Marriage is a significant event in the human lifecycle, often seen as the most crucial relationship in a person’s life. This relationship’s success is largely determined by marital compatibility, which involves the ability of couples to respond constructively to the relationship’s demands. Incompatibility can lead to tension and conflicts, making marital adjustment a key factor in a couple’s life satisfaction and overall health.

The new study of 20241 to aimed to investigate the effectiveness of emotion-based couple therapy (EFT) on improving marital adjustment.

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a structured therapeutic approach developed in the 1980s by Dr. Sue Johnson and Dr. Les Greenberg. It is based on the principles of attachment theory, which emphasizes the importance of secure emotional bonds in relationships. EFT aims to help couples identify and express their emotions, understand their partner’s emotional needs, and create secure and lasting emotional connections.

EFT is designed to address relationship distress by focusing on the emotions underlying partners’ interactions. The therapy is typically short-term, involving 8 to 20 sessions. It has been shown to be effective in improving relationship satisfaction and emotional connection, making it a widely used and respected approach in couple therapy.

Conducted in Mashhad City, the research involved 30 couples (60 individuals) who were randomly divided into experimental and control groups. The experimental group received ten sessions of EFT, a structured approach focusing on emotions as the primary drivers of marital issues. The study employed a semi-experimental design with pre-tests and post-tests, analyzed using SPSS-24 software and covariance analysis.

Emotion-based couple therapy is grounded in the belief that marital conflicts arise when couples fail to meet each other’s attachment needs for safety and satisfaction. EFT sessions help couples recognize and express their emotions, understand their underlying attachment needs, and reconstruct their interactions to create a secure and fulfilling relationship. The therapy involves three stages:

  1. Preventing the spread of destructive cycles.
  2. Reconstructing interactive patterns.
  3. Consolidating and integrating new behaviors.

The study found that emotion-based couple therapy significantly increased marital adjustment among the participants. Before the therapy, couples in both groups had similar levels of marital compatibility. However, after the therapy, the experimental group showed a substantial improvement in their compatibility scores compared to the control group.

The pre-test and post-test results demonstrated that couples who underwent EFT were better at managing their emotions, understanding each other’s needs, and fostering a supportive and secure attachment. This improvement was reflected in higher scores in marital satisfaction, couple solidarity, agreement, and affection expression.

The findings align with previous research, confirming that emotion-focused interventions effectively enhance marital satisfaction and adjustment. Studies by Gehlert et al. (2017) and Johnson (2004) have shown that couples who engage in EFT can develop deeper emotional bonds, leading to more stable and satisfying relationships. By focusing on emotions, EFT helps couples navigate conflicts more constructively, fostering a secure and loving partnership.

Moreover, the study supports the notion that emotional regulation and attachment are critical components of marital compatibility. Couples who can identify and express their emotions are more likely to experience positive interactions and reduced marital conflicts.

Conclusion

Emotion-based couple therapy proves to be a powerful tool in improving marital adjustment. By addressing the emotional needs and attachment styles of couples, EFT fosters a supportive and secure relationship environment. This therapy can significantly reduce marital problems and enhance the overall quality of life for couples.

For couples facing marital challenges, incorporating emotion-based therapy can lead to more constructive interactions and a deeper understanding of each other’s needs. As this study shows, focusing on emotions not only resolves conflicts but also strengthens the marital bond, leading to long-term satisfaction and stability.

Reviewed by the Psyhologer Editorial Team

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  1. https://ijhespub.org/index.php/pub/article/view/70 []

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