Emotional Safety

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008 at 12:26 pm


A Safe Emotional Environment In Marriage

A safe environment has several elements at work. Here are three:

1. Showing up. That simply means
that you do what you say you will do, and that you behave
consistently with who you aspire to be. It is living with
integrity, the honesty which ultimately makes for predictability.
Predictability makes for an emotional safety, and that’s what we
all want to come home to at the end of the day.

2. Speaking Honestly. More common than the lies we are all
prone to tell from time to time (yea, I know that’s hard to admit),
what we do not say also constitutes a lie–a lie of omission.
The safest relationships tend to have a minimum of comissive and
omissive lies.

Telling the truth may feel risky, but the benefits usually out-pace the
costs. The next element tends to increase the likelihood of honesty:

3. Low Reactivity. High emotional reactivity often diverts
couples away from the real issue because emotional
intensity can be powerful, especially if it triggers old memories
from your partners family of origin. Low reactivity tends to pave
the way to better conflict management, and ultimately to a couple
feeling closer to one another.

Try discussing/assessing these three areas of your relationship with your
partner. It will require honesty, but the results can be warmly and powerfully rewarding.

Maybe you have some suggestions of your own that helped build the safety in your marriage. Feel free to share them with us.

Wishing you a satisfying relationship,

Jim Hutt, Ph.D., MFT

Contact Dr. Hutt

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