Secure Functioning: The Foundation of a Fulfilling Relationship

October 22, 2015 by

This Bend Marriage counselor just returned from the exciting and inspiring Imago International Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida. Stan Tatkin PsyD, author of Wired for Love, was the first keynote speaker. His presentation focused on our deep longing for a securely functioning relationship. Hallmarks of secure functioning are a two-person system that is fair, just, and sensitive. Securely functioning partners put their relationship first. They are collaborative. They are good stewards of each others safety and have a security system which includes: no threats to the relationship; mutual protection both privately and publicly, quick repair and full transparency. Securely functioning partners tell their news to each other first. They are each others primary “go to” people. This desire to share first with their partner is based on attraction not fear, and they manage thirds properly. Thirds are any person, activity or behavior (i.e. addiction) that could potentially come between them.

Insecure functioning is a one-person system that is unfair, unjust and insensitive. It leads to conflict, distance and disconnection. As an Imago therapist, I see insecure functioning when one partners main concern is, “what’s in it for me”. This mind set leads to power struggles in the relationship. Power struggles increase reactivity, which can doom the best relationship. In Take Back Your Marriage, William Doherty PhD says “leaning out” becomes the norm. Partners who function insecurely start looking for something, or someone, to better fit their needs.

It is a misconception that the only way people can make a relationship or marriage work is to first do their own individual therapy. When couples commit they become tethered to each other and each has a responsibility to the security of the relationship. Focusing on each others needs, and the needs of the relationship, changes the focus from an individual paradigm to a relationship paradigm. If both partners learn to manage each others anxieties, so they both feel safe, the relationship can thrive. This Bend marriage counselor believes couples that chose this path find fulfillment and rediscover the joy of being fully alive and connected.

I invite you to gain the information and learn the tools necessary to have a securely functioning, attached relationship, by attending our Getting the Love You Want Workshop Couples Workshop. In just one weekend you will be on your way to creating lasting love. Our last workshop of 2015 is November 6-8 in Portland, Oregon.