5 Key Commitments to Create Secure Love

By Carista Luminare, Ph.D.

The definitions of Love are endless. How you experience Love depends on your history, values, beliefs, and

A loving relationship creates a two-party system in which each person’s Lovestyle™ (attachment style) impacts the other person in a profound way. Your own Lovestyle describes your unique way of relating to your romantic partner. It influences whom you attract when you’re dating, and whom you choose when you enter a committed intimate relationship.

In our primary relationship, we feel either secure, insecure, or a mixture of both. Our sense of security can be easily destabilized when we get hijacked. Extreme reactions can push us into unstable emotions, outrageous behavior, or vicious processing cycles.

Almost all couples fight at times. But how we react during a fight can often be traced back to our childhood
experiences and role models, including the unresolved traumas we experienced with our parents or primary
attachment figures.

We all want to feel loved, safe, and honored. When we feel threatened, de-valued or criticized, we can react in intense ways. You’ve probably experienced a wide variety of these feelings.

Once we get triggered, feelings change quickly. Your sense of security can feel threatened, and you may not
understand why. The same person can make you feel wonderful and loved in one moment, and insecure, scared, or even a little crazy. We can be all over the map with our feelings and reactions to each other.

When you explore your early childhood experiences, and how your LoveStyle was formed (and still operates in the background in your adult relationships), you can grow in your capacity to create a more secure and healthy love bond with your partner.

Our hearts can only stay open to love when we feel safe and heard as the dominate experience in our most
intimate relationships.

Our friends and colleagues rarely trigger us in the way our primary partner does. This is because romantic partners carry the subconscious emotional need to be deeply loved and valued – the same core needs you had as a child. So, any unresolved bonding experience from our childhood can be subconsciously stimulated by our intimate partner.

Therefore, we often have more trauma and drama with our lovers than we do with our best buddies.

Regardless of how old we are, whether infant or elder, the need to feel loved for our True Self is universal. We thrive when we feel seen, heard, and held by someone we trust. If your friend doesn’t daily check in with you, you know they aren’t upset with you – they’re just living with the distractions of their life.

But when your partner does the same thing, you may feel a range of emotions – rejected, hurt or angry. The same behavior is less tolerable because as a child, being ignored or not considered is a deep attachment wound. To the child as well as the primitive brain of the adult, abandonment can equate to feeling endangered. The unhealed “inner child” cannot tolerate the fear that they may be left on their own.

When a couple can rest in secure love, the fear of losing their connection is minimal. Even when they are fighting, partners trust they are in each other’s care, and they are committed to resolving distress together. That shared agreement allows both people to feel, “Okay, we’re having a fight, I know we’ll repair it as soon as we can – after we have a chance to chill out to reconnect in a loving way.”

Secure love does not mean a conflict-free zone of idealized love. The fairytale relationship is a myth. A
Secure LoveStyle includes room for upsets and unintentional mutual triggering.

5 Key Commitments to Create a Secure LoveStyle:

  1. A Commitment to Security:
    a. We protect each other. Our relationship connection is a top priority for each of us.
    b. We commit to keep physical and psychological threats low and safety high between us.
    c. We intend to do our best to report (kindly) when we feel distress, or insecure with the other, even
    if the other did not mean to trigger us.
    d. We pledge to reassure each other often, especially when the other needs comforting, and
    anytime upon request.

Example: “What do you need to feel positively connected and secure with me right now?”

  1. A Commitment to Sensitivity:
    a. We promise to become more and more aware of our own needs, our partner’s needs, and the
    relationship’s needs.
    b. We agree to practice caring for all of those needs as often as possible (mine, yours, and ours).
    c. We commit to learning how to recognize and express our needs in positive and productive ways, while considering and respecting the needs of the other.
    d. We will ask each other questions when we are unclear what the other person needs. As emotionally wise adults, we will get clear about our own needs and practice communicating them in mutually beneficial ways.

Example: “What do you need from me to feel cared for right now? Here’s what I need right now to feel loved.”

  1. A Commitment to Care, Own and Repair™:
    a. When we trigger each other, (and we know we will), we will repair as quickly as possible by
    caring, owning, and repairing with the other person.
    b. We will focus on caring for our self and our partner, even when we’re triggered.
    c. We choose to learn more about what our partner needs to feel cared for when they are triggered.
    d. We will do our best to be aware of and own our impact on the other – even if we did not mean to
    upset them.
    e. We will seek to repair any harm, damage, or estrangement as quickly as possible so we can get back to secure functioning and a positive, loving connection.
    f. We agree that we are both responsible to care for the relationship, and we will both lead and receive bids for repair.
    g. When we hurt each other, we’ll do everything we can to heal each other in a timely way – including
    getting professional help if we need it.

Example: “I care that we’re both triggered. I own that I judged you, which made you feel defensive. I also see that I escalated when I felt criticized by what you said. Let’s take a couple of minutes away from each other so we can reset. When we come back together, let’s share our feelings in a loving way so we can both feel held and heard.”

  1. A Commitment to Collaboration:
    a. We will work through our concerns together to benefit both of us, and our relationship.
    b. We commit to make important decisions in a spirit of cooperation that include both of our concerns, so we can experience win-win outcomes as often as possible.
    c. We take time to listen to each other’s considerations and needs with an open mind, respecting and accepting that we are different.
    d. Our goal is to clarify the optimal outcome for both of us.
    e. We avoid unilateral decisions that would adversely impact the other or the relationship.

Example: “Let’s talk about how much time we each want to spend time alone this weekend and how much time we will spend together. I feel happy when we have a plan that works for both of us.”

5. A Commitment to Mutuality:

a. We commit to the spirit of mutuality. In our joint agreements, we both want what is beneficial for each of us, and the relationship.

b. When we care for each other, resolving our distress is a priority for each of us.

c. We will honor each other’s needs, feelings, and thoughts as equally important to our own, even when we don’t agree or align with them.

Example: “I know how important your work responsibilities are to you and mine are to me. I feel like they’re beginning to affect our relationship and threaten our connection. Let’s really look at what is true for each of us and decide what we’ll do about it together.”

A Secure LoveStyle couple will use many opportunities to rewire and heal each other, including when they co-trigger in a reactive cycle. They want to re-pattern trustworthy relationship behaviors incident by incident over time.

Without this commitment, they continue to hurt each other every time they leave threatening triggers unresolved.

Learning and mastering these commitments take lots of practice for sustainable behavior change. The essence of secure love is being in each other’s care, which is how we positively see, hear, and hold each
other in our daily interactions.

This feeling of dependable security supports us to be more open to express ourselves fully because we feel
empowered, appreciated, and loved.

Carista Luminare, Ph.D., is an Attachment Specialist helping individuals and couples rewire each other from insecure to secure love. Take her free Lovestyle Profile Quiz at: www.lovestyleprofile.com

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