Posts in the 'relationships' Category

Five for Friday: Slip into Something Sexy

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Let it be known: Team Broke-Ass fully believes in the power of lingerie. Like any solid foundation, good lingerie has the power to transform the way an outfit looks on you and how you carry yourself. And it feels damn sexy, to boot. You’ve likely thought about what you might wear on your wedding night or on your honeymoon, but what about all the sexy times during the engagement? Man, if there ever was a great way to blow off some steam, getting frisky with your partner is definitely one of them. Here are five gorgeous underthings to ramp up your sexy swagger.

Five for Friday: Slip into Something Sexy -- True & Co. Macaroon Set

Macaroon Set with plunging longline bra and cheeky hipster, $50 from True & Co.

Five for Friday: Slip into Something Sexy -- Helen Kukovski on Etsy

Black lace triangle bra and string bikini set, $55 from HelenKukovski

Hips and Curves

Red and black cheeky lace panty, $9.95, and soft lace bra, $26.95 from Hips and Curves

Five for Friday: Slip into Something Sexy -- Turquoise Bra and Panties from Etsy Seller LoveLeviLa

Black and turquoise lace bra, $45, and panties, $21, from LoveLeviLa

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 10.11.00 AM

A La Rose mesh and satin set, $50 from True & Co.

Which one of these is your favorite sexy set, BABs?

On Marriage: 11 Fulfilling Ways to Keep Your Relationship Youthful

The holidays tend to bring out that big, nasty stress monster in nearly everyone I know. Even Metro and Dolly are a little more catty. All of this hustle, bustle, pressure and travel can often lead to taking the ones nearest and dearest to us — who also tend to be our own personal shelters from the storm — for granted. And that’s pretty sucky. This article, originally on The Huffington Post, is a rad collection of ways for us to extend little gestures of gratitude during an otherwise chaotic time.

Photographer Persimimmon Images

Photo: Persimmon Images

We all want to do more for our significant others, but sometimes we get so caught up in the stress and hustle of everyday life that we don’t do as much as we could to let them know that we love them.

To keep your relationship feeling young and spontaneous, try a few of these simple and fulfilling ways to show your spouse how much you care.

1. Pack a surprise lunch

Take a few extra minutes in the morning to pack a sandwich, veggies and some crackers for your significant other’s lunch break and leave them a note to help them find it. Not only will they appreciate your effort, but they’ll love the fact that they no longer have to throw their lunch together before running out the door.

2. Go on a coffee date

As we get older, we tend to plan most of our “romantic outings” around dinner, wine and occasionally a movie. Reach into your college-years-dating manual and take your spouse out for some coffee. Coffee shops have a great atmosphere for facilitating conversation and the increasingly cold weather makes coffee a perfect treat any day.

3. Set their commute music

If your spouse is the kind to still listen to CDs, go old-school with this tip and make a nostalgic mix for them. Or, simply make a playlist and upload it to their iPod when they’re not looking (just make sure you don’t wipe any of their other songs from their iPod when doing so).

4. Leave coffee by the bed

If your spouse wakes up slightly after you, get their coffee ready early and have it waiting on their nightstand. Nothing starts a day off on the right foot quite like the smell of fresh coffee and knowing that someone cares about you.

Click here to continue reading “11 Fulfilling Ways to Keep Your Relationship Youthful” on The Huffington Post.

On Marriage: My Wife Doesn’t Give Me the Love I Deserve

When I read this piece on The Huffington Post, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Because I totally get feeling like I deserve more and feeling resentful when it isn’t doled out. And guys, let me tell you, it’s those feelings that will dance with –if not spell uncertain — doom. But a shift in thinking can help considerably, as this article points out.

On Marriage My Wife Doesn't Give Me the Love I Deserve

My wife doesn’t give me the the love I deserve.

About a year and a half into our marriage, I was struggling with an intense feeling of bitterness. Marriage wasn’t what I had anticipated. It wasn’t anything like the pretty photographs and romantic movies I had seen — it was hard work.

I felt resentful, robbed of romance. This resentment fueled my depression, and in my bitterness I foolishly blamed her.

My wife doesn’t give me the love I deserve!” I thought to myself.

