One of the counselors we often refer couples to posted something on face book that really got my attention. It was from the famous John Gottman. I’ve read his books, but this particular issue hit me. It’s kinda that ‘light bulb’ moment. Oh my, “I do this a lot and I need to stop!” The situation is where your spouse requests connection, or as Gottman puts it, “bids.” He then went on and gave this example:
“. . .say that the husband is a bird enthusiast and notices a goldfinch fly across the yard. He might say to his wife, ‘Look at that beautiful bird outside!’ He’s not just commenting on the bird here: he’s requesting a response from his wife — a sign of interest or support – hoping they’ll connect, however momentarily, over the bird.
“The wife has a choice. She can respond by either ‘turning toward’ or ‘turning away’ from her husband, as Gottman explains. Though the bird-bid might seem minor and silly, it can actually reveal a lot about the health of the relationship. The husband thought the bird was important enough to bring it up in conversation and the question is whether his wife recognizes and respects that.”
Unknowingly, I’m afraid I just let a lot of my husband’s comments lay there and I don’t respond or just respond minimally. I hadn’t quite seen it in the same light before. So I want to do better.
In fact the other day, my husband said something and I responded and he went on to share additional thoughts on the subject. I want him to talk, share his feelings, but I now see where not responding was doing the opposite of what I want in our relationship. I now realize not responding can come across as rude and uncaring. So I appreciate the face book posting. It certainly opened my eyes and helped me see things from a different perspective.
P.S. I just went over this with my husband and he said he thought I was responsive to his comments. I’m glad he sees it like this, but I want to be more intentional in this regard.
Grace and peace,