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What's a Bid for Connection and Why You Need to Know


 Mandy [00:00:01] Welcome to another Art of Relationships podcast. We are grateful for listeners like you. Let's get right into it.

Chris [00:00:12] Well, it's really fun to, uh, do these podcast Lis. Uh, I think anything about relationships, that's what we're about here at Biola University, at the Center for Marriage and Relationships. And thank you, Mandy, for the introduction. And you know, Lisa, I think when we start talking about what makes people, um, uh, happy in relationships, right? What what gives us pleasure, what gives us joy, and then what takes away from it? You know, we can come up with the big things, right? Uh, you know, uh, the thing that will make you most happy, you know, you start the foundation of who Jesus was, of what your relationship is with Christ. Then you start talking about this great, you know, monument that we're building. You know, it's a legacy for the future and what makes for happy marriages. Well, there's a lot of a lot of research out there about what makes for happy marriages. And then there's a lot about what makes marriages and relationships sour or go south. And I think, Lisa, whenever we start talking about this, one of the things that comes to mind is, you know, we can say, um, what's the purpose of marriage? Right? What is the purpose of a relationship? And a lot of people say, oh, to bring me pleasure, to bring me joy. Me pleasure. Yeah. Make me happy. And so when relationships no law, a relationship no longer makes me happy, we would say then, well, um, maybe this wasn't the right thing. Maybe I made a mistake. Yeah. Um, and I think one of the things Lisa we should talk about in this podcast is, um, we know the big things, right? Um, while, let's say having an affair may be the final straw, it was probably preceded by a lot of messed up things. And let's just say there's abuse. Well, there are a lot of things that are bad that can lead to the dissolving of a relationship. The ending. You get treated badly. You see, the other person isn't kind or whatever. But Lisa, there's one that's really subtle, and I think that's one a lot of people miss and they begin to live their lives in, in their relationships without really paying, uh, paying attention to this very thing. And it is the word attention. Okay. We all want in relationship. What do we want? We want to be known and we want to be understood. Right? I want to feel known. I want to feel loved. I want to feel like this other person accepts me for who I am. And so we start off on these great relationships and they all start the same way, right? Most of them. I really liked hanging around with this person. They're really my friend. Why are they your friend? Oh, because they like what I like. And really what they're saying is we have a friendship. We like each other's life. That what they do and they pay attention to me. They notice me. What does it mean, then to be noticed? So let me ask you this question, Lisa, and let's start here. When you're in a relationship with somebody, whether it's marriage or dating or engagement. A big key to happiness is the feeling of being noticed. To being known. What happens when we become too familiar? With the other person that we began to not pay as much attention to them. Right. It is. It's probably one of the most powerful yet very subtle problems that enters into a relationship. We begin to feel like something's off that other person doesn't get me. Um. Uh, we no longer kind of are connecting like we used to. My life is starting to get in the way, and they almost can start to say I'm not feeling as much know. It's almost like they're saying I'm not being noticed as much or paid attention to as much. What do you think?

Alisa [00:04:19] Um. I think you're exactly right. And I think think back to when you were first dating. Right? When you're first dating, when you're first getting to know. Uh, even when you're when you're, uh, quote unquote dating your friends, you know, you're just getting to know each other. You're talking, you're visiting. Um, and there's a mutuality in that, right? There's a there's the give and take. There's the I'm speaking and you're really listening. You're getting it. You're understanding. We're on the same page. Then I'm listening to you. I really get you. We're definitely on the same page. We have the same values, the same. But the the only way that we know we have the same values, that we have the same shared sense of humor, the same mission or purpose in life is by paying attention. We study each other. We listen, we look. I'm watching to hear what's important to you, where? What's got your heart and your passion. What do you find funny? What are you worried about or are you excited about? What's your what's your, you know, big project at work or something that you're thinking about? Who are you having a big problem with at home or are in your extended family or whatever? That's that takes paying attention to know the answer to that, right?

Chris [00:05:36] I love what you did there to Lisa's is you modeled what it means to ask questions and want to hear the answers from the other person. I remember, you know, when we are first starting to date, we could spend hours on the phone. And it was it wasn't like I was, you know, telling you all the great things about me, though that did happen with. But it was mostly you asking questions, you know, about me. And then I would respond, and then I would ask you a question about the same thing, not just its simple things. What's your favorite movie? What kind of music are you enjoying this time? You know, how's your studies going or whatever? But it was also bigger things like, well you know, how's your how's your sister doing? Or what's happening with your brothers or how was life, you know, feeling right now that God is part of it. And then we would just talk and talk and.

