One of my favorite games to play is Spades. In the game, each player decides how many tricks they will be able to take, or win. This decision is revealed to the other players in the form of a bid. Every player must make a bid. What’s a bid? Generally speaking, a bid is an offer. People at auctions bid on items they want to purchase.
In mine and your marriages bids are made for connection everyday. Dr. John Gottman, a marriage researcher, uses the term “bid” to describe our attempts for connection. Simply put, a bid for connection is any attempt by a spouse to try to gain the attention, affirmation, or affection of their spouse. Here’s how to improve your marriage in the easiest way possible.
Bids for connection take many forms. It could be a smile or a hug. It could be a text message asking for help in the middle of the day. We might make a bid for connection because we want our spouse to pay attention to us, help us, show interest in us, answer our questions, talk with us, be affectionate, or to join us in an adventure.
Turning toward each other.
Dr. John Gottman conducted a study with newlyweds, then followed up with them six years later. Many of the couples remained together. Many divorced. The couples that stayed married were much better at one thing: they turned toward their spouse when a bid for connection was given.
At the six-year follow-up, couples that stayed married turned towards one another 86 percent of the time. Couples that divorced averaged only 33 percent of the time.
The challenge in marriage is for us to turn toward our spouse, in acts of grace, instead of away from our spouse. How do we do this? By paying attention. Pay attention to Christ and paying attention to our spouse. Here are some examples of bids for emotional connection:
1. Pay attention to what I say. From, “How do I look?” to “Did you see that squirrel?” Well, how you answer the question, “How do I look?” may be the end of marriage if answered incorrectly!
2. Respond to simple requests. From “Can you take the dog fora. walk?” to “While you’re up, please grab the ketchup.”
3. Show interest. “Do you like that paint color?” There is a test here. To not answer is a fail.
These examples are just a few of the many that Gottman has provided in his work. Check out his article called turn towards instead of away for more examples.
We need grace.
Hebrews 4:16 encourages, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Ultimately, every bid for connection someone offers you is a response to a need. May we draw near to Christ and His grace to be able to respond to our spouse’s bids for connection with grace.
Grace Marriage Mission
Discuss this idea of “bids of connection” with your spouse. Ask: Are we in the 33 percent or the 86 percent of married couples?