Do you know how your partner attempts to reach out to you for affection, care, and connection? Dr. John Gottman introduced the idea of turning towards bids for connection. This means being able to recognize when your partner is attempting to connect with you and responding to them effectively. Noticing bids can require an intentional effort and ability to attune to your partner. Bids can come in many different forms. For example, your partner may ask about your day, invite you to spend time with them, make a request of you, or ask you to help them problem-solve a stressor. Bids can also be very subtle, such as when your partner smiles at you or makes eye contact with you. You may need to practice paying close attention to see how your partner tends to make bids for connection with you.
Turning towards instead of away will help to increase intimacy, affection, fondness, and overall relationship satisfaction. Gottman found that couples who turn towards bids for connection are more likely to stay married than couples who turn away. You can think of turning towards bids for connection as a way to nourish and help grow your relationship even stronger. You can also practice getting creative with the types of bids you make to your partner, and you can even let them know when you’re making a bid. Making this a consistent practice in your relationship will help both you and your partner to feel cared for, listened to, and connected.
This blog post was written by Taryn O’Neil, LPC. To learn more about turning towards bids for connection, reach out to one of our licensed counselors today here.