Intro by Gary Krane
The following brilliant essay is by Dr. Dan Wile, a therapist whom the eminent Dr. John Gottman calls, “a genius and the greatest living marital therapist [in America].” The essay is a highly sophisticated analysis of what Gottman calls “Bids,” or what we at couplewise.com know as actions that meet our need and our partner’s need for “connection and concern.” This is one of the 8 needs most predictive of long lasting committed relationships and part of couplewise’s “Clarify Your Needs” process.
If the need is not met, the feeling is likely to be one of loneliness. If readers identify with the loneliness or lack of connection discussed in this essay, we suggest using couplewise.com‘s new Make Agreements tool. Start by agreeing to talk to your mate about the lack of “bids” in your relationship; it could be a great first step to restoring connection and intimacy. Then to agree to begin making bids a regular part of your life together.
For an excellent complement to this article, we also recommend you read last week’s blog, “What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage.”
—Gary Krane PhD, CEO/Co-Founder, couplewise.com
Bids for Emotional Connection in Couples Therapy
Courtesy of Dan Wile, PhD, DanWile.com
John Gottman’s concept, “bids for emotional connection,” is practically a complete theory of relationships in itself. Hearing the word “bids,” we picture partners reaching out to each other in a variety of ways. Gary Chapman, in his book, The Five Love Languages, lists five such ways: words of affirmation (“That situation was delicate and you really handled it beautifully”), touch (“How about a hug?”), quality time (“Let’s get a babysitter and make a reservation at Chez Alouette”), gifts (“This scarf was so gorgeous, it had your name on it”), and acts of service (“Why don’t you take a nap while I do the cleaning up?”).
Partners make bids to create, increase, maintain, and re-establish connection. Arriving home at the end of a day, we ask: “How was work today?” Noticing that our partner is preoccupied, we say, “What are you thinking?” Sensing something amiss, we send out a probe: “Are you upset with me about something?”
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