Do you think life is perfect? Yes? Well, think again! What do you think about the year 2020? How did it turn out for you? So unpredictable, right?
Every individual wishes a smooth, happy life but, do you think you are doing every thing to make things right for yourself and your partner? Just before this pandemic started, things were kind of rough and somewhat smooth for the other. Most of the people were really happy with the thought of staying home with family, and working from home during the pandemic. Meanwhile, others were stressed out about how to earn bread for the family?
Let’s take a look at the first ones. Majority of the population was really happy with the thought of having more time to connect with their loved ones during the pandemic as they felt like they’ve missed out on so much. This was the time to bond, and make out for the times they disappointed and turned down their family, especially their spouse, and children.
Beginning of the pandemic, everyone was more than happy to stay home and do everything to build the lost connection between them and their spouse. Everything was going smooth for them, so happy, so joyful, so pleasing that they thought this is so perfect. Complying to their partner’s requests and going out of the way to make things perfect for them, everything seemed so beautiful just like a fantasy world. But little did they know that they might get stuck into something huge if they do not take a notice of the so called “petty things” they say? Alright, let me explain. Ever heard someone ranting in this pandemic about how their partner is always on their nerves, demanding, interfering and asking for too much? Well, this is the story of millions out there who at first thought that this pandemic could make their married life happier but it turned out the other way around.
Building a connection with your partner is the basic need of your marital relationship. In order to make your relationship happy and smooth, you should start paying attention to your partner’s bids.
The Gottman Institute talks about “bid for attention”. This is a fundamental unit of emotional communication and interaction between you and your partner. The bids could be small or big, verbal or non-verbal. Your partner makes requests to you in order to connect more and in return needs your attention only. This is the point where you need to figure out if you both of you are on the same page or not, because otherwise this could be the reason why your relationship is falling down. We are talking about the essential need of building your relationship strong and of course a happily ever after.
Every single time that your partner wants to connect to you, he is actually making a bid, and you have to do everything to make it work. For example, if your partner comes home tired from work, he greets you and asks for dinner, but you are busy doing something else and do not pay attention and ignore, this is where the real problem dives in.
Answering the Bids
There are three ways you can respond to a bid:
- Turning towards (acknowledging the bid)
- Turning away (ignoring or missing the bid)
- Turning against (rejecting the bid in an argumentative or way)
Let’s take an example of the first one. When your husband came home, and greeted you, you could respond attentively and ask him, “how was your day today”? This might make him forget about all the stressful situations he went through that day. Instead of making him feel invisible or unwanted.
The second option is turning away from bids. Referring to the example we gave earlier, is a depiction of turning away from bids because the bid was ignored.
The last option is turning against, for example, your husband came home tired and requested you to serve the dinner while you were busy in the kitchen the same time, you do not make an eye contact instead, start ranting about how tired and busy you are. This might ruin things really bad for both of you.
Importance of Bids
Healthy couples constantly make and accept bids to connect. Relationships are built and maintained with daily attention, not grand gestures. It is important to build a connection between you and your partner by paying attention, rather agreeing to everything. Be it an emotional, verbal, non-verbal, or physical connection. Building a strong relationship does not rely solely on verbal communication, but it needs to have passion, humor, intimacy, and trust as the foremost and important element contained within, and adding a little bit of attention too.
Making Bids Frequently
Bidding is that essential element of a healthy relationship which should never stop. You need to bid often just by paying attention and figuring out when exactly does your partner need your comfort and attention. You should show some interest, ask a few questions to interact more and nod just so you both are on the same page.
Ignoring the Bids
You need to know how complying and paying attention to your partner’s bids can either make or break things for you. If your partner turns you down or denies your bids, you will internalize the experience and start counting the times they did not pay attention to your bids, which might make your relationship stand on the edge.
The key point here is to pay attention to the tiniest bids your partner makes. Try to interact with them and build a stronger and a powerful connection by putting down your screens and maintain an eye contact when they point something out.
Influence of Bids
Happy couples bid all the time. Once you master the art of paying attention to your partner’s bids, you will see how healthy and powerful your relationship has become. You should minimize and get rid of the negative gestures you have been giving to your partner and refrain from inattentive attitude. All in all, paying attention to bids is all that you need for a happily ever after.
Author: Arooba Laraib
Clinical & Counseling Psychologist,
Family First Institute