For years, I’ve marvelled at couples who appeared to connect on a deep level while I struggled to save my second marriage from the brink of divorce. I was determined to beat the odds and avoid a second divorce, but was cynical and lacked the skills to deal with the baggage leftover from my first marriage.
While many couples see remarriage as a second chance at happiness, the statistics tell a different story. According to available census data, the divorce rate for second marriages in the United States is over 60 per cent compared to 50 per cent for first marriages. These facts fueled my fears and pessimism.
Listen: After ending her first marriage, Chloe Shorten is making her blended family work.
In hindsight, my fear of failing was a major obstacle to achieving emotional attunement and intimacy in my second marriage. However, my fears propelled me to search for ways to avoid divorce the second time around. When I turned to the experts, I was able to reconnect with my husband and regain the love we had early on – before ghosts from our past relationships cast a dark shadow over our marriage.
A sense of secure connection is key to positive romantic relationships.
One of the most influential authors on this topic, Dr. Sue Johnson, posits that one of the primary reasons why we fear intimacy and lack connection with our partners is that we don’t feel emotionally safe with him or her. Lacking confidence in our partner’s trustworthiness can cause us to feel disconnected and distressed a great deal of the time.
Perhaps we are too distracted to hear our partner’s bids for attention and to speak the language of attachment, according to Dr. Johnson. She explains that we fail to give clear messages about what we need or how much we care.
By being vulnerable, you can achieve a level of emotional safety with your partner. It is the primary way to enhance your bond with him or her. Thus, you will be able to re-establish a secure emotional attachment and preserve intimacy between you. Dr. Johnson writes: “If we love our partners why don’t we just hear each other’s call for attention and connection and respond with caring?”