Responding To Emotional Bids: The Key To Lasting Relationships?

Starting a relationship with someone can be easy and spontaneous, but the challenge is in keeping that close connection strong and intact throughout the years. With claims that almost 50% of marriages in America end in divorce, you can clearly see that building a meaningful relationship takes hard work and serious commitment.

For this reason, people are usually in awe upon seeing couples who manage to keep their union happy and fulfilling throughout the years. And no one starts a relationship with the intention for it to fail. With guidebooks and numerous studies suggesting various ways on how to have a happy marriage, you can even conclude that our society is obsessed with building and maintaining relationships.

So why do many relationships fail to survive the test of time? What is the reason some marriages or partnerships last while others don’t? An American psychologist, John Gottman attempted to answer this perennial question with the introduction of emotional bids.

What are emotional bids?

The concept of emotional bids is the result of a longitudinal study where Gottman observed newly-married couples and followed up with them six years later to see who among them were able to keep their vows. Gottman claimed that by observing the couples whose status remain unchanged after several years of  marriage, he has unraveling the secret formula to a healthy and rewarding relationship.

According to him, one main difference between a successful and failed marriage is the ability of the couples to recognize and positively respond to each other’s call for connection. Gottman called the signals that people send out to those they want to form a connection with – emotional bids. Apparently, we all send and receive these signals (they can be verbal or nonverbal) in everyday situations to people we interact with. The way we choose to respond to these emotional bids are like steps we take in relationship building. A negative response turns you away from someone, while a positive response leads you towards a person.

How can you use the concept of emotional bids to improve relationships?

In a relationship, both parties constantly make emotional bids to each other in various ways. It happens whenever someone attempts to reach out to his or her partner. An emotional bid is easy to miss because it can be as simple as a wife asking her spouse about his day wherein a husband can either give a short standard reply or enthusiastically narrate the events of the day. In another scenario, the husband may try to suggest to his spouse a new place they can hang out and the wife can either accept or reject the idea.

Whenever we make emotional bids, we are unconsciously conveying a hidden message to one another.  For example, the simple questions above can actually be a plea for your partner’s attention or affection. In the first example, the wife asking her husband a question is actually saying that she cares about her partner’s whereabouts. Meanwhile, the husband suggesting a new place is saying that he wants to spend more time with his wife.

If you know how to detect the hidden meaning to the messages that someone relays through emotional bids, you can discern the proper answer or response that will address the needs of your partner. Consistently hearing or receiving negative responses to emotional bids will weaken, and may ultimately break, the relationship. On the other hand, regular positive responses nurture and strengthen the relationship. If you closely delve into it, the key to lasting relationships is simply choosing to be kinder to your partner. Gottman’s research centers on romantic relationships, but the idea behind emotional bids can be applied in all types of relationships.

The quality of the relationships you have in your life affect your overall happiness and wellbeing. Successful relationships, though, take real effort. If you wish to nurture relationships, be more thoughtful and attentive to fulfill the needs of others. If you fully understand the idea of emotional bids and consciously apply it to your everyday life, you may soon discover that you have found the key to lasting relationships.

Dean and Marcie WhalenResponding To Emotional Bids: The Key To Lasting Relationships?
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Five Lasting Benefits Of Family Mealtimes: Make Quality Time Count

“All great change in America begins at the dinner table.
So tomorrow night in the kitchen, I hope the talking begins.”- Ronald Reagan

When you start a family, you begin a journey of creating memories. For meaningful mementos that you can reminisce on for years, you usually go out of the way to celebrate special occasions. The effort you give to make big events memorable sets a positive example because it is a subtle way of showing your kids how well you value your family.

However, parents should realize that the part and parcel that form their everyday life will have greater impact on their children. If done right, the simple act of eating a meal together can create lasting benefits for the whole family.

Deeper relationships.

