top of page
  • Infinite Therapeutic Srvs

Ways you can INVEST in your relationship bypassing “gifts”

couple walking, sunset

In the dance of love and connection, every interaction between partners serves as an opportunity to deepen intimacy and strengthen the bond. Dr. John Gottman, a renowned psychologist and relationship expert, introduced the concept of bids for love and connection as a fundamental aspect of successful relationships. Understanding and responding to these bids can significantly enhance the quality of your relationship.  What better way for you to convey to your partner your commitment for growth in your relationship than to invest in mastering multiple levels of communication.  And remember, no communication IS communication.  Let’s delve into Gottman’s theory and explore practical examples of how to implement BIDS FOR CONNECTION in your own relationship.


You might be asking yourself “What are Bids for Love and Connection”?


Let’s think of a bid as ‘something you put out there” and not necessarily “the highest offer”.  Gottman defines bids as “any attempt from one partner to another for attention, affirmation, affection, or any other positive connection.” These bids can be verbal or non-verbal and serve as invitations for emotional connection and intimacy. How partners respond to each other’s bids plays a crucial role in determining the strength and longevity of their relationship.  Let’s have a try!


Examples of Bids and Responses:


            1.         Verbal Bids:

            •          Bid: “How was your day?”

            •          Response A: “It was okay.”

            •          Response B: “It was good. I had an interesting conversation with a colleague about our upcoming project. How was yours?”

            •          Analysis: Response B acknowledges the bid, engages with the partner’s question, and invites further conversation, fostering connection.


            2.         Non-Verbal Bids:

            •          Bid: A subtle touch on the arm while watching TV together.

            •          Response A: No response or acknowledgment.

            •          Response B: The partner reciprocates with a smile and leans into the touch.

            •          Analysis: Response B acknowledges and reciprocates the non-verbal bid, reinforcing physical closeness and intimacy-creates more of these moments


couple in nature

So how can you implement Gottman’s Bids for Love and Connection?


            1.         Be Attentive: Pay attention to your partner’s bids, whether they are direct questions, gestures, or expressions of affection.

            2.         Respond Positively: Respond to bids with enthusiasm, affirmation, or genuine interest, even if you’re busy or preoccupied.

            3.         Engage Fully: When your partner makes a bid, take the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversation or affectionate gestures.

            4.         Initiate Bids: Don’t wait for your partner to make all the bids. Initiate your own bids for connection, showing your partner that you value and prioritize your relationship.

            5.         Practice Empathy: Understand your partner’s emotional needs and respond to bids in a way that validates their feelings and strengthens your emotional connection.

Still not sure how to do the whole ‘bid’ thing?  You’re not alone.  Oftentimes we forget to take it ‘back to the basics’.  You may already be offering bids without even being aware!  Here are some examples to help-along with where they more or less fall in the hierarchy…

1. A bid for attention 

2. Simple requests (e.g., "While you're up, get me the butter.") 

3. A bid for help, teamwork, or coordination (e.g., help with an errand)

4. A bid for the partner's interest or active excitement 

5. Questions or requests for information 

6. A bid for conversation 

7. A bid for just venting 

8. Sharing events of the day 

9. Stress reduction 

10. Problem solving 

11. Humor, laughter 12. Affection 

13. Playfulness 

14. Adventure 

15. Exploration 

16. Learning something together 

17. Intimate conversation 

18. Emotional support 

19. Understanding, compassion, empathy 

20. Sexual intimacy 


The Impact of Bids on Relationship Quality:


Research by Gottman and his colleagues has shown that couples who consistently respond to each other’s bids with positivity and engagement have stronger, more satisfying relationships.  By understanding, acknowledging, and responding to each other’s bids, couples can lay the foundation for a resilient and fulfilling partnership built on love, empathy, and emotional connection. It can also cultivate a deeper sense of intimacy, trust, and mutual support.


Gottman’s concept of bids for love and connection provides valuable insights into the dynamics of successful relationships. So, the next time your partner makes a bid, seize the opportunity to strengthen your bond and nurture your love for each other!

Are you still hungry for more? For more tips, please check out our other tips here You can always find us at 954-903-1676 for counseling services.


bottom of page