I’m excited to introduce you to the “Are you there for me?” quiz. I’ve heard of many couples, myself included, who spend several years in this space of “relationship limbo.” It can be a slow torture to neither be moving forward and yet, not fully “in” the relationship either. Ironically, staying in that space is one of the most damaging if the door to improve your marriage is even slightly open. The question is, “What can I do about it?” Many couples may be in limbo and yet they simply don’t know what to do to make it work, so they continue with the status quo.
If only there was a clear-cut divorce test that would tell you whether to stay or go. Unfortunately, such a simple test would not be based on the realities and dynamics of your own unique situation. Instead, you need to really reflect on the health of your marriage, your wants and desires (as well as those of your partner), and whether there is any realistic chance to rebuild the relationship.
One of the most heart-wrenching decisions a person may face is the decision to either stay in or to leave a marriage.
First of all, let’s talk about the act of making a decision. When it comes to marriage we all have this ideal image of standing on the altar and making a commitment (or a decision) to “live happily ever after ’til death do us part.” Ideals are great! They reflect what we are striving towards. The only challenge is that the ideal doesn’t tell us what to do with reality.
I would argue that a very helpful approach to the reality of relationships that vacillate and have their ups and downs is for each individual to be present in the current moment. In other words, can you wake up today and commit to “living happily ever after” just for today? Can you eliminate the pressure of committing for an eternity and trade it for the security of TODAY?
I’ve found that often the idea of “forever” keeps us asleep to how we feel in the present moment, because we are not in the present moment. We are always striving for some arrival point in the future. The harm is that we are less tuned in to what is going on in our relationship and within ourselves today, and issues get swept under the rug and ignored hoping that the “ideal” will find us. I assure you, that “ideal” life will never find you. You must find the “ideal” in today, in the only true moment that you have. Tomorrow was never guaranteed.
Take this Quiz to determine if we can help your relationship.
Are you there for me Quiz?
A.R.E: Accessible, Responsive and Engaged
The acronym A.R.E. stands for Accessible, Responsive, and Engaged. So when one person asks their partner, “Are you there for me?” they are really asking, “Are you accessible, responsive, and engaged with me when I reach out to you?” The ARE quiz comes from Dr. Sue Johnson’s Hold Me Tight Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy.
Answer the questions twice:
- First, answer about how Accessible, Responsive, and Engaged your partner is with you.
- The second time answer the questions focusing on how Accessible, Responsive, and Engaged you are with your partner.
Accessibility: From your viewpoint, is your partner accessible to you?
- I can get my partner’s attention easily. T F
- My partner is easy to connect with emotionally. T F
- My partner shows me that I come first with him/her. T F
- I am not feeling lonely or shut out in this relationship. T F
- I can share my deepest feelings with my partner. He/she will listen. T F
Responsiveness: From your viewpoint is your partner responsive to you?
- If I need connection and comfort, he/she will be there for me. T F
- My partner responds to signals that I need him/her to come close. T F
- I find I can lean on my partner when I am anxious or unsure. T F
- 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
- If I need reassurance about how important I am to my partner, I can get it. T F
Engagement: Are you positively emotionally engaged with each other?
- I feel very comfortable being close to, trusting my partner. T F
- I can confide in my partner about almost anything. T F
- I feel confident, even when we are apart, that we are connected to each other. T F
- I know that my partner cares about my joys, hurts, and fears. T F
- I feel safe enough to take emotional risks with my partner. T F
Hopefully, your answers show that you and your partner are completely accessible, responsive, and engaged. Most people find that that is not the case. The good news about A.R.E. is that couples can and do repair this quality in their relationships. Whether you have simply been disconnected, injured by an affair or you are repairing from an addiction, you can learn to become more Accessible, Responsive and Engaged with each other. Let us know if our Hold Me Tight Retreat or Couples Counseling would be helpful. A successful relationship takes work, and we can help you strengthen your connection.