Within a few short months, my bitterness had had grown to such an intensity, that it poisoned our relationship and threatened to destroy our marriage. Then, after the pressure had built up to where neither of us could stand it, emotions erupted. I was callous and resentful.

But instead of reciprocating my bitterness, she showed me an outpouring of love. Even though I had caused her tremendous pain, she laid her hands on my face and told me that she loved me.

I looked at her, unable to understand the love I was receiving. Tears were rolling down her cheeks. My heart melted, and I hung my head down low.

My wife doesn’t give me the love I deserve,” I thought to myself.

It was the same phrase I had thought to myself before, but this time it meant something completely different.

To continue reading My Wife Doesn’t Give Me the Love I Deserve on The Huffington post, click here.

On Marriage: 25 Moments That Make Being in Love So Incredible

A lot of times during these On Marriage posts, we delve into deep, sometimes emotionally exhausting subjects. Ones that pull out all the feels. So, occasionally, I like to find the odd lighthearted listicle to get back to the shinier side of things. This post, written by Lexi Herrick and found on Huffington Post, does just that. Because sometimes, it is about the little things.

Rachel and Joel



Every day, I read articles trying to dissect and diagnose love and relationships. I can’t help but think that maybe love really isn’t definable at all. Maybe being in love with someone is just a string of moments that feels different than the rest of life. These moments give us pure happiness and awaken our souls. They make us feel alive. Here are 25 of those moments.

1. When you do something very normal or silly that you always do and receive a look of such genuine admiration that it melts you. It’s the “of course you brought donuts for your co-worker’s birthday,” or “of course you forgot to put the toothpaste cap on again” look that reminds you that you are loved for who you really are.

2. When you take a short moment to watch the person you love walk away, get into a car, or pick something up, and you stop to admire the way their body moves. It’s that moment when you realize you’re basically checking them out from a distance. You then feel a tinge of excitement when you remember that this is the person you’re in love with.

3. When you’ve had literally the worst day on the planet. You come home feeling defeated and alone only to be reminded with a forehead kiss or comfort pizza already ordered that you’re never alone even on your worst days.

4. When you’re having a disagreement and then all of a sudden you end up laughing in spite of yourselves.

5. When you’re at a dinner or celebration of some kind with each other’s families and it just feels like home. When family love crosses divides and you find that you have a new member of your family and are a new member of another. Loving moments just seem to multiply.

6. When you spend a few Friday nights staying in with trivia games, Netflix and pizza. You feel an insane comfort knowing that with one person, you can create any amount of fun that you may have needed so much more for in the past.

7. When you accomplish something amazing or even just have a marvelously funny story brewing in your mind and your heart swells up with excitement to tell them.

8. When life hands you adversity. Whether these struggles be within your relationship or family, or only in your own life, some of the most rewarding moments of love come when you feel like the world is caving in. Because you know that there will always be someone to protect you. You know in your heart that they will never leave you abandoned and afraid.

9. When you are completely exposed to someone, and yet you feel nothing but safety and love. This can mean anything, from moments of intimacy to being emotionally exposed and vulnerable. You know you are showing all that you are and are loved for it.

10. When little things like catching their scent from a t-shirt make your chest tighten and warm.

11. When you are faced with life decisions and you have a partner and best friend to support and guide you.

12. When you get really wrapped up in meaningful conversation and you note how incredible their ideas are. Being able to learn from the person you love can create some amazing moments.

13. When you’re on the same wavelength and your thoughts seem to flow seamlessly into their mind.

14. When you’re totally not on the same wavelength and end up laughing.

 To continue reading 25 Moments that Make Being In Love So Incredible, click here.

On Marriage: Our Love Affair with Predicting Divorce

As an often-times (admittedly) snarky person, I’m not immune to flippantly “predicting” the outcome of others’ affairs. I know it’s not a good thing and it can breed negativity, but I also mind the company I keep when doing so, and I know with all certainty I’m not alone in my passive judgements. But what’s more telling than an outsider’s view on a couple’s status is how the couple themselves talk about their pairing. In a similar vein to The Masters of Love post from a few weeks back, Our Love Affair with Predicting Divorce — published on The New York Times website — considers our interactions with one another over time as an indicator for how relationships fare.

On Marriage: Our Love Affair with Predicting Divorce

Photo by Angie Chung via Flickr Creative Commons. Modified with PicMonkey.

