Without a doubt, our 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 you and your partner have dinner together and talk about your days rather than watch TV in silence. Or how you might tenderly touch each other as you 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.
In relationships people offer what Dr. John Gottman calls a “bid” for each other’s attention, affection, or support. This can be as insignificant as “please cut the carrots” to something as significant as helping a partner deal with the struggles of an aging parent.
In these moments, we have a choice to turn towards our partner or away from them. If we turn towards our partner, we build trust, emotional connection, and a passionate sex life.
As loopy as it may sound, the passion of romance is enhanced in the supermarket. In the seemingly unrelated relationship question, “do we need milk?” The reply, “I can’t remember. I’ll grab some just in case,” makes a world of difference rather than apathetically shrugging your shoulders.
Dr. John Gottman discovered that couples who divorced an average of 6 years after their wedding turned toward each other 33% of the time in his lab, while the couples who were together after 6 years turned toward each other 86% of the time. That’s a big difference.
Every time you and your partner turn towards each other, you make a deposit into what Dr. John Gottman calls the Emotional Bank Account. Every connected moment in your relationship builds up a savings of love that can be used during hard times.
If a couple has more positive deposits than negative, they are less likely to distrust each other during hard times. But if their Emotional Bank Account is in debt of disconnection, then trust and connection can erode away.