This week we learned about turning towards each other; now if you are anything like me, you are currently asking yourself the same question I did. What is turning towards each other (and no it does not mean standing face to face with your spouse)? Turning towards each other is that moment when you are in the grocery store and your wife asks you if we need butter. Instead of just shrugging off the question (turning away), saying something like “I’ll gab one just to be sure” (turning towards). If you hear your husband grumbling about how hard work is going, instead of just to buck up or ignoring him, ask him questions about why he feels that way, listen to what he says and agree with him (take his side if needed), instead of trying to fix his problem. Turning towards each other, is about the small little moments that you have together. A memory that you both acknowledge, even if it is that tell tale grunt that comes out instead of an actual word, these little things are actually helping your relationship grown and strengthen. In Dr. Gottman’s book he states “I rarely see small moments of connection in the tapes of couples who later divorce or report their marriage has permanently soured” (Gottman 1999, p. 87).
The readings this week and got me really thinking about the moments in my life were I might have turned away from a friend, family member or ex boyfriend. When I look back on some of the times, I can see little moments where I might have not taken the time to turn towards someone, when I should have. Sometimes, I don’t think people realise they are turning away from another. It seems like such a small thing, when you fail to acknowledge the little things, that your relationship can be ruined. Sometimes I feel that many couples get caught up in their own lives, not their lives together but their separate lives. Or they feel as if they cannot talk with their partner because they will not listen or will try to fix their problem.
Dr. Gottman’s book is full of ideas that will help couples who are struggling with turning towards each other, or who just want to make sure that they are able to stay on track. Dr. Gottman talks about how to listen and respond to your spouse when they want you to turn towards them. The book also gives couples a list of things that we should be thanking our spouses for, they also end up being great ideas for date nights that allow you to turn towards each other. Some of the ideas that Dr. Gottman gives for turning towards each other are:
- Reunited at the end of the day and talk about how it went
- Watch or read the news together
- Call and/or think about each other during the workday
- Exercise together
- Double-date with friends
- Shop for groceries
- Clean the house
Having the knowledge of turning towards each other will come in handy when I am married. I can see that in the future I will be able to those moments when I need to turn towards my husband, and I will be able to teach him how to turn towards me. Being able to turn towards each other, will allow are relationship to grow and become stronger so that we are able to withstand the storms that come.
Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work. New York: Crown.