The Importance of Turning
What the Gottman’s observed is that couples are continually making bids to the other. These are little invitations to participate in the relationship. We miss so many. A bid might include a question, statement, or observation by one spouse. The other must respond to the bid in order to have a successful marriage. It is a low bar in defining the response to the bid. A grunt, nod, or some other guttural sound would count. What cannot happen is silence. In our times of hurt, we pull away and don’t respond.
Happy couples who stay together turn toward the bids 86% of the time. The couples who divorced turned toward the bids only 33% of the time. We have to work hard to respond to the bids overcoming our laziness, hurt, and simply being unaware. For example, if my wife says, “There is a cardinal on the bird feeder!” In order to have a successful marriage, I must respond to this bid even though I may not care about a cardinal on the bird feeder.
Dr. John and Julie Gottman have conducted marital research for over 40 years. They have watched thousands of hours of couples talking, parceling out what behaviors cause marital success and what behaviors contribute to divorce.
Many insights have been illuminated through their work. One important insight is the importance of the simple act of turning toward your spouse during conflict, but equally important is turning toward your spouse during non-conflict times in your marriage.
It is a different story if it is the Cardinals baseball team. That I am excited about. I have to respond to the bid with “Really?”, “Oh”, “Cool” or something similar. If I want to really earn brownie points, I will go in the kitchen to take a look with her. If I do this 86% of the time, my marriage will be long and successful.
Want to know more of John Gottman's keys to a "delicious" marriage? Register for our upcoming FREE seminar on February 11 at Lywelyn's Pub where we'll discuss five keys to a build stronger connections.