What can you do right now to make your relationship more romantic? You could get your wife a diamond necklace. Or maybe you could buy her the Mercedes dream car she’s always wanted. Sounds like a good idea, right?
But let’s suppose that you haven’t asked your wife a question in five years, so you fail at Love Maps. Or while you are out on a double date with friends and your wife starts telling a story, you say, “That’s a good story, but you always tell it wrong. Let me tell it.” So you fail at showing her fondness and admiration.
Later that night she excitedly plops down next to you on the couch and shows you a picture of a romantic getaway in Italy.
“Isn’t this romantic?”
You respond, “Will you be quiet? I’m trying to read here!”
So you fail at turning towards her when she tries to connect with you.
Now reconsider that necklace and new car. Is that going to rekindle the romance? I don’t think so. She’ll probably throw the necklace on the ground and use the new Mercedes to drive over it a few times for good measure.
The Micro-Moments of Love
Culture has distorted what makes passion sizzle in a marriage. Advertisements convey the message that a romantic getaway or expensive jewelry is the way to a woman’s heart, but I find the dull moments of relationships are the most significant of all.
There is profound drama in the micro-moments of love. The time when Jack and Susan have dinner together and talk about their days rather than watch TV in silence. Or how Kevin and Kris tenderly touch each other as they pass in the kitchen.
Love is cultivated during the grind of everyday life. It’s the seemingly meaningless little moments of connection that are the most meaningful of all.
Here’s how to reconnect with your partner in three steps by investing in your Emotional Bank Account.
1. Accept bids for connection.
Couples often ignore each other’s emotional needs out of mindlessness, not malice.” The first step to feeling more connected with your partner is to recognize how vital these micro-moments are. This is important not only for the trust in your marriage but for romance and intimacy as well.
The simple shift of not taking everyday interactions for granted can do wonders for a marriage. Helping out with work around the house is likely to do far more for your relationship than a two-week vacation in Tahiti.
Sometimes we miss bids because our partner says it in a negative way. For example, Kim says to her husband, “it never occurs to you to empty the dishwasher, does it?” James doesn’t hear her bid (“please unload the dishwasher”). Instead, he hears criticism, the first of the Four Horsemen. It’s not surprising when he replies in a defensive manner.If James would have said, “Oh, you’re right. I’m sorry,” and then emptied the dishwasher, he would have scored brownie points and maybe even a sheepish smile from his wife as she realized her tone was unnecessary.
Before you reply defensively to your partner, pause for a second and look for the bid in their words.