Alisa [00:06:31] Talk or even, you know, what is is because we were long distance while we were dating and until the day we got married. So even when we were on the phone and even first married, I, I could tell when something was going on, when you weren't doing well because there would be something in your voice. There would be like a little micro expression that might go across your face very quickly that I could pick up on that. It's be like, oh, hey, hey, wait a second. Something's wrong. What's going on with you today? You doing okay? And and that takes paying attention.

Chris [00:07:07] Another way of looking at it. We use the word become a student of your partner. And you don't have to tell anybody to be a student of the of their friend. Right. Uh, if you're dating. Seriously, um, you simply want to know the other person, and you want to be known, and it feels mutual. So we become these students of each other. It's like we, like, you could look at me and say something is off. Or when you said that, your words said that this was okay, but your body language and your emotion on your face seemed like there was a little bit of tension or struggle there. And by the way, it's one of the ways that we become good students as we pick up on the disparity between a person's words and their emotions on their faces. Right. If you come up to me and as you have in the past, let's say, and said, or even today, how's it going? Or how did that meeting go? I say, oh, you know, it was fine. And you're like, well, uh, that's it. Oh, really? Just it was just fine. Yeah. You know, it was okay. It was fine. Oh. But then you would begin to look at and study me, knowing me, knowing what it was like. So here's what here's what you hear how you are a student of me. You knew that I didn't get very excited about, you know, very big, scary things. You know, like, you know, we have a little accident or, you know, a tire breaks and the. Middle of the freeway or we get, you know, locked out of some places, like, okay, well, let's just figure out how to take care of this. It's not a big deal. And then you learned that when something big happened, I remember we were first married, Lisa. And you go like this, you said, oh, Chris, um, we I have there's a phone call from a university that wants to offer us a position, and I'll sit on the other line. And so you were on the other line, and this university actually was Biola at this case, was offering me a position. Do you remember that?

Alisa [00:09:08] Oh, yes. I remember us standing in our little kitchen in our little rental house in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Chris [00:09:14] Yeah. And they they said the magic words. We'd like to offer you a position as a professor. And I remember seeing you. I tried not to look at you, but you were bouncing and jumping and so excited on the other line. You weren't supposed to be on that other line, apparently, but you were there, I don't know. And I was just I remember saying, oh, okay, well, sounds great. I'll think about it and pray about it. Appreciate the phone call. And, um, I'll get back to you. And we hung up and you're like, oh my gosh. You're like giant, like Tigger, right? From Winnie the Pooh. You're bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, you know? And I was more like, uh, Winnie the Pooh going, okay, well, yeah, that sounds pretty good. And you go, are you excited?

Alisa [00:09:54] Are you excited?

Chris [00:09:55] And those are your your first question. Aren't you excited? I'm like, yeah, I'm pretty excited. This is me. And you go, that's you excited. Like, yeah, it's pretty exciting. Do you want to do it like, I don't know, let's pray about it. It sounds pretty fun. Well, what I what I think at least we took away from that was you big. You were already a student, but you recognized my reactions and your reactions, and I saw yours. And so therefore, fast forward three more or five. Yeah. Let's say six years later, we are about to have our first child and that baby pops out and you were excited, ecstatic. The nurses get excited and ecstatic. And I sit there and go, whoa, pretty cool. All right. He's got five fingers on that hand and five on. Then he's got five toes on there. You know what? That's great. I'm he's a healthy baby. My wife is healthy. And well life is good. And you knew that I wasn't going to be one of those men. That that is just sad.

Alisa [00:10:57] As we say, crying and smiling. And so it's not going to be.

Chris [00:11:01] You know, it wasn't okay. Now, all of that meant all of that means in in relationships and marriages and things like that, we get to know each other and we, we, we crave attention. Attention is this very powerful, uh, thing that we have been given. Attention is almost like it's a gift given to each of us, that we get to share that gift with another person by paying attention to them. And the problem is that attention can be divided. Right? Uh, I can do two things at once. I can divide my attention so it can be cut. But what research is showing is that when people divide their attention and believe they can do two things at once, actually, they're switching back and forth. So I'm paying attention to you in the morning and you're telling me this great story. And this was just last week. You are going on and on about this great thing that was happening and, oh, this one that we got to do this and then we have to do this later on. And I'm telling you like 8:00, uh, I'm barely awake. And I remember just looking at you like, wow, her lips are moving a lot right now.

