One of the foremost masters of research in couples relationships, Dr. Gottman, writes that the #1 trait women want in a partner/spouse is…..
Really? All these years asking the question, and that is the best answer?
Simple as it may sound, trustworthiness develops from a profound understanding what a women needs in a relationship, and knowing how to teach a partner to meet her needs. (Meeting your partners needs is the top predicting factor for lasting committed relationships). Trustworthiness is really the result of repeated instances where a women sees she can trust her partner. According to Gottman, this trust is built through emotional connection, which is created via “attunement.” Attunement is essentially being dialed into what she is saying or feeling. Not faking it. Men and woman can both tell when someone is faking it, and neither gender feels a sense of trust toward someone who fakes it.
ATTUNEment is actually an acronym…
Attend- to what she is saying or wants to do via undivided attention
Turn Toward- physically, turn to look at your partner, with eye contact when she is talking.
Understand- by asking questions about what she is saying, not offering solutions. (I admit all men, including me, have fallen prey to this automatic temptation). Know that if she wanted someone to fix her problems, she would call a handyman! A woman shares with you when she wants you to simply show that you are attempting to understand what she is saying and feeling.
Non-defensively Listen- If she is saying something that makes you feel attacked, in the wrong, or want to interrupt or respond to what she said, pause before getting defensive. Remind yourself that what she is saying may not be the “true facts,” but they are her perception of reality, and to her they are her feelings and they feel like the true facts.” I once heard you’re given two ears and one mouth for a reason, so that in relationships you can listen twice as much as you speak. This step is a key part and perhaps the most challenging.
Empathy- Understanding is intellectual activity; empathizing means you let her know you value how she feels and that it makes sense for her to feel this way. Try to step into her situation and see how you would feel if whatever is bother her happened to you. It does not mean you agree with her, think she’s right, or you’re giving in, it simply means you’re giving credence to what she’s feeling and saying, that you could understand why she feels that way, and you might feel the same if you had the same experience or emotion.
It takes practice, and it takes effort to not jump in and correct her. But know that if you can do all steps of attunement, you’ll earn her trust and the incredible benefits that come with it! It can be truly challenging in the short term, and it will always be worth it if you want a lasting, passionate relationship together!
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