All the research from the last 30 years about the most potent therapy for relationship growth and recovery on this planet, plus the newest research on building intimate bonds… it all says the same thing:
To foster connection we need not just to spend time together as companions, but to also risk sharing softer, deeper emotions. We must learn to hold each other’s feelings in a way that calms our nervous systems and gives us a deeply-felt sense of safe connection.
In our research we call these moments of risk and growth Hold Me Tight Conversations.
When partners can do this, a huge horizon of possibilities opens up for their relationship and for each person’s sense of confidence because belonging leads to becoming.
We are wired to thrive when we know that we can share our vulnerability with a precious other and the other can just be present and engaged. They simply have to be there with us.
So Brett, rather than shutting down when he feels stung by a comment from Cassie, takes a deep breath and turns towards her rather than away. He says, “ I really wanted you to see how hard I tried here. I so wanted to please you. I need your reassurance that you do see how I try.”
As she responds warmly to this, he then shares the problems that are happening at work that make him feel “small.” Cassie feels honored that he is taking a risk and sharing. She’s proud that she is the one that can help him with these emotions.
Then they share the differences between them and Brett’s problems are work suddenly seem unimportant.
These moments spark a sense of safety and love in our brains. They are coded as “HOME.”
Everyone wants to come home to someone, and science is showing us how to do it.