Alisa [00:12:17] This is what you do.

Chris [00:12:19] She is talking a lot and she's very excited. But I can't even process all this because I just need a cup of coffee to wake up. Right. And, and, and I remember saying, at least I tell you what, that sounds really important. Can we talk about it in about 30 minutes? And you said, oh yeah, give me a minute. Okay. I'll come back. Okay. Here's I think people recognize that we all can divide attention. We need attention. We desire. Children desire it. Go look up the still face videos. When a parent no longer gives a child attention, that child picks up on it in three, two, one. That's how fast when the parent shows them a face devoid of emotion, when before that they were interacting and smiling and happy. Okay, what does that mean for relationships? Lisa. Attention is one of the first things that gets divided. I believe, we believe. And then it also says. It's one of the few things that people point to. That says, I'm starting to not feel connected to my spouse this much. I don't think about the word connected. It means we are together, connected, right face to face. We are here. We're engaged with each other.

Alisa [00:13:44] Or emotionally connecting. I'm hearing and I'm feeling deeply what's going on with you? I'm paying attention. I'm responding. And I think you make a great point, is that one of the problems is that our attention gets divided. And I think the second problem that we don't even really talk about that much, is that often times we're putting out there, hey, I'm I'm asking for your attention. And our partner misses it, or our partner is asking for our attention and we miss it. We just didn't even read it. It wasn't on our radar. And so we don't respond or. Not that we don't respond, but that we respond negatively. That can be a problem, but most of the time it's that we're not even aware that they're putting it out there that, hey, I'm trying to engage with you. I'm trying to connect with you. I want to, uh, you know, not just talk with you, but like when I say, hey, do I look okay in this outfit? I'm asking for your attention. But what I really mean to with that, that that requester is John Gottman, the, uh, leading marital researcher. He calls it a bid for attention. Right. What I mean when I say, hey, do I look okay in this outfit? What I what I'm really saying is, do you still find me attractive? Am I still beautiful to you? Do you. Do you still find me desirable? And so it's not only the asking for your attention, but it's the deeper meaning for what we're asking for when we're asking for that attention.

Chris [00:15:20] Yeah, and we certainly know that not every single time somebody asks, hey, how does this look? Or are they, you know, uh, seeking that out, let's say your, your, you know, attention that at a deep level. But for the most part, it's these the things that we lose are those, those small moments when a not when our, our significant other. Says something. It could be small, like, hey, did you see the sunset today? Or wow, check out that. Or hey, did you see that? You know, did you hear about this? What? What we're doing is what we're asking the other person to question. Yeah, it's not so much. I don't really care. You know, if we analyze the sunset and go, oh, yeah, well, it wasn't as pretty tonight. It was last night. And, you know, notice the clouds are different this time. It's like.

Alisa [00:16:14] Or it's okay.
Chris [00:16:16] Yeah. Really? What. Yeah. Alisa [00:16:17] What is.
Chris [00:16:17] Most of.
Alisa [00:16:18] Macular.

Chris [00:16:19] I think Lisa what a lot. What you're saying is a lot of these. Uh, desires for or need for attention or bids are simply a way to maintain that connection. I'm here. I noticed this, but I mostly want you to connect with me. Right? And when we start to miss these everyday, ordinary moments and don't pay attention, that's when our relationship starts to show the fraying at a foundational level that most couples miss. That's right. They start to. It's almost like this. I what do I if I take somebody for granted, it means I no longer. I just assume you'll be there. I take, you know, you're always going to be there. You pick me up on time, we go to dinner, I take you for granted, which means it means to take somebody for granted. Means I'm no longer expressing or needing to give you attention. Because I know you're always going to be there. I take it for.

Alisa [00:17:21] Granted whether or not I give it to you, you'll still be.

Chris [00:17:23] There. Yeah. And so the opposite of something like taking somebody for granted would be gratitude. And gratitude is recognizing the worth of another person. Right? And it's almost as if we begin to wrap this present of attention and never give it to the other person. It's like giving. It's like holding on. I really like you. But when I take you for granted, I withhold that. You know, at least when it comes to money. Um, I think all of us want unity with our spouse here in the topic of money, we want, you know, to have confidence approaching a topic in clarity, because money's a big issue with couples.

