In his study involving thousands of couples observed over several decades, relationship expert Dr. John Gottman demonstrates that 69% of problems in a relationship are unsolvable. How are we to understand (and deal with) this less-than-encouraging piece of data?
The following article is drawn from the guiding principles of Emotion Focused Therapy, developed by Susan Johnson. EFT views the central problem in a distressed relationship as the loss of secure emotional connection, and the pattern of negative interactions that both reflects and perpetuates this loss.
Marital therapists commonly speak of “relationship dances” when exploring the repetitive patterns of interaction that couples fall into, patterns that greatly limit their capacity to problem-solve. Some of the more common “dance steps” include the following: