in your relationship.
Here they are, the magic A.R.E.:
Partners who can reach each other especially at times of need, even seemingly insignificant ones, are accessible to each other.
Can you reach your partner? Are they accessible? Do you have access to them and their experiences? Are you accessible to your partner? Do you keep them shut out of your experience – negative or positive – or do you let them in?
Partners must be accessible to each other in order to have their best relationship.
In order to feel like a priority, which is important in any good relationship, your partner must respond to you. You also need to respond to your partner.
To be not responded to can feel like the worst thing in the world.
When partners are in trouble, they can overlook each other.
This responsiveness is crucial to get back somehow in your relationship if you’ve lost it.
You need to be emotionally engaged with each other.
This may sound simple, but it’s actually tricky.
So much of our lives are spent ignoring our own emotional experiences.
On a regular basis, people with whom I meet tell me that they tend to purposefully brush their own emotional experience under the rug. Many folks have no choice but to do that given their environments growing up. That becomes a learned experience that’s often encouraged by society.
We walk around trying to protect our partners from our emotional experiences, but the truth is that our partners need more than anything to be let into our emotional worlds.
That means going there yourself – touching your own emotional experience, even if stormy, and letting your partner in.
Emotional engagement is key.
If you can implement the A.R.E. triad, you have the trick to a healthy relationship.
Be Accessible to your partner, Responsive to them and Emotionally Engaged, and the rest is simple.
Cheers to your best relationship,