Alisa [00:18:03] Yeah. It's a it's one of the top six that couples have conflict over. Right. So we are really thankful for the support of Colby Gilmore of Blue Trust and Colby, along with other Blue Trust certified wealth strategist. He offers a personalized, biblically centered wealth planning experience as well as investment management services. And what I really love about him is it is for people of all income levels.

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Alisa [00:18:47] We we really have.

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Alisa [00:19:03] Yeah. So you can learn more about rental blue trust at Ron, or just contact Colby Gilmore at Colby Gilmore at Run

Chris [00:19:14] Yeah. You'll be glad you did. And so, Lisa, let's let's just. Cover this last point, and that is when you brought up the word, this idea of bids for connection. Oh, tell us what that means.

Alisa [00:19:33] Well, really, I think well, we gave some examples of some verbal bids for connection.

Chris [00:19:38] But give me some examples. Yeah.

Alisa [00:19:39] So it could be hey did you see this funny video today. Like I'm always coming in and show it. Oh did you did you see that funny video on Instagram? It was hysterical. And you know I'll I truly usually interrupting something that you're doing to come and show you that you respond positively to me. Usually that bid for for your attention and you stop what you're doing and you watch it with me. And maybe you've seen it before, but you don't go, oh, yeah, I've seen it before. And then shut me down. You laugh with me, you look at it and then you're like, oh yeah, I think I saw that, but isn't that so funny? And like, oh yeah. And that right there was a was a bid for your attention that that attempt to connect with you and you responded positively. So it can be verbal. It could be nonverbal, a non-verbal one would be holding, you know, reaching over to hold your hand in the car. It might be putting my arm around you, uh, you know, while we're sitting on the bench or something or just, um, giving you a wink across the room. So it's those ways that we connect.

Chris [00:20:46] Yeah, yeah. Uh, and so you get a, you know, an example of when I did this. Well, but honestly, it wasn't until it I began, you know, sensing, Lisa, that you and I were going through a dry patch. There wasn't this connection. It was hard. It was soon after that that we learned together about the power of what it means to be known, to be a paid attention to and the craving. We all have to feel heard, understood, and noticed well. So, you know, there were times, yeah, you would come in and clearly do one of the verbal or non-verbal bids for attention. And I would just I just what flew over my head, I just didn't pay attention to it and I.

Alisa [00:21:33] Think just missed it. Chris [00:21:34] Yeah. We just. Alisa [00:21:35] Did.

Chris [00:21:36] Yeah. Yeah. And so Lisa, one of the signs for a couple that needs uh, that's a negative sign on their relationship is if they start noticing and they need to go back. If you're listening to this, go think through. Am I watching out for these bids, Lisa, that you just shared? How am I or do I just say, oh yeah, I've already seen that and shut you off? Or, you know, there were times in which you'd come in and say something, you know, fun about whatever. And I would just go, oh yeah, and go back to what I'm doing. I think couples could evaluate the strength of their relationship simply on the number of bids that they see and recognize. Lisa, what begins to happen and what happens in relationships that start to disconnect when when it's off. What happens to the bids?

Alisa [00:22:33] Yeah. Well, think about the tennis analogy, right. When when you look, when you play tennis somebody.

Chris [00:22:40] Or today pickleball. Right.
Alisa [00:22:42] Pickleball okay. Yeah I don't know. Do you serve the ball. Chris [00:22:44] Yeah. You do.

