How to Make Your Partner Feel Loved
Have you ever wondered how to make your partner feel loved? Sometimes it can be difficult to communicate your love or give attention to your partner in a way that they appreciate or recognize. Likewise, it can be difficult to get the attention or connection from your partner that you‘re seeking.
Did you know that giving attention to your partner is a very effective way of showing love?
When we stop what we are doing, turn towards our partner and give them our full attention we are telling them that they are important to us and we are interested in them.
Bids for Connection
Couples therapist, John Gottman tells us that there are many different ways that we ask for attention from our partner – he calls these ‘Bid for Connection.’
Gottman’s website says a bid is, “any attempt from one partner to another for attention, affirmation, affection, or any other positive connection”. In his research, Gottman has discovered that being aware of and responding to bids from our partner is so important for the health of our relationships.
Are you aware of your partner’s bids for connection?
Bids may look like…
Responding to Bids
Gottman goes on to say that there are three options for responding to bids. We can turn towards, turn away or reject a bid.
Turning towards means to see, acknowledge and respond to our partner with warmth and care.
Turning away means to miss the bid or ignore our partners attempt to connect with us.
Rejecting a bid is to respond rudely or put our partner down for reaching out.
This is a simple concept that once we are aware of we can build into our relationship to create positive points of connection and feelings of love.
Struggling to Respond to a Bid for Attention?
Sometimes different areas of interest or couples who have very different careers might miss turning towards a bid because they have no interest in the content or the topic of the bid.
Say, for example, your partner is an avid golfer and you have no interest in golf. You may find that you have a hard time giving your partner your attention when they make bids concerning golf.
Instead of focusing on the content of the bid (hearing the play by play of the game), try focusing on your partner’s experience of the game:
• What parts challenged you?
• What did you learn?
• Did you have fun?
Focusing on your partner’s experience can be a way to keep genuine interest.
Ready to Make Your Partner Feel Loved?
How can you practice noticing and turning towards the bids that your partner makes? How will you make bids to your partner to create more points of connection throughout the day?
Here’s a great video from the Gottman Institute’s YouTube channel that further illustrates bids for connection:
For more blog posts on relationships, visit the Couples tab on our blog
or find details about our couples counselling in Southern Ontario on our Services page.