Attunement in adult relationships is the desire and ability to understand and respect your partner’s inner world.
Attunement builds (and can rebuild) trust. Consider ATTUNE as an acronym:
How can you practice attunement to build a greater understanding and respect for your partner’s inner world? Every individual is a complex and unique galaxy unto themselves. You could know someone a lifetime and only be attuned to one small piece of their inner world.
What do you assume you know about your partner that you might be wrong about? What deserves more exploration? What does your partner assume about you that might need clarification?
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When you’ve been together a long time, being polite is likely the last thing you think about when you speak to each other. After all, isn’t one of the joys of being in a relationship that you can relax and be comfortable with your partner? No need to be so stuffy about manners, right? Think about it again.
Politeness is a way we show respect to people. It helps our intentions sound pleasant and considerate to another person. So, along that thinking, manners can look a lot like love.
Do you remember to say thank you to your partner when they do something? Even if it’s something they always do or are expected to do like paying a bill on time, show your appreciation by saying thanks. Add “please” when you ask for things. You can also show your partner that you see them when you greet them as they come home or when they’ve been in another room for a long time. It’s a simple gesture that says, “I notice when you’re not around, and I like it when you are.”
So, mind your manners. A little “please” and “thank you” goes a long way to show the one you love how much you care.
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The Relationship Minute is from The Gottman Institute. You can sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.