One of the great love stories of our era is not a celebrity coupling or an on-screen romance but a series of psychological experiments. These experiments aim to predict which couples will divorce, based on how they act while married. And while some have questioned their findings, the idea that marital discord is predictable (and, perhaps, preventable) retains its hold on our hearts.

This week, Melissa Dahl and Abraham Riesman of The Science of Us riff on a 1992 study that looked at the way couples talked about their lives together — and that’s now, as they note, “something of a social psychology classic.” They write:

“The couples who told their stories in a more withdrawn, negative manner were more likely to have split three years later, while couples who told their stories in a more expressive, open way tended to stick it out. All couples face hard times, it’s true, but the couples who were more likely to stay together spoke about those tough moments with more fondness and nostalgia than the couples who eventually parted ways.”

By analyzing how the couples talked, the study authors — Kim T. Buehlman, John M. Gottman and Lynn F. Katz — were able to create a model that predicted with close to 94 percent accuracy which of them would be divorced within three years. They wrote, “We can suggest at this juncture that not only can we predict divorce and the process of marital dissolution with high accuracy but we may also understand what drives the process.”

To continue reading Our Love Affair with Predicting Divorce, head over to The New York Times website.

Real Bride Peach: The Great (Wedding Planning) Escape

Dear fellow Broke-Ass Brides, have you ever wanted to take a weekend and just get the hell away from everything? Even more importantly, have you made time to do so and will you *actually* go through with it?

We are all learning that this whole wedding planning process? … Well, it can be a bit much. (*coughUNDERSTATEMENTcough*) As such, it’s important to realize that the spreadsheets, the phone calls, the texts, the worry, the stress, the drama, the vendors … it can be shoved aside for a minute so you can catch your breath. And you know what? I feel a wedding planning hiatus should be a mandatory part of the process!

I started daydreaming months ago about a great romantic getaway weekend. One in which I could be with my fiance Jersey, just the two of us, reconnecting on a level that has everything to do with our love and nothing to do with the damn table arrangements or DJ playlist. I had a notion to combine this fictional weekend with one item on my Life List, but wasn’t sure it would be feasible before the wedding. So I thought nothing about the late night phone call with my MOH, in which I confessed this daydream. Until I awoke a few weeks later on my birthday morning to an email from her with the subject line, “#81: Happy 36th Birthday!”. 

Life List Item #81? Visit Savannah (finally), flagged as a Top Five for 2014.

I couldn’t believe it. I scanned down the email and saw the confirmation number for our Savannah hotel stay and explicit instructions to GO and HAVE FUN. That she’d already cleared that weekend with Jersey. And that it was a thank you for planning her bachelorette festivities-slash-birthday present. I swear, y’all … I hit the jackpot in the friend lottery. Love you, Netstr!!



So after months and months of wedding planning, work stress, moving, traveling, and you know … LIFE … our getaway weekend is just days away!  I am beside myself and unable to focus beyond my daydreaming of walking hand-in-hand underneath the moss-covered trees. Of a luxurious spa appointment to knead away all the stress. Of poolside fruity drinks and butter-drenched southern fare that will surely need to be burned off next week. And most importantly, time to JUST BE with my amazing guy, relaxing and enjoying each other. I’m not sure we’ll be able to totally put away the technology (you guys know how much I love Instagram), but I do hope to implement a “no wedding planning talk” rule. That is NOT on the agenda. We’ll most likely check in with family/friends once we’ve arrived, but ask them to please hold all calls/texts until we return.



But I’d like to ask you, my friends: Did you take time to get away from planning? Any advice for us as we prep for our Great Escape? Any Savannah tips if you’ve been?

Till next time,

Real Bride Kate: Warning! Parental Advisory

As we all know, when it comes to weddings, parents are typically the biggest supporters and have some of the biggest opinions. This is extremely true in my and Daniel’s case. Our parents have been incredibly supportive of our relationship (at least, ever since I convinced my parents he isn’t a cyber-serial-killer). Seriously, though, their overwhelming love and support has been phenomenal. Of course, sometimes, that overwhelming love and support can manifest in negative forms and be, well, overwhelming. Our parents are making rather large financial and emotional contributions to our wedding. Therefore, as any parents would, they are invested in the wedding and feel entitled to a certain degree of decision-making clout. I would be lying if I said this hadn’t caused some rather heated discussions and quite a few tears. In the end, Daniel and I decided that it wasn’t worth the drama anymore – after all, the wedding is only one day – and we made several concessions to satisfy our parents. Now, pay close attention. Not only will the following warnings explain my and Daniel’s experiences and decisions…they will also be crucial considerations for anyone preparing to tie the knot. parental advisory.jpg

