Verbal affirmation, validation, and expressions of love are necessary for intimacy, loving and connection to your partner. Depending on what you witnessed and grew up with in your family of origin will determine how you express love, affection, gratitude and appreciation. Some families are direct and conflictual and others are indirect and passive. Of course, you will internalize those same habits, behaviors and ways of expressing yourself. To feel loved, try focusing helping your partner feeling the following: What are you after? Help you partner feel and experience the following: Significant, Recognized, Valued, Appreciated, Secure, Accepted, Important……loved.
Dr. John Gottman has done a great deal of work on communication and helping couples connect via a process he calls “BIDS.” You can turn toward a bid, turn away or turn against a bit. Most successful and happy couples turn toward their partner’s bid 86% of the time. Here are a few examples of possible response types that show interest, motivation and love. How often are you turning away? Do you know what happens if you continue to make bids and your partner turns away or against? They stop bidding. The chasm grows and you begin to live very separate and disconnected lives. Strive to turn toward, most of the time. (Link to Gottman website) Turning Towrd Your Partner from Gottman.
These are one or two word comments or mild shifts in behavior with no verbal response – your partner may not stop what they are doing, but you know that you’ve been heard, Sam: “Do you want to go out tonight?”
Mia: [Continuing to get the kids ready for school] “Mmmm”
These involve a few words or a question to clarify a bid, e.g.
Ava: “Sounds fine. Where?”
These involve opinions, thoughts, and feelings;.
Liam: “That sounds great. You like that Thai place down the street?”
These involve full attention with good eye contact. High energy responses may be enthusiastic, include humor or affection, and/or sincere empathy;
Wiley: “Hooray! Oh, hold on a sec while I cancel my date with the couch…”