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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work – Principle 3: Turn Toward Each Other Instead of Away

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work – Principle 3: Turn Toward Each Other Instead of Away

Last Updated on March 22, 2022 by admin

If life were a movie, we might consider the ultimate profession of love to be John Cusack blasting Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” on his boombox outside Ione Skye’s window, but in reality, it looks more like Carl and Ellie’s 8-minute montage, showing their normal, everyday life together. John Gottman believes that love can be found in those small moments throughout the day, through what he calls “bids”.

A bid can be as big as asking for help in taking care of an ill family member, or it can be as small as a sigh just before folding the laundry. In all relationships, these bids are an attempt to gain the other member’s attention, affection, or support, and the response is either to turn towards the partner, or to turn away. Gottman has found that if couples tend to turn towards each other in response to these bids, they’re funding their “emotional bank account” which helps build up trust, emotional connection, and passion.

It only takes a small gesture to show your partner that you love and care for them, so next time they ask if you’re out of butter, don’t shrug apathetically. Say “Not too sure, let me check!”. Each time you choose to turn towards your partner in these little ways, you are making your marriage better and better.

A great way to fund your emotional bank account is simply noticing and appreciating when your partner turns towards you in response to your bids. Here are some questions to help you get started:

What are the top three gestures you most appreciate your partner for having done in the past?
What activities have you done jointly?
What are your partner’s top three things they most appreciate you for having done in the past?

Keep these in mind moving through your relationship, and you’ll find that naturally, before you even notice, your connection will have become stronger and happier.


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