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Archive for February, 2014

Rich Marriage: Bid to fill the bank!

Posted on Sunday, February 9th, 2014 by Sanctuary staff

by Darcy

Drs. John and Julie Gottman have spent over 40 years researching marriage stability with thousands of couples.  They have discovered that marriages are stronger when we are aware of our partner’s needs and respond to those needs.  A “bid” is the way a person conveys what they need in that moment; it expresses a need for emotional connection.  Learning to make and recognize bids will create an “emotional bank account” for your relationship. Bids are often small things such as getting your partner’s attention, making conversation, showing humor, affection, support, empathy, and so on.  There are three ways we respond to bids:

  • ignore the bid and “turn away.” This response is not necessarily mean-spirited. The one receiving the bid may be on “automatic pilot” and not tuned in to their partner and the partner’s needs.
  • be irritable and “turn against.”  A critical or crabby retort depletes the emotional bank account of the relationship and leads to increased conflict.
  • respond to the bid and “turn toward.” Moments of turning toward are crucial for maintaining intimacy and for creating passion and romance in your relationship; they fill the emotional bank account.

How we choose to connect with our spouse (fill the emotional bank account) or fail to connect (deplete the emotional bank account) is a matter of choices and priorities.  “Small things often” may be a good motto for building up this aspect of your relationship with your spouse.  And, as another benefit, the Gottmans’ research concluded that turning toward is not only the basis for maintaining the friendship in your relationship, but it is also the basis for effective repair of conflict.

Image courtesy of suphakit73 /

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