Let’s be honest, we all know a couple that fits the romantic comedy relationship mold; couples seem like they’re still in the honeymoon phase even after being together for many years. They give each other a look from across a room and know what they mean as if they have their own love language. They can tell when the other is uncomfortable or distressed and immediately make them feel better.
They’re the type of couple that enters a room genuinely happy and unison, go and mingle with others, then meet up again to leave feeling the same way they came in. If this kind of relationship doesn’t sound like yours and you’re thinking “Why can’t my relationship be like that?”, we’re here to tell you it absolutely can be. The couple described have created their own ‘couple bubble’ and together made a pact that their relationship is a priority above and before all else.
So, what is a “couple bubble”?
Stan Tatkin, developer of A Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT) and author of Wired for Love, discusses a “couple bubble” as an agreement to make your relationship a priority before and above anything else. It creates a safe zone where both partners feel secure and part of a team.
As a testament to the couple’s interdependency, not codependency, their bubble works as a solid foundation that the relationship can build on. It offers relief and support when they need it most, rather than tearing down or adding fuel to the fire when tensions are high. By using the couple bubble, you learn about your partner’s wellbeing and keep it in check, while learning how you can make them feel safe and secure in any situation.
It’s a promise you make to each other that you will provide a safe space for your partner that protects them from the harsh elements of the outside world. You’re probably thinking you know exactly what your partner needs to feel safe, but until you really flesh out each of your views on what security means to you, you may be doing more harm than good.
Does the couple bubble work in real situations?
The bubble is designed to move with you – it isn’t just for the comfort of your own home. You could have had a really bad week at work, you don’t want to deal with a particular family member at a party, or your mood has dropped in a significant way due to something unforeseen; your relationship works as a beacon of safety you are able to retreat to and feel good again.
Having a “couple bubble” is actually very helpful for your brain as it helps regulate your mood and keep your emotions in check while building a strong connection with your partner each day. It’s the kind of relationship that feels like a home away from home, giving you a sense of calm and allows you to talk about whatever troubles you may have with your partner without judgment or shame. You’re able to chat freely about what’s bothering you without setting off a competitive tit for tat argument where couples quarrel about keeping tabs, who’s more tired or who worked the hardest.
Can I create my own couple bubble?
Embracing an ‘us against the world’ mentality means both partners need to be 100 percent committed and ready to say their relationship comes first and rid of the ‘every man for themselves’ thought process. Talk to your partner about their views on safety and security and learn to let go of those petty arguments.
Tonight, sit down with your partner and take it in turns to answer these questions:
What do you need from me in order to feel safe and secure?
Are there promises or guarantees can you offer me now and in the future?
What kind of pact are you willing to make for me?
Can I do better next time?
You’ll strengthen your open line of communication in the relationship and unlock the essence of a successful couple bubble – the beauty of the bubble is no one has to know except for you two. The bubble allows no room for manipulation or shame, you can’t just lock your partner out if you’re unhappy or upset about something; it’s there to protect you both even when you’re going through hardship.
If you find this concept difficult to grasp or don’t think your partner would be able to fully engage in the bubble (which is perfectly normal), try to seek out a professional or get in touch with Dr. Lurve who can help you both open your communication and implement your couple bubble in your everyday life.