I was listening to the radio this morning and heard an ad for Ontario Savings Bonds, described as “bonds that build Ontario.” The government advertises them as a way to support the province’s investments in hospitals, schools, roads and bridges.
It got me thinking about our own personal investments. For many of us, we are making investments too—investments in a house or in our retirement fund, or in an RESP for our children’s education.
We invest in our families when we buy a larger vehicle to fit our growing family. And we invest in our children when we pay for their music lessons or hockey training. We invest in safety when we purchase alarm systems and pay for the monitoring. And some of us do invest in bonds or stocks as well. There are so many things we invest in.
And perhaps savings bonds are a good investment—I don’t know, because my expertise is not in finances or building strong investment portfolios. The ads make big promises: apparently these bonds are “safe and secure” and “flexible,” are available with “annual or compound interest,” and they “mature” and can be “redeemed.” Apparently they also promote “growth” and “help people in their everyday lives.”
I don’t know how often these kinds of promises come true when someone invests in financial bonds, but I do know that such promises can come true about other kinds of bonds—bonds that also build a better Ontario.
Attachment bonds are those deep and enduring emotional bonds that connect people in relationships.
These relationship bonds create the safety and security children need in order to develop emotionally, and the safety and security adults need in their intimate relationships in order to stay healthy emotionally.
They inevitably need to be flexible. In order to have a healthy attachment bond, we need to be attuned, responsive, and engaged with the other person, adapting to where they are at and what they need.
And when we invest in strengthening and deepening these attachment bonds through our attentive presence when we spend time together, our investment generates high rates of interest as we experience precious moments together, building a strong relationship foundation.
Sometimes we need to invest further in our attachment bonds, perhaps through family or couple therapy. We get our investment back with interest as healthy interaction patterns begin to replace the old unhealthy patterns, and as relationships become closer and past hurts heal, and as we become more resilient as individuals, partners, and as a family.
Even bonds that have been injured through betrayal or neglect can be redeemed. And when we stick together through all the challenges of life, facing whatever comes at us together, our bonds mature and deepen in powerful ways.
When we invest in attachment bonds, we build stronger individuals, and safer and deeper family relationships, which allow us to contribute to building better communities wherever we live—including in Ontario!
Susan Winter Fledderus is a Clinical Therapist with Shalem Mental Health Network