[Re-Post] Turning Towards

Back at it, enjoy.

You know what I love about The Sound Relationship House?

It makes sense. I see it in my relationship every day. I see it in my friends’ relationships. There will always be those intangibles that make one relationship different than another, one relationship more sparkly, one relationship more compatible.

However, no matter how compatible you are, without the pieces of The Sound Relationship House, a relationship will not last (happily) for the long haul. This is a recipe for a delicious relationship cake. Oooh, if only it was named The Sound Relationship Cake. Darn.

I love when my bids for attention are seen by my partner. Granted, I can be really obvious sometimes, but I know he knows my cues and he’s eager to respond to my requests for attention and company. It’s fun when a partner chooses to engage with you, because it shows he wants to hang out with me. It’s fun when your partner thinks you’re fun!

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I figured as I sit here in my Gottman Level 1 training, I would follow-up on The Sound Relationship House. So, where were we? We’ve already covered our Love Maps and discussed Fondness and Admiration. So what’s next?

Oh yes, Turning Towards. So what is Turning Towards?

It’s exactly what it sounds like – stop watching the TV, stop looking out the window, stop waiting for your turn to speak and hear what your partner is saying and accept their bid for attention.

What does a bid look like? Well, generally it’s like, “Oh hey, look at that _____ over there!” or “Man, today was tough.” or “Did you hear that?” or “I think something is in my uterus.”

Basically, any opportunity to pay attention to your partner and engage in a dialogue. Even a small, “Mmmhmmm,” or a “Oh man! I totally see what you’re looking at, that’s crazy!” or “Holy Moly, we made a baby!”

Why is this so important? Well, just think about how crappy you feel when you’re out and you think your boyfriend/girlfriend/mom/dad/friend is standing behind you and you start speaking to them. You get about four sentences into a story about how you’ve been gassy all morning since eating those new multigrain muffins you bought at Target and then you realize that boyfriend/girlfriend/mom/dad/friend has actually moved three aisles over to look at color swatches for their new blender. How do you feel when you realize you’ve been speaking about your flatulence to no one, or worse, someone, for a full five to ten minutes?

That’s what happens when you don’t turn towards your partner’s bids for attention. Eventually, they stop trusting you and stop making attempts to connect with you because they end up feeling like Jennifer Aniston after she found out Brad was leaving her for Angelina. So in essence, really freaking terrible, you guys.

When you do turn towards, this builds up your emotional bank account. Those little bids become like Monopoly money for your relationship.

So how much is a bid worth? Well, John Gottman found that all good relationships have a positive to negative bid ratio of 5:1. So for every yucky interaction, there are 5 good ones in healthy, happy relationships. In ailing relationships, it’s a .08:1 ratio. Bleh.

 

So a bid is $5 for your account. A bad bid is like a -$25 withdrawal from your emotional bank account. In toxic relationships, you get into the red real fast. For every negative thing said or done (or even perceived) to your partner, you get $25 taken from your account.

  1. You look nice today. +$5
  2. You did a really great job with the kids this morning. +$5
  3. You remembered to pick up a thing of milk because you used the last of it. +$5
  4. Doing the dishes before you’re asked. +$5
  5. Saying you don’t understand why she/he doesn’t want you to do the dishes? -$25

Now, you’re at -$5. Not pretty considering you got milk, did the dishes, and said two nice things.

Relationships are daily work, people. It takes effort, it takes time, it takes using your noggin for all that space about your partner’s likes and dislikes.

They are so rewarding when they work though.



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Posted on by Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA Posted in Couples, Theory
Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA

About Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA

Hi, I’m Jen. I’m a mental health counselor newly residing in Seattle, Washington. I strongly believe in the mind-body connection as the cornerstone of my professional ideology, along with the healing possibilities of puppies, a good glass of red wine, the smell of a new book, and the importance of travel.