mercredi 16 septembre 2009

Bonding - not just for parents & babies

Ok, so I was thinking about pre-marital counseling because of the book I'm reading (Dr. Smith's Lies at the Altar) and I googled this website. I found the article on bonding especially interesting because I had heard of the importance of bonding between parent and child at birth, but not bonding in relationships.

"Bonding is central to marriage success. That's not very surprising. The vast majority of couples planning for or contemplating marriage start off very bonded.

What is surprising for many couples, though, is the unexpected vulnerability of their initial powerful attachment. The biggest mistake that couples make is to take their bond for granted by assuming that their connection will stay strong because they love each other or with 'hard work.' But they don't have an intentional strategy to maintain the strength of their union.

Without a specific plan, most couples' attachment may grow weaker over time, whether or not they want this to happen, placing their marriage at risk. The first years of marriage are the riskiest for divorce and affairs. Couples report that "the spark is gone," or that while they still love each other, they are no longer "in love" or have "grown apart."


Nature intends our initial, temporary falling-in-love bonding period to be replaced by a longer-term attachment between partners--with a totally different underlying brain chemistry (based on oxytocin and vasopressin). [Fisher, et al, 2002]

But some of us find it easier to form and maintain these long-term bonds. According to researchers, different attachment styles rooted in early experiences with parents play an important role in bonding: Most of us have what the experts call a secure attachment style based on a comfortable balance of closeness and independence in their intimate relationships. They tend to be relatively self-confident, accepting and supportive in relationships.

Many people with colder and/or rejecting early attachment experiences continue to have some degree of difficulty with romantic bonding during adult life. They may be less comfortable with closeness and trust, find it difficult to depend on others or be depended upon. On average their relationships last about half as long as those with the more secure style.

Those whose early attachments were particularly unreliable tend to be preoccupied and obsessive in relationships, needy and vulnerable, and experience difficulty getting as close to others as they would like. They bond easily, but their relationships are the least durable.

All of these attachment styles are considered normal. But both of these less secure styles are prone to experiences of jealousy and loneliness. They also tend toward defensiveness and blame and have difficulty getting their needs met.


So what can couples do to avoid the seemingly inevitable slide toward greater disengagement? Well, fortunately, there's plenty. But for most couples, it doesn't happen on its own. You have to plan and strategize to keep your bond strong. And it's best to start early, just when you can't believe that you'll ever need it.

Here are some approaches that marriage success research has shown will help to keep your bond vital:

· Build positivity in your relationship. No one can avoid some negativity, but limit it. Marriage research has revealed that happy couples have at least five positive interactions for every negative one. Couples who slip below five-to-one have a hard time restoring the balance. Repair after your fights. Don't allow prolonged periods of resentment to persist.

· Make time for your relationship--no matter what.

· Daily, non-stressful communication--continuing to keep up with each other's lives--is another bonding activity. And it's one that tends to go by the way when lives become busy. Remember how curious you were to learn the details of each other's lives when you were getting to know one another?

· Approach life as a team. Don't become adversaries, even when you disagree. Your disagreements are something that both of you must take an active role in managing. Planning and dreaming together are bonding for both genders.


· Keep your sex life active. Schedule a regular date night, especially if things are slowing down. You'll be surprised how the anticipation will whet your appetite--just like it did when you were dating. Introduce new forms of novelty to compensate for the inevitable diminishing partner novelty. Overcome any disagreements about initiating and active/passive roles by taking turns. The brain chemistry stimulated by sex is critical to renewing your bond.

· Celebrate your relationship. Develop rituals to commemorate your anniversaries and other memorable relationship milestones. Build a relationship mythology by telling your stories, such as that of how you met.

Adopting these strategies builds a bonding immunization for couples. These approaches help couples to build up a reserve of attachment that will help maintain their relationship through the inevitable stresses and challenges of contemporary married life and prevent disruption of their connection. Couples who are already experiencing tension or disengagement can revitalize their link by embracing these approaches.

Plan to keep your bond strong by learning more about practical bonding strategies that fit your relationship style and are comfortable for both genders. [...]

[EDIT: See also this article on bonding, titled "The Lazy Way to Stay in Love".]

Aucun commentaire:

Publier un commentaire