Valentines Day Relationship Skill: Turning Towards



When I Was Your Man

by Bruno Mars

Same bed but it feels just a little bit bigger now Our song on the radio but it don't sound the same When our friends talk about you, all it does is just tear me down 'Cause my heart breaks a little when I hear your name

It all just sounds like ooh, ooh, ooh, hoo Mm, too young, too dumb to realize That I should have bought you flowers And held your hand Should have gave you all my hours When I had the chance Take you to every party 'cause all you wanted to do was dance

Now my baby's dancing But she's dancing with another man




When you hear this song, how do you feel? I sure feel sad and empty, it's certainly a sad song.


How do you feel? Do you feel vaguely annoyed, like the partner is too demanding? Just notice your impulse...


And then notice what do you think?


Do you wonder why he didn't dance with his baby when he had the chance?


I wonder what else he was doing...what else was important to him and why he would ignore his partner's bids for emotional connection? She liked to dance and asked him to go with her and was it that he just didn't like dancing? Only he knows that information, though...


Do you feel like she is asking too much? Notice your impulse...


Do you think he was he turning away from her or towards her?


Did you know that successful couples turn towards each other 86% of the time while distressed couples, who eventually divorce, turn towards each other 33% of the time!




So, was there more to it than he didn't like to dance? He also mentions that he didn't hold her hand enough...she wanted more emotional connection and he was...what ...too busy?..too distracted? It doesn't seem he was not that interested...It seems to me that he was just too distracted, too busy.


Do you feel like she is asking too much?


How might your partner be asking for emotional connection?


"Let's go for a walk."

"How was work?"

"Want to hear something funny?"

"Do you want to go with me?"

"Can you take just one day off ..it's been months! ...and we go for a hike?"

"How about we get away, just for the weekend, just the two of us?"

"I feel overwhelmed at work...."


"Turning towards" your partner is a very simple skill that you can learn right now and is a significant way to strengthen your relationship. "Turning towards" is a relationship skill identified by John Gottman, Ph.D., a prominent relationship researcher, whose research consists of the study of literally thousands of couples over long periods of time, years, in fact.


In his research, he found that in successful marriages, people had better relationship skills. But maybe you grew up in a home where people in the family tended to stay to themselves, holing up in different rooms, with their own TV or a gaming device. Maybe it felt lonely, as the bids for emotional connection went unheeded and then people just stopped trying.


Does this feel familiar?


Ask yourself how you are in your daily relationship..do you tune your partner out? Or do you make an effort to have fun, to tease, to laugh, to cook together, to listen? Notice how you feel when your partner makes a bid for closeness, or when you make a bid for closeness.


Are you rebuffed? Do you rebuff?


Try raising your awareness and being conscious about making bids for emotional connection. You and partner can explicitly say, "I'm making a bid for connection here!"


A simple skill with big benefits!


Read about other Valentine's Day Skills here:


Both Sides Now

The Listening Door