The world will definitely be a lonely place without relationships. Everyone will agree that having a strong support network is one thing that helps all of us get by through life’s ups and downs. Since family members are usually the persons closest to you, building relationships should start at home. Gathering together during mealtimes allows family to communicate and connect with each other. In the long run, the interactions that take place at the family table will strengthen relationships.

Well-adjusted kids.

As children grow, they become susceptible to bad influences which can lead to behavioral problems. Fortunately, regular family mealtimes can help parents shield their kids from all these possible scenarios. A 2014 research study published by the National Council on Family Relations, a non-profit organization, showed a positive correlation between family dinners and well-adjusted kids.

Smarter children.

If you want your kids to do better in school, you have another good reason to insist on making mealtimes a family activity. It may seem unlikely, but you can use mealtimes as a chance for learning. Aside from demonstrating proper eating manners, you can briefly discuss topics while at the dining table. The exchange of ideas that happen during meal times will open the minds of children to various points of view. These conversations encourage kids to speak their minds, and in the process, sharpen communication skills.

Better health.

Home cooked dishes are generally healthier than fast food and takeout meals. Eating together at home is therefore one way to ensure good health of the whole family. It is also a way to monitor the food intake of everyone. This claim is even backed by research as a paper published by the American Academy of Pediatrics concludes that families who dine together at least three times a week reduces the risk of obesity and eating disorders.

Happier household.

It will be hard to foster a loving environment if you do not make bonding times a daily priority. Finding time to be together can be tough because everyone can get so busy. The good news is that mealtimes are one of the easiest ways to catch up with each other. Furthermore, a study by Brigham Young University researchers found out that family mealtimes allow working mothers to de-stress after a tiring day in the office.

So if your goal is to leave wonderful memories and impart great values, give prime importance to ordinary moments as well. Who knows? The fondest memories of your children can even be during family meal times.

Dean and Marcie WhalenFive Lasting Benefits Of Family Mealtimes: Make Quality Time Count
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Healthy Living Is About More Than Losing Weight

With message after message in the media implying that the secret to happiness is losing weight, it can be easy to conflate healthy living with being skinny. But, the truth is, you can be skinny and still not be living the healthiest lifestyle. The key to healthy living isn’t losing weight (although that generally doesn’t hurt, if you do it the right way); the key is creating a lifestyle that makes you feel your happiest, most energized, and most capable.

Healthy Living Should Make You Happier

When you step into a healthier lifestyle, one that includes regular exercise, you naturally increase your endorphin production. Endorphins are responsible for that happy, elated feeling you get when you go for a long run or finally conquer the mountain you’ve been climbing.

In essence, endorphins are the reason that regular exercise makes you a happier person all around. That alone should be enough to encourage you to lace up those old running shoes and hit the pavement. It isn’t about looking your best in your bathing suit this summer; it’s about feeling your best all year long.

Healthy Living Should Energize You

A healthy lifestyle shouldn’t just be about exercising more regularly. You should also make it a point to pay attention to the nourishing food you put in your body.

Whether it’s a protein-packed breakfast smoothie or a nice fillet of fresh-caught salmon for dinner, what you choose to put into your body does just as much for healthy living as does working out.

One of the most destructive notions about dieting is that food is the enemy, that calories are to be feared and restricted. But, if you pick energizing foods that nourish your body, you should start to feel more energized and healthy—and you’ll never feel deprived.

Healthy Living Should Help You Feel More Capable

Not living up to your potential health-wise can be detrimental in so many ways. When you look at yourself in the mirror and you don’t like your reflection, it can frankly be pretty upsetting. But what’s worse is feeling like you can’t quite keep up with life. You miss out on living life to the fullest when you lead an unhealthy lifestyle.

Healthy living should help you feel more capable and better able to get out there and do all of the things you’ve been wanting to try. It should also enable you to keep up with your kids. What greater joy is there than being able to play with your kids?

In short, when you stick with a healthy lifestyle, you allow yourself to be an active participant in life’s greatest joys.

Dean and Marcie WhalenHealthy Living Is About More Than Losing Weight
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