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1. Parents are People with Their Own Perspectives It’s easy to think of your wedding day as belonging solely to you and your partner. Well, sorry, it doesn’t. If your parents (or other family and friends) are involved in your life, likely, they will strongly desire to be involved in your wedding. Keeping in mind their perspectives as your parents can be the difference between seeing a ferocious monster-in-law and a caring mother-in-law. Daniel’s Parents’ Perspective: Daniel is the eldest son and the first to be married. Therefore, his wedding is our first as parents and very special to us. Plus, he is leaving home permanently to live in the United States. This is one of the last big events we will share with him, and we are travelling halfway around the world to be there, so it is a very important occasion to us and needs to accommodate our special needs as out-of-continent guests. My Parents’ Perspective: Kate is our only daughter, and hopefully, this will be the only wedding she’ll ever have. Her whole relationship has been challenging for us, given that she is marrying someone from overseas. Therefore, we want her day to be incredibly special for her, and for us, since this is the only time we’ll be the wedding parents. When Daniel and I really thought about things from our parents’ perspectives, it was easier to see why they felt entitled to make big decisions about our day… and it made us more compassionate to the sacrifices they are making for our relationship, too.

Via Wedding Bee 2. If Parents Pay, They Have Power Many parents choose to contribute financially to their children’s weddings. This is very generous and typically comes with a promise of “no strings attached.” That is a lie. I’m sorry — your parents could be the richest, nicest, most generous people in the world — but if they are putting money down on your wedding, it’s no longer just a party: it’s an investment. An investment in family time, their (and your) reputations and precious memories. One on hand, this viewpoint is so “anti-wedding.” Thinking of a wedding as a product is downright unromantic. However, on the other hand, it makes a lot of sense. A wedding is a day for the whole family, and if people are making contributions, like with any other shared asset, they want it to look how they want it (see point #1). While this wedding-as-product philosophy does make my head spin … it has helped me a lot. Thinking of my wedding as a product helps me think of our family as a business team … each making his or her own contribution to a final product that will reflect everyone who contributes, not just Daniel and me. 2B. Use Parental Payments Wisely Even if your parents are footing the bill, keep the “Broke-Ass” mentality. Be respectful. Be resourceful. And help them get the most out of their investment. Basically … don’t be a jerk. ‘Nuff said. 3. Don’t Make Any Concessions You’ll Regret Later It sounds simple, right? It does … but boy, I screwed this one up from the get-go. Long story short, Daniel’s parents have vacation from work for two weeks, so they had to have the wedding on the weekend in the middle of their vacation. We immediately agreed — no sense in missing work for world travelling when they could use the time they already have off. It’s the least we could do to repay them for their willingness to travel. Coincidentally, the Saturday the wedding has to be on is a day that has deeply upsetting personal meanings for me. Yes, the date was arbitrarily chosen. Yes, the date will be redeemed when the memory of my wedding paints over the bad memories. But … it’s been a tough pill to swallow. A very tough pill. I repeat: don’t make any concessions that you know you’ll regret later.   At least we're not on Game of Thrones...

