We all want to love and be loved. We may not all want to admit it, but it’s true. Does this mean you are needy as a human being? Yes, it does. Don’t confuse needy with desperate. I was having a glass of wine the other night with a colleague of mine, she happens to be single. What do you think the conversation was about? She talked about wanting to find a partner and was disappointed that a potential love interest did not work out. A few days before that, I was having dinner with a friend. She is married. What do you think that conversation was about? Her husband and her children. When you talk to your friends, don’t you want to hear about their dating life or relationship? Of course you do. The reason is, you want to connect with them. This is not desperate it’s normal. The Gottman Institute not only studies relationships but they study what makes a relationship last. Couples are always making bids of affection towards one another. A bid can be as simple as a smile or a hello. They have come up with the five to one ratio. This means you need to have five positive bids to wipe out one negative bid. For example, when your partner comes home at the end of the day and you don’t say hello your aren’t accepting the bid. This is known as turning away. Take a minute to think about where you are in your count in your relationship. Here are four tips to help you turn towards your partner in your relationship:
  1. Take a genuine interest in your partner. Listen to your partner. Get excited about your partner’s accomplishments and dreams. Even if they aren’t as important to you. Let your partner know that you are excited when they are excited.
  2. Affectionate touching. Kiss, hug and hold hands. Play with one another, wrestle and tease one another. Give your partner a massage or a pat on the back.
  3. Respond positively to your partner’s bids. When your partner asks you to look at a YouTube video. Make sure that you do. If you don’t, this will be interpreted as turning away. That one instance may not make a big difference at that time, but over time it adds up. And, the points are against you.
  4. You both have power in the relationship. I’m sure you are familiar with the expression, ‘happy wife happy life. Instead, try happy couple. The relationship is not ‘I’ it’s ‘We.’ Put that to work today.
At The Gottman Institute we have found that small contributions make a big difference in a relationship. This means turning towards you partner on a daily basis. One big contribution doesn’t make a big difference when you haven’t been contributing regularly to the relationship. For more help, please call me at (650) 892-0357.

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