Emotional Responsiveness


By Dr. Bonnie Ray Kennan, MFT


Are you there for me? Do you understand me? Do you care about how I feel and what I need? Saavy couples understand that to have a great relationship, each partner has to take time and energy to respond to the other’s needs. What does that mean? Just what does that look like? It starts with knowing your partner’s deepest longings, what they are emotionally craving. We start by having a “Find the Raw Spots” conversation. Find about that in Sue Johnson’s book, “Hold Me Tight.”


Couples need to talk about their tenderest vulnerabilities. They build their connection when they open up and share the little things many people like to hide. Healthy couples make this kind of sharing a regular part of their life together.


You’ve heard the expression: “he really pushed my buttons,” referring to when one person rubs up against the vulnerabilities of another. What I am suggesting is purposely sharing the button sites with one another. If you don’t know how to do this, ask your therapist for help. Couples who are really known by each other can help each other by remaining mindful of the tender spots.


All human beings are vulnerable. We are less lonely when we talk about our vulnerabilities. I too frequently hear “we have grown apart.” Self disclosure of the raw spots is one way to protect against this seemingly inevitable state”