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This One Simple Action could Make or Break Your Marriage

Renowned marriage researcher Dr. John Gottman conducted a study with newlyweds who were still married after six years. He discovered that the couples who survived were much better at one thing. They were in the habit of turning their attention towards each other instead of away from each other. In fact, the couples who stayed married turned towards one another 86% of the time, while the couples who divorced only connected 33% of the time. Now, if you’re like me, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Duh”. But this finding is powerful because it suggests that there are the small things that we do or don’t do that will ultimately make or break our marriages.This study reveals one little thing you can do every day that will dramatically strengthen your marriage, and that is to turn your attention to each other when one of you is asking for it.So how do you turn your attention towards your spouse? When one spouse desires a little time and care, he or she usually makes what Gottman calls a “bid for connection”. A bid is an offer from one spouse to the other for attention, affirmation, affection, or any other positive connection. Bids can be as simple as a sigh, smile, wink or tap on the sofa. Or it could involve a verbal request for advice, help or empathy. When a wife ask her husband, “Can you help me fold the laundry?”, she’s making a bid for some affirmation, or maybe even a little appreciation. When a husband taps the sofa for his wife to join him while watching TV, he wants her attention. Now, each of these spouses has a choice to acknowledge their spouses bids and turn their attention to one another or to ignore them. To ignore a bid is to turn away or reject the offer of connecting. And this can be devastating. Rejecting bids from your spouse will lead to him or her making fewer bids for connection from you and possibly making bids for attention and affection somewhere else. More divorces are the result of years of resentment and hurt that have accumulated from spouses neglecting the bids for connection and affection from one another. So it’s important that you learn how to recognize bids from your spouse and that you commit to making them to each other. It’s okay to say “I’m making a bid for attention now”. Once you start getting intentional about your bids, you can concentrate on turning towards each other and strengthening your marriage.
Couple holding hands and sitting on a couch

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Almost 65% of the couples attending a marriage intensive retreat with The Marriage Hub are given some sort of financial needs based scholarship. Without those funds, we would not be able to save their marriage.

The Marriage Hub is the marriage ministry of House on the Rock Family Ministries, a registered 501c3 organization. All donations are tax deductible.

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