Recently, I was trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), created by Dr. Sue Johnson. 75% of couples report increased marital satisfaction with their relationship when doing EFT.

Dr. Johnson, in her book, Hold Me Tight, noted that the key to lasting love for couples is a special kind of emotional responsiveness called A.R.E.

  • A: Accessible – Are you emotionally available to me? 
  • R: Responsive – Can I rely on you to respond when I need you? 
  • E: Engaged – Will you engage with me, give me your attention? 

The central phrase is “Are you there, are you with me?”

Dr. Sue Johnson created the following questions to discover the health of emotional responsiveness (A.R.E.) in your marriage.

Simply read each statement and circle T for true and F for false.

From your point of view is your partner accessible to you?

  1. I can get my partner’s attention easily. T F
  2. My partner is easy to connect with emotionally. T F
  3. My partner shows me that I come first with him/her. T F
  4. I am not feeling lonely or shut out in this relationship. T F
  5. I can share my deepest feelings with my partner. He/she will listen. T F

From your viewpoint, is your partner responsive to you?

  1. If I need connection and comfort, he/she will be there for me. T F
  2. My partner responds to signals that I need him/her to come close. T F
  3. I find I can lean on my partner when I am anxious or unsure T F
  4. Even when we fight or disagree, I know that I am important to my partner and we will find a way to come together. T F
  5. If I need reassurance about how important I am to my partner, I can get it. T F

Are you positively emotionally engaged with each other?

  1. I feel very comfortable being close to, trusting my partner. T F
  2. I can confide in my partner about almost anything. T F
  3. I feel confident, even when we are apart, that we are connected to each other T F
  4. I know my partner cares about my joys, hurts, and fears. T F
  5. I feel safe enough to take emotional risks with my partner. T F

Give yourself 1 point for each T. If you scored 7 or higher, congratulations!  you and your spouse are accessible, responsive, and engaged. If either one or both partners scored lower than 7, don’t get discouraged, it means that you and your partner could benefit from a couples therapy or relationship coaching.

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