4 Ways You Respond When Your Partner Says Something

Ways You Respond When Your Partner Says Something

Bids come frequently, and couples that manage them in a reasonable or encouraging way fare much better than those who don’t.

Gottman followed couples for six years after they got married and found those who had divorced responded positively after a bid only 33% of the time. The couples that were still together had responded positively about 86% of the time. This is a big difference, and it has been found in many kinds of couples: rich, poor, gay, and straight, and is key in predicting which relationships will survive.

How often do you respond positively to your partner’s bids?

The healthiest couples are encouraging or constructive nine times out of ten. Struggling couples turn toward each other only about a third of the time. What is your typical response? How does your partner invite you in? Do they ask for attention, act playful, or want help? All of these are opportunities to show interest and support and make connections


Shelly Gable, Gian Gonzaga, & Amy Strachman, "Will you be there for me when things go right? Supportive responses to positive event disclosures," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 91, no. 5 (2006): 904.

John Gottman and Nan Silver, What Makes Love Last?: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal (Simon and Schuster, 2012).

Written By: Jason Whiting
Originally appeared on: Psychology Today
Republished with permission
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4 Ways You Respond When Your Partner Says Something
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Jason B. Whiting, PhD

Jason Whiting researches the love lives of couples, focusing on how deception and conflict take root in even the best of relationships. His goal is to apply social science to help couples to be more loving and authentic. His book, Love Me True, is an entertaining and informative look at how partners can be more honest with themselves and each other. Dr. Whiting received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He has won awards for his research and writing and is currently a professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University.View Author posts