Alisa [00:22:45] Okay. Sorry. Yeah I'm not a pickleballer. But anyway so you serve the ball and then the person across the net hits it back to you. Right. And if it's a really good game, then you're volleying, going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Well, that's the way a healthy relationship is. I put that bid for your attention out there and, um, like walking in the room and I see you over there and I go, hey, buddy. And I just even acknowledge that you're in there. And that's put in a bid out there. Now, you you have two choices at that point, right? You can hit the ball back and then we keep going and that's awesome. But if I keep serving the ball, serving the ball, serving the ball and you never respond well, after a little while I'm going to quit serving the ball. I'm just going to quit trying because it's not getting us anywhere. And so really, what Gottman research shows is that really happy, stable couples pick up on those bids and respond positively back to them 86% of the time, 86% of the time, happy couples do. And so what we see is that the other, um, the other part of those percentages that are not doing well, that are not connected, they're not happy, they're not stable, they're really striving in their relationship, is that when that partner, you know, serves the ball for attention over the net, they can the an unhappy, unhealthy couple responds in two ways. Uh, instead of responding positively. Right. Turning towards that bed, hitting it that they can either turn away from it, which means they just ignore it, like they just don't respond or they turn against it, which means they respond actually negatively. So it could be something like, um, oh, hey, uh, I brought you your cup of coffee. You know, in the morning. That would be a bid for your attention, you know, to bring that. And if you were to to just ignore it and just. Oh, yeah, just sit it there like. Hmm. Oh, okay. I kind of thought you might say, oh, thank you. Or I was hoping you would say, gosh, you know, you know, just how I, I like my coffee and you're always really thoughtful. Well, that's a turning towards. Right. But the turning, uh, turning away is just ignoring it. Not even acknowledging or turning against would be perhaps being critical. Why do you put so much cream in at this time? I don't even like that kind of cream. You know what kind of cream I like or I don't like? You know why? Why do you do it? It's not even hot. So that's. That's when trouble, uh, couples get into trouble is instead of turning toward when they tend to turn away and ignore it or turn against and respond negatively, those are the couples and the relationships that are really going to suffer.

Chris [00:25:47] Uh, at least you you brought up the stats and I don't know if you remember it, but you just said that in happy relationships, happy marriages, couples that are doing well, they respond positively. Eight out of 7 to 8 out of bids out of ten. Is that right? What about in relationships? If they're not doing well, it seems like there's 1 to 2 out of ten is what I remember. Is that right?

Alisa [00:26:14] That's exactly right.

Chris [00:26:15] So yeah. So let's say there's ten bids that a person gives and you only pick up on your. Partners or your spouses bid, you know, 1 or 2 out of ten times. Positively. Well, pretty soon you're going to get what you get with what you talked about. Right. Yeah. Yeah. So what does it mean then? Uh, to, you know, to take this research and apply it?

Alisa [00:26:39] Well, yeah. Before we go there, I'll, I'll give this one example. We were just oh, I think we were in Alabama doing a conference there just a couple of weeks ago. And we talked about this concept of, of bids for connection or just paying attention in that way, and in the idea of turning towards turning away or turning against. And it was really interesting because during one of the breaks, this couple came up to me and they said, you know, this was really eye opening and it was the husband talking. He said, I he said, you know, we've been married 33 years. We're we're pretty happy. And I'm thinking, wow, we've got this thing down. And then I recognized something. He said, my wife loves to read these certain kind of books or whatever, and she will oftentimes come in and she'll want to describe the book like, oh, you'll never guess what's happening in the story. It's so great. And she starts describing the characters and the plot and everything to me. And my response is usually, and his wife stepped in. She goes, honey, I don't care what's going on in your book. And he started laughing. He goes, yeah, I just go, honey, I, you know, I just don't care. I don't know, don't bother me with these details about your book. I know you love it. That's great, but I just really don't care. He said, oh my gosh, I just realized that that was an even turning away that was turning against her bid to connect with me. And he said that was eye opening for him. And so, you know, the but the thing about it is that it's these little, small, ordinary, um, instances of trying to connect with each other. And John Gottman calls them the frontal, the fundamental basis for emotional connection in our relationships. And so if you find that your relationship is not doing well and that you maybe you're in that that place of struggling in your relationship, this could be a really great area to pay attention to in how you yourself are doing. Am I paying attention and picking up when my partner's trying to connect with me? Maybe it's even your kids. Maybe it's mommy, can I can we sit and snuggle for a little while? And it's like, you know what? You go take care of your homework, go brush your teeth. I'm going to empty the dishwasher. And then we can cuddle and, you know, and then maybe it's too late by the time it's bedtime and you end up going to bed. But what your child was actually saying as, mommy, will you connect with me? Mom, I need I want your attention. I just need to be with you. And my response to that was, you know what? I don't have time for you. So it's really important to recognize those those bids. Because any time you turn away or against your partner, they're going to feel rejected and unimportant. And that amazing.

