It is easy to get caught up with our ever-growing to-do lists and miss important moments in our relationship. Missing the moments where our partner is looking for emotional connection, or as Dr. John Gottman calls them “Bids for Emotion” can cause a lot of damage.
Dr. Gottman, a leading relationship researcher, describes these important moments, or bids, as any attempt for attention, affirmation, affection, or connection.
Missing these important moments, communicates you do not care, or they are unimportant to you. Bid’s can be a lot of different things, but here are some examples:
- Telling you about their day
- Asking about your day
- Giving you a hug or a kiss
- Wanting to spend time together
- Moving closer to you
- Asking for advice
- and more!
Here are 4 ways to respond to your partners bid’s and improve your relationship
1- PUT THE PHONE AWAY
Trust me, I get it. There are emails to be sent, text messages to follow up on, funny videos to seen and on and on but one of the best ways to miss your partner’s bid for attention is by being on your phone. The phone serves as a distraction so you may miss the subtle or even obvious bids for attention:
- physical contact with you (reached for your hand, gave you a hug, etc)
- asked you a question
- visibly upset
2- ASK QUESTIONS
Once your phone is away and your partner has your attention, interact with them by asking questions. This shows them that not only are you listening but you are interested and invested. Try saying things like:
- “Wow, what did you think about that?”
- “What is the hardest part for you”
- “How did you manage that?”
- “What was the best part of your day?”
- “What’s on your plate for tomorrow?”
3- RESPOND TO REQUESTS
This doesn’t mean say yes to everything. Responding just simply means acknowledging that your partner has said or done something. If they are asking a favor of you, providing information, winking at you…RESPOND. Respond with a wink back, an ‘okay’ or ‘Thank you’ but either way, respond!
4- GET EXCITED
When your partner is excited about something, share in the excitement. Sharing their excitement shows your partner it is important to you too. When they are smiling and laughing, smile and laugh with them. Join them in their happy dance or even offer to do something special to celebrate. Dampening your partners excitement can do damage to the relationship and teaches your partner not to come to you during joyful times.
If you want to create a better marriage, a better relationship, it is vital to catch and respond to your partner when they bid for your love, attention or affection. These are just 4 of COUNTLESS ways this can be done. So get creative and have fun with it!