It is the little things that can make a big difference to how connected you are feeling in your relationship.
Sometimes in a busy life we can get so caught up in managing busyness we step out of connection, passing each other as if we were work colleagues going about the day, on task and with little love expressed.
John Gottman found how important these little things are in his research around long term couples staying together. He called them ‘bids’. He said “A bid can be a question, a gesture, a look, a touch – any single expression that says “I want to feel connected to you.””
So here they are some little things to help bring more connection in your everyday relating.
1. Give up “I’m sorry”
The word sorry can get a little tired when used in every apology and used alone offers little connection. Saying sorry for an obvious mishap is a simple way to acknowledge a mistake and move on. However for mishaps that are emotionally charged, the emotions surrounding it tend to be swept under the carpet and an opportunity for intimate connection is lost.
Instead we might start to express ourself by saying something like “I feel regretful that things slipped from my mind and I didn’t act as considerate toward you as I would have liked.” Saying something like this invites connection and offers understanding to the other.
2. Validate the craziest feelings
All emotions a person is feeling in the moment are real, how they arise may or may not seem rational given a situation. Arguing about this, well, leads to arguments, usually about who is the most right.
Validating your partners feelings softens the situation and enables connection. Seeing your partner’s emotional response to a situation may not make any sense what-so-ever to you at the time. When offering empathy by way of validating their feelings we can come to more understanding and closeness instead of arguments. “Babe, you seem really irritated by the way the kids are playing, what’s up?” By focusing on validating or offering a guess to how your partners feeling, there is an underlying message saying “I love and accept you, and want to understand you more”
3. Surprising gestures
Surprise your partner with gestures of love. There are a gazillion little ways to make gestures of love. Let’s see…..
send your partner a cheeky sms while they are at work; randomly place a piece of decadent chocolate to your partners lips; hide a love note in a pocket of their clothing; offer a ‘feet up’ evening by doing all the cooking and cleaning for dinner so they can relax; spontaneously invite you partner to dance a little crazy on the street in public.
Surprising gestures lets your partner know you are thinking of them fondly and creates lots of connection.
Love and enjoy life