Tips to Understand Dr. John Gottman’s Couples Bids
Dr. John Gottman calls bids the “fundamental unit of emotional connection.” They are the gestures between a couple that signal a need for attention. Bids can be verbal or nonverbal and include asking for anything from physical affection to help with a project.
How to make a bid
The person who sends the bid desires to connect. Some bids are overt and obvious to the receiver. For example, if Sam tells Charlie, “Do you have a second? I need to run something by you,” that’s a clear bid. When Charlie initiates sex by winking and lightly massaging Sam’s thigh, that’s a very clear bid.
The more they both turn towards each other and respond to those bids, the more likely they are to send bids in the future. It’s a cyclical pattern that, when done correctly, makes the relationship happy and healthy.
Unfortunately, not all bids are created equal, and often the receiver will miss them by no fault of their own. If a bid is difficult to decipher, it may not elicit the response you want, because your partner does not understand what you’re asking for. Dr. John Gottman calls it “fuzzy bidding.”
There are ways to make a better bid for connection. Here are three tips that will clear up the fuzziness and get you and your partner to understand each other.
If you are interested in learning more about the Gottman Method-contact me for more info on couples therapy in Washington, Oregon and Florida.