At least we’re not on “Game of Thrones” …

4. The Catch-22 This may be just our experience, but I thought it was worth warning you all. We have a terrible Catch-22 with our wedding planning. On one hand, our parents want us to have our dream wedding, and they encourage us to make decisions freely. On the other hand, if they do not agree with our decisions, we are guilted or chided. On one hand, they do not want to know every step in the planning process. On the other hand, if we do not tell them the “important” details (which are subjective), they get upset and a repeat of the first Catch-22 happens. The point is: Sometimes, it feels like you can’t win. Instead of stepping on eggshells, plan your wedding how you want it, and if an issue emerges, sit down and address it immediately. Passive-aggressiveness will only waste time and emotional energy. 5. Choose Your Battles Wisely It’s amazing what weddings bring out in people. For instance, I like to go dancing from time to time, but I never knew how insanely important dancing was to me until it was taken out of my reception (don’t worry, I got it back!). You never know what different people will consider to be among the most important aspects of your wedding. Hell, they probably won’t even know what they value until they realize an item’s presence or absence. Therefore, when your parents (or your partner) decide to really push for something wedding-related, ask yourself: Is it worth the fight? Was demanding to change the date based on my own selfish desires worth the logistical nightmare it would cause? No. Was going to the courthouse prior to the wedding (to get the immigration paperwork filed early) worth devastating Daniel’s parents? No. Was adding an extra 10 people to the guest list worth making my mother an emotional wreck? No. To some questions like these, the answers will be a resounding yes. But before you answer, think about what you and your partner value most and weigh that against the fallout of getting what you want. Sometimes, even if something is the best option — emotionally, financially, and logistically — for you and your partner, it just simply isn’t worth the fight or the upset it will cause. Remember: I’m not saying give up complete control. I’m just saying … choose your battles wisely.

Ah, to be newly engaged. Look at how happy we were! So naive!Ah, to be newly engaged. Look at how happy we were! So naive!

Now, after all this serious talk, let me end on a happy note. Daniel and I love our parents. They have made financial and emotional contributions to our long-distance relationship and to our wedding that are beyond the scope of anything a parent should have to give. While making wedding concessions are not always our happiest decisions, we know that this day is very important to our parents, and we are happy to give something back to them after all they have given to us. Our wedding is just one day, a day that we are sharing with our loved ones, and we want it to be meaningful and joyful for everyone. Besides … once we hit the beach at Sandals, I’m pretty sure the ocean will wash the wedding stress away …

Real Talk: Health Insurance, Marriage and a Twitter Party

**This post is brought to you by our friends at, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

hilltop dreams

By Slightly-Less-Random via Flickr Creative Commons.

Guys, this isn’t the most romantic of wedding topics, but it’s real. And it’s important. I mean, as I type this, Dana herself is headed into yet another surgery on her eyes. Health care and the necessity of insurance is a real thing.

Regardless of how you feel about the political hoopla behind the Affordable Care Act, etc., health insurance can make a huge difference in your life and how you are able to handle unexpected events. For one thing, it has the potential to save you some serious cash, which, considering you’re reading The Broke-Ass Bride right now, you have some interest in doing.

Look, I know that obtaining health insurance under the off chance that I may have to go to the doctor isn’t necessarily my highest priority for what few dollars I’m able to bring in every month that isn’t already gobbled up by rent, credit card bills, loans, electricity, etc. But I also know that since my eyeglasses prescription is about 2 years old, my migraines have been increasingly worse. I also know that I’m almost 30 and it’s probably high time to get myself checked out to make sure all the gears are running smoothly. And I know that if I put off getting health insurance for much longer, it’s probably going to end up costing me more — or worse, something awful could happen and I’d have to go into serious debt, which I frankly can’t afford any way you slice it.

While there are only certain times of the year that enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace is open, certain “qualifying life events” (you just try to come up with better jargon than that. I dare you.) may allow you to get your butt covered sooner rather than later.

And yep, you guessed it. Getting married is one of those events (having a baby, moving or losing current insurance are also included).

So, uninsured BABs, here’s the lowdown on how to get hitched and get insured, according to

  • You have 60 days from the day you get married to sign up and pick a plan.
  • You can change your existing plan, sign up for a new plan, join your spouse’s plan or add them to yours, or add any dependents to your plan.
  • Most people will get help paying for insurance, or even qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid. If you qualify for Medicaid, you can sign up at any time throughout the year.
  • If you don’t have health insurance, you might have to pay a fine.

BAB is joining a Twitter party tomorrow (6/25) at 1pm ET/10am PT using #TakeCareChat to talk about Get Covered America and your options under the ACA. If you’re in the dark about any aspect at all of this, please join us. I’ll be there learning right beside you. Even if you don’t plan to do anything about it any time soon, there’s no harm in staying informed.

