Benefits of Creating Resiliency

The benefits of creating resiliency in your marriage or committed couple relationship is a lot like exercising regularly to keep your body strong and healthy.  Not only is a strong healthy body able to fight off illness it is able to repair quicker after injury.  Similarly, resilient couples are able to withstand or recover from difficult situations. So how does one develop a resilient couple relationship?

Resilient Couple Relationship Traits:

  • Resilient couples nourish their relationship daily
  •  Effective communication
  • They make and receive bids for connection
  • Know each others inner world (desires, sensitivities, sorrows, goals etc.)
  • When regrettable incidents or arguments happen they repair quickly

Nurturing Your Relationship

Nurturing your relationship is like having a savings account for a rainy day, or keeping our bodies strong and healthy so we can live a long healthy life. This is accomplished by doing small things often, such as hugging and kissing, before parting or coming back together. It also involves taking a few minutes to debrief and catch up on the events of each others lives at the end of the day, in other words, communicate with each other face-to-face with interest.

Communication

When new couples contact me for counseling the most common reason they put on their intake form is,  “we need tools to communicate better.” In our sessions this often translates to,  “I don’t feel heard, I get tired of asking for help around the house, or whenever we discuss ______ we end up in a big fight.” Which is probably why there have been thousands of books written on the subject.

It is also true that men and women communicate differently; however, there is one commonality:  both desire to be understood. Since this is a blog on resiliency in couple relationships and not a book on communication, I suggest that each day you take some time to talk to each other. Turn off the electronics for 10-minutes and share your day with each other taking turns. Don’t try to solve problems for this 10-minutes just try to really hear what is being said. Ask open ended questions (these cannot be answered with yes or no) to gain more understanding. There are some great tools available to facilitate meaningful dialog using open-ended questions. Furthermore, if you  truly can’t talk without arguing  find a marriage counselor to help you with this.

Bids for Connection

Couples can also learn to make and recognize bids for connection. Sometimes a bid for connection is as simple as, “I am going to grab a cup of coffee, would you like me to bring you one?” Or they can be more intimate. Dr. John Gottman explains:

A bid is any attempt from one partner to another for attention, affirmation, affection, or any other positive connection. Bids show up in simple ways, a smile or wink, and more complex ways, like a request for advice or help. In general, women make more bids than men, but in the healthiest relationships, both partners are comfortable making all kinds of bids.

When a bid is made each person has a choice:

  • Turn Towards
  • Turn Away
  • Turn Against

to either accept that bid to connect, dismiss it entirely or to turn against.  This is referred to as Turning Towards or Turning Away . I often share with couples that timing is important when making a bid so if you recognize that your husband/wife/or partner is making a bid for connection and you can’t connect right at that moment be sure to ask for a rain check.  Drs John and Julie Gottman of the Gottman Institute discovered in their research that couples who are resilient have 5 positives for every negative in their relationship.


J.Ilana Bradford
Building Resilient Couple Relationships, One Couple At A Time

One thought on “Creating Resiliency in Your Marriage or Committed Relationship”

  1. Kim Canich says:

    Yes! Daily connection and communication, even and especially when you’re both busy and short on time, is key. You have to make each other a priority, edify each other. Thank you for the wise words!

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J.ilana Bradford, MA, LMFT intern, NCC

Oregon Board of Licensed Professional
Counselors & Therapists R3341

Westlake Counseling
14523 Westlake Drive Suite 12
Lake Oswego, OR 97035

ilana@westlakecounselinglakeoswego.com
503-427-1875

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