Chris [00:29:37] Yeah. You know, it's funny, Lisa, sometimes, uh, bids can go wrong. I don't want to take this too far, but sometimes they we can do it the wrong way. Like, I can poke you, right? You know, like, remember, I know there's things now, you know, I don't know how you do it with texting or how you do it. You you either like, that's a, you know, that's like saying, hey, your notice, your picture, your story I see you you like it. That's a people put a lot of things out there to say. Would you please pay attention? Don't people notice how many people like their, you know, their post or.

Alisa [00:30:14] Great point. Yeah.
Chris [00:30:15] And people you make a post and if nobody liked it, you're like, uh, am Iinvisible?
Alisa [00:30:21] You feel rejected.

Chris [00:30:22] You feel rejected. So. So we hit, we poke or we like or we send somebody attacks saying, hey, just thinking about you or whatever those are. You know, that's kind of the non-verbal or at least you have to be in the same room all the time, right? It could be just a text. I think when it could go bad is if you have the wrong, uh, you know, approach, let's say to a bit like, for example, at least, um, you don't you don't mind if I tickle you, you know, or message you, but you don't like it if it gets, you know, too much, too much. And yet, uh, what I had to learn was, oh, I thought I was just bidding and getting her attention, but we could do it in the negative the wrong way. You know, we can get their attention in a rude way or an inappropriate way.

Alisa [00:31:11] Okay. Good point.

Chris [00:31:13] So, bids for attention. This idea of needing to feel known and heard and understood as a human quality, a human need in all relationships, and the ways that we can increase our awareness of this is one. Pay attention. Ask yourself, am I missing these bits? Like that husband who said, you know my wife's books? Who cares what the story is? He recognized I am missing her bits and he said, I'm going to change this. In fact, he was he I think afterwards he goes, yeah, I think I might read, you know, the book of the first book or two just to see what she's talking about. And I and I guess at least at the end of the day, um, it's a great way to do a really quick evaluation of your relationship and your own, you know, approach to your partner's bids. What do you think?

Alisa [00:32:14] I think definitely so. Because really, when these when this kind of, um, responded to bids, when they get ignored enough and they, they, they kind of pile up. Well, they then your partner really begins to question whether or not you're going to ever be responsive. And then what's going to result is that those bids for each other's attention begin to decline. And that's when we begin to feel disconnected. That's when we sense that, hey, uh, you know, we it this goes on long enough. We finally get to the point of, I feel like we're not in love anymore. I love you, but I'm not in love with you. That's where that comes from. And so it's missing those small, everyday, ordinary opportunities that that each other puts out there. And so I love that you said the first. One of the first ways to increase those bids is to pay attention to now and pay attention and know. And do you remember when we first, um, when we first learned this? Um, I remember being in it at a conference that someone was teaching a marriage and family therapist. This was decades ago when we learned about this. It was eye opening for me. And so when we first started learning and practicing and trying to pay attention to this concept, do you remember that you and I would sit there and whenever one of us made that that bid for each other's attention, we would say, hey, bid for attention, bid for attention. It's like reaching over in the car to hold your hand, bid for attention, bid for attention. But what it did is it served to remind us. Oh, well, I he's bidding, I'm bidding. We do need to pay attention to this.

Chris [00:34:02] And the word. You know it. If you want to know a little bit, that word bid just simply means. I think it's taken a lot from this idea. When you play cards right and you bid, you say, oh, well, what are you bidding in? Like the game of hearts, right? I bid X number of cards and that bid is saying, hey, I'm telling you what I have here. Right? And so that idea is we're letting the other person know we're still here. I think, um, one of the ways that this is now affecting relationships today, and this will take a whole nother podcast, but it's the impact of the ready availability of social media on our phones and our and therefore the the loss of my being able to pay attention to somebody else because I'm so engrossed in this phone and we always laugh, you know, you go to and I know it can be funny when you see couples at restaurants, you know, they're like, oh, well, they're so comfortable with each other. They're just sitting there on their phones, you know, the whole meal. And you look at them and almost everybody who sees that goes, oh my gosh, I don't ever want to do that. You're right. I don't want to be that person. Well, I sometimes, you know, you order this way nowadays. You're right. A lot of menus are now on apps and a lot of. But when you do that you also are opening up your phone. And you were, oh, wait, let me just check this message. So you and I things. Yeah. We have to always just look at each other and say, uh, let's just define how much the phone is going to be with us tonight or how little, and let's shut it off. And I think that could that could show you a priority in your relationship, is if social media posts and likes that you do are more important to you at that moment than the company of another person that you're with, right? Like, wait a minute, what am I doing?

