Couples Homework (2)

1) Fostering Loving Attachment

What fosters loving attachment?

If you are a couple under stress it is easy to move away or forget to continue:

  • Listening (with full attention, nodding, asking questions so the speaker knows they are fully heard).
  • Sharing (Feelings, snippets of your day or chores).
  • Generosity (it can be with your time, doing a job for your partner that he or she does not like, or a small gift).
  • Body Contact (a cuddle on the sofa, stroking your partners back or being more intimate).
  • Supporting (Watching your partner play sport, giving a compliment, babysitting while the other gets time away from the children to do something).
  • A shared sense of humor (private jokes, messing about and general silliness are great ways of bonding).
  • The Extra Mile (We appreciate most the gestures that are really tough like humouring a difficult relative or agreeing to that joint bank account).

Loving Attachment Exercise:

Look back to everything that happened yesterday between you and your partner.

  • Start from when you woke up and make a list. Jot down on a piece of paper. A typical list could be: breakfast, got ready for work, kissed goodbye, phoned from work, ate evening meal together, talked about day. At the weekend it may be longer.
  • Now look at the list and ask what if anything fostered your loving attachment?
  • Give yourself a tick beside anything positive on the list, but be certain the event has strengthened your bond. Eg a phone call to chat could be included but not one to ask your partner to run an errand.
  • Are there any items that could be changed so that tomorrow they could be transformed into fostering loving attachment? For example offering to massage her feet while you watch tv. Or leaving some freshly squeezed OJ for when he gets up.
  • Could you add in an act of kindness tomorrow like running a bath or sending a loving text message.
  • Is there anything on the list that you wish you had not done? Often we forget our less loving acts, but write them down too. This will help you to be more attentive tomorrow.

2) Eye Contact

Attract your partners attention either by calling his or her name or by putting your hand on their shoulder. The shoulder touch is a gentle way to bring his or her head away from their phone or book to look at you.

Wait until you have their full attention and he or she is looking into your eyes and wondering what is happening.

Look into their eyes. It does not need to be for long, just long enough, a second, so you really see each other.

Give them a kiss on the lips.

Your partner may be suspicious and ask something like: “What do you want?”

Just smile and walk away.

Repeat this or something similar once every day.

Feelings are reciprocated

When we are upset with someone we treat them less well. The other person picks up on this and responds in the same way. Then the relationship ends up in a negative circle. Why not lead by example and keep doing nice things instead? Your partner might not respond in kind straightaway but before long they will feel better and respond better. You can create a positive circle.

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