But There’s Not Enough TIME To Connect As A Couple!

How do you align with your partner when your lives are very busy with kids, careers, a household, maybe aging parents or medical issues? Do you need a formal date night or weekend away together to do so? And how could you possibly fit that in with the kids’ activities or sports or family events? Or the near-impossible task of finding someone to leave your kids with for a whole weekend?
You don’t need a big gap of time to reconnect because relationships are built on moments of shared experience. Sure, a vacation alone together to a wonderful destination would be amazing, but it’s not necessary to strengthen your partnership.

Similar to a friendship, romantic relationships are built on small moments of a shared experience or laughter or conversation (even a brief one). So, how do you fit those into your busy lives? Watch for your partner’s Bids for Connection. John Gottman, PhD, named instances of one partner using words or touch to ‘reach out’ to the other partner ‘Bids for Connection’.

Some verbal bids are…

  • Asking you how your day was
  • Inquiring how a meeting or appointment went
  • Suggesting you sit together on the couch or outside with a coffee
  • Texting an appreciation
  • Asking if you need something picked up while they are out running errands
  • Sharing something funny they saw on social media

Some physical bids are…

  • Touching you as they walk past
  • Initiating sex
  • Inviting you to cuddle on the couch
  • Reaching for your hand when you’re out together
  • Kissing hello and goodbye

This is a concept we teach in private therapy with couples and individuals because vibrant romantic relationships DO contain elements of friendship. We invite each person to list the ways they’ve been ‘bidding’ then share their list with their partner because many times the partner isn’t aware that some of these were attempts to connect.

Taking this a step further, some couples come to use the term ‘bid for connection’ with a little humor in their voice or wink of the eye when they do it. For example, one partner calls the other and says “Would you like to chat about how your day went? I’m making a Bid for Connection.” This can be tremendously helpful because we can be so consumed with the task at hand. Many times, we don’t realize a small request or conversation starter is your partner wanting to spend time with you.

Or one partner goes to show the other something funny or amazing they found on the Internet and says with levity, “Look, honey. I’m bidding for connection.” A little hokey, yes, but it makes it super obvious that you want your partner’s attention.

If you and your partner need help reconnecting or there are more serious issues which prevent you from aligning, don’t wait any longer. Contact us at 908-246-3074, EXT 1 or email us at getsupport@couplestherapycenterofnj.com. Help is just one phone call/email away.

Meredith Keller's Book

Relationship Essentials

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