hello all! I'm here yet again for our marriage wednesdays! a way for me to share my growing knowledge on marriage and families. today i'm going to share gottman's third principle "turn toward each other instead of away."
he states, "hollywood has dramatically distorted our notions of romance and what makes passion burn ... real-life romance is ... kept alive each time you let your spouse know he or she is valued during the grind of everyday life. comical as it may sound, romance actually grows when a couple is in the supermarket and the wife says, 'are we out of bleach?' and the husband says, 'i don't know. let me go get some just in case,' instead of shrugging apathetically. it grows when you know your spouse is having a bad day at work and you take sixty seconds out of your own workday to leave words of encouragement on his voice mail. in these instances husband and wife are making a choice to turn toward each other rather than away."
to get a good sense of how your relationship is faring (or is likely to fare in the future) in the romance department, answer the following questions. and be honest!
*read each statement and circle T for "true" or F for "false."
1. we enjoy doing small things together, like folding laundry or watching TV. T or F
2. i look forward to spending my free time with my partner. T or F
3. at the end of the day my partner is glad to see me. T or F
4. my partner is usually interested in hearing my views. T or F
5. i really enjoy discussing things with my partner. T or F
6. my partner is one of my best friends. T or F
7. i think my partner would consider me a very close friend. T or
8. we just love talking to each other. T or F
9. when we go out together the time goes by very quickly. T or F
10. we always have a lot to say to each other. T or F
11. we have a lot of fun together. T or F
12. we are spiritually very compatible. T or F
13. we tend to share the same basic values. T or F
14. we like to spend time together in similar ways. T or F
15. we really have a lot of common interests. T or F
16. we have many of the same dreams and goals. T or F
17. we like to do a lot of the same things. T or F
18. even though our interests are different, i enjoy my partner’s interests. T or F
19. whatever we do together, we usually tend to have a good time. T or F
20. my partner tells me when he or she has had a bad day. T or F
*scoring: give yourself one point for each "true" answer.
- 10 or above: congratulations! this is an area of strength in your marriage. because you are so often “there” for each other during the minor events in your lives, you have built up a hefty emotional bank account that will support you over any rough patches in your marriage. it’s the little moments that make up the heart and soul of a marriage. having a surplus in your bank account is what makes romance last and gets you through hard times, bad moods and major life changes.
- below 10: your marriage could stand some improvement in this area. by learning to turn toward each other during the minor moments in your day, you will make your marriage not only stable but also more romantic. every time you make the effort to listen and respond to what your spouse says, to help him or her, you make your marriage a little better.
the following exercise is a list of ideas you and your spouse can do to strengthen the connection you have with one another.
exercise: the emotional bank account
* directions: choose 3 activities that you feel would strengthen your connectedness. do them this week then come back next week for 3 more - basically you can do as many as you want and hopefully your emotional connection will continue to grow.
(list taken from gottman's book the seven principles for making marriage work.)
1. reunite at the end of the day and talk about how it went.
2. shop for groceries. make up the shopping list.
3. cook dinner, bake.
4. clean house, do laundry.
5. shop together for gifts or clothes (for self, kids, or friends).
6. go out (no kids) for brunch or dinner.
7. read the morning paper together.
8. help each other with a self-improvement plan (e.g., a new class, weight loss, exercise, and a new career).
9. plan and host a dinner party.
10. call and/or think about each other during the workday.
11. stay overnight at a romantic hideaway.
12. eat breakfast together during the work week.
13. go to a church, mosque, or synagogue together.
14. do yard work, shovel the walk, do home repairs, car maintenance, and washing.
15. perform committee work in the community (e.g., volunteering).
16. exercise together
17. go on weekend outings (e.g., picnic, drives).
18. spend “everyday” time with kids –bedtimes, baths, homework.
19. take the kids on outings (e.g., zoo, museum, dinner).
20. attend school functions (e.g., teacher conferences).
21. stay in touch with/spend time with kin (parents, in-laws, siblings).
22. entertain out-of-town guests.
23. travel together (plane, bus, train, car).
24. watch television or videos.
25. order take out.
26. double-date with friends.
27. attend sporting events.
28. engaged in a favorite activity (e.g., bowl, go to amusement park, bicycle, hike, job, horseback ride, camp, canoe, sail, water-ski, swim).
29. talk or read together by and open fire.
30. listen to music.
31. go dancing or attend a concert, nightclub, jazz club, or theater.
32. host your child’s birthday party.
33. take your child to lessons. (music, sports)
34. attend your child’s sporting events or performance (recital, play, etc.).
35. pay bills.
36. write letters or cards.
37. deal with family medical events (take kids to the doctor, dentist, or emergency room).
38. work at home, but still be together in some way.
39. go to a community event (e.g., church auction).
40. go to a party.
41. drive to or from work together.
42. celebrate milestones in your children’s lives (confirmations, graduation).
43. celebrate other milestones in your lives (e.g., promotion, retirement).
44. play computer games, surf the internet.
45. supervise your children’s play dates.
46. plan vacations.
47. plan your future together. dream.
48. walk the dog.
49. read out loud together.
50. play a board game or a card game.
51. put on plays or skits together.
52. do errands together on a weekend.
53. engage in hobbies; e.g., painting, sculpting, making music.
54. talk over drinks.
55. find time to just talk without interruptions—find time for spouse to really listen to you.
57. gossip (talk about other people).
58. attend a funeral.
59. help out other people.
60. hunt for a new house or apartment.
61. test-drive new cars.
62. other: come up with something together!
enjoy - and happy wednesday!