Alisa [00:35:52] Yeah. And I think a second thing, not only to pay attention to, um, and to nan, to your partners and that they, they have a need for my attention. Right. Uh, and to pay attention, but to see each other's, uh, attempts to connect as an opportunity.

Chris [00:36:11] Not bids. Yes. To see another person's bids.

Alisa [00:36:13] As an opportunity to connect. It's like this is. Hey, this is this is a great opportunity for me to take advantage of, to respond positively. And I think one of the ways that we can for sure do that is when you come home at night, when you come home at night and you're walking in the door, that is your opportunity to connect, to bid for your partner's attention. And instead of immediately with the dog or immediately with the kids. But to do that with your husband, do that with your wife first and then your kids and then your dog, right?

Chris [00:36:53] Yeah, I think that's that's really good advice. Listen, if you're in a dating relationship, it's the same thing when you're with that person. They get your attention and you have to watch for that, you know? And and of course, there's times where you could study together and not be paying attention to each other. But that's a known rule, right? Okay. Tonight we're going to sit in the same room, but, you know, study or we're going to sit in the same room but watch different movies, whatever. That's, that's there's no problem with that. It's that pattern over time. So least um, let's go ahead and end it. Give us a summary that you have, uh, you know, just okay.

Alisa [00:37:28] So a summary would be, you know, pay attention to those small, ordinary, um, acts between your partner and yourself, your husband, your wife, your kids, your friends, I mean, and pay attention to when they're trying to connect with you. Recognize that your attention, your positive response is really important to to creating a healthy, stable relationship and and then turn towards that opportunity. And what do you think, Chris.

Chris [00:38:00] Yeah, I love it. Uh, we've given all of these already, you know, some great points. And so we listed the idea of watch out for distractions, right? Yeah. It's an opportunity to connect, to turn toward. And then if you miss one, begin to start all over again and apologize and say, oh, man, I've been messing up. I want to redo it.

Alisa [00:38:19] Yeah. So you don't always have to wait for those bids to happen either. Uh, spontaneously, you can actually make, um, intentional efforts at building those ways to connect with each other. And we call those rituals, uh, with, like, ritualistic greeting. So if when you leave, when you return, um, think about, um, you know, every morning we do certain things, like when you get up, we greet each other. I'm usually at before you, but the first thing we do, I hear you walking down the hall, and I set my, my, my Bible study that I'm usually working on. Set it aside. And I get up and we try to greet each other and we spend time hugging. Before we leave. We give a hug and a kiss. We? We touch base during the day. What was going on with your meeting? You know, there are times that we're going to miss it. But the point is, you have to be intentional. You have to pay attention. And we're going to talk more about that. Those rituals of connection, maybe on a on a podcast to follow in the next couple of weeks.

Chris [00:39:24] Yeah, let's do that. Because I think this whole idea is what a great gauge of your relationship. And if you've fallen short in this area, it's easy to start, redo and then think through what, why? Why have we gotten into this maybe stale, dry, disconnected period? And is it simply, am I able to make this small tweak and start paying attention? Wow, that could sure make for a much more positive relationship. So Liz, I love this topic. Thanks for all those great ways of saying here's ways to increase. You know, it's just the small things, right? It's just sometimes the little things so well as awesome. Let's talk again about some more of this. And like you said in a future episode.

Alisa [00:40:05] Don't forget to hit that like button. If you really enjoyed this episode, share it with one of your friends, somebody that you think, wow, so-and-so needs to hear this. If you if they were sitting next to you and you were going to elbow them, who would you send it to and send it off? But we just want to also say thank you to Biola University, the center for Marriage and Relationships, because they produce this podcast and sponsor it, and we're sure glad you do. So thanks. Have a.

Chris [00:40:33] Great. Yeah, thanks, Ashlee, for running that bad boy machine over there that keeps us on track.

Alisa [00:40:38] Thanks Ashlee. Chris [00:40:39] Alright, see you guys.

Mandy [00:40:44] Thanks for listening to the Art of relationships. This podcast is only made possible through generous donations from listeners just like you. If you like it and want to help keep the podcast going. Visit our website at and make a donation today.