On Marriage: Masters of Love

It often seems that understanding what makes a marriage last or fail is such an ephemeral, complicated issue. So, I love when science can be applied to address some of the questions associated with why some relationships survive and others don’t, with clarity and consistency enough to allow us mere mortals a glimpse into what we can do to avoid the pitfalls that can ruin a relationship, and reinforce all the strongest parts of our bonds to one another. This article by Emily Esfahani Smith from The Atlantic reveals some fascinating scientific evidence that kindness and generosity with each other is key — but it goes on to suggest specific acts by which we can communicate our generosity and kindness to each other in ways that it will best be received and appreciated. I know I’ll be more conscientious about applying these concepts and making them a regular practice, to ensure that Paul always knows how much I value him and how special he is to me. And in doing so, I’ll be making small investments in our relationship that will hopefully pay off in a lifelong marriage that keeps us both engaged and satisfied. I hope it inspires you, too! 


Masters of Love

Science says lasting relationships come down to—you guessed it—kindness and generosity.

Every day in June, the most popular wedding month of the year, about 13,000 American couples will say “I do,” committing to a lifelong relationship that will be full of friendship, joy, and love that will carry them forward to their final days on this earth.

Except, of course, it doesn’t work out that way for most people. The majority of marriages fail, either ending in divorce and separation or devolving into bitterness and dysfunction. Of all the people who get married, only three in ten remain in healthy, happy marriages, as psychologist Ty Tashiro points out in his book The Science of Happily Ever After, which was published earlier this year.

Social scientists first started studying marriages by observing them in action in the 1970s in response to a crisis: Married couples were divorcing at unprecedented rates. Worried about the impact these divorces would have on the children of the broken marriages, psychologists decided to cast their scientific net on couples, bringing them into the lab to observe them and determine what the ingredients of a healthy, lasting relationship were. Was each unhappy family unhappy in its own way, as Tolstoy claimed, or did the miserable marriages all share something toxic in common?

Psychologist John Gottman was one of those researchers. For the past four decades, he has studied thousands of couples in a quest to figure out what makes relationships work. I recently had the chance to interview Gottman and his wife Julie, also a psychologist, in New York City. Together, the renowned experts on marital stability run The Gottman Institute, which is devoted to helping couples build and maintain loving, healthy relationships based on scientific studies.

John Gottman began gathering his most critical findings in 1986, when he set up “The Love Lab” with his colleague Robert Levenson at the University of Washington. Gottman and Levenson brought newlyweds into the lab and watched them interact with each other. With a team of researchers, they hooked the couples up to electrodes and asked the couples to speak about their relationship, like how they met, a major conflict they were facing together, and a positive memory they had. As they spoke, the electrodes measured the subjects’ blood flow, heart rates, and how much they sweat they produced. Then the researchers sent the couples home and followed up with them six years later to see if they were still together.

From the data they gathered, Gottman separated the couples into two major groups: the masters and the disasters. The masters were still happily together after six years. The disasters had either broken up or were chronically unhappy in their marriages. When the researchers analyzed the data they gathered on the couples, they saw clear differences between the masters and disasters. The disasters looked calm during the interviews, but their physiology, measured by the electrodes, told a different story. Their heart rates were quick, their sweat glands were active, and their blood flow was fast. Following thousands of couples longitudinally, Gottman found that the more physiologically active the couples were in the lab, the quicker their relationships deteriorated over time.

But what does physiology have to do with anything? The problem was that the disasters showed all the signs of arousal—of being in fight-or-flight mode—in their relationships. Having a conversation sitting next to their spouse was, to their bodies, like facing off with a saber-toothed tiger. Even when they were talking about pleasant or mundane facets of their relationships, they were prepared to attack and be attacked. This sent their heart rates soaring and made them more aggressive toward each other. For example, each member of a couple could be talking about how their days had gone, and a highly aroused husband might say to his wife, “Why don’t you start talking about your day. It won’t take you very long.”

The masters, by contrast, showed low physiological arousal. They felt calm and connected together, which translated into warm and affectionate behavior, even when they fought. It’s not that the masters had, by default, a better physiological make-up than the disasters; it’s that masters had created a climate of trust and intimacy that made both of them more emotionally and thus physically comfortable.

Gottman wanted to know more about how the masters created that culture of love and intimacy, and how the disasters squashed it. In a follow-up study in 1990, he designed a lab on the University of Washington campus to look like a beautiful bed and breakfast retreat. He invited 130 newlywed couples to spend the day at this retreat and watched them as they did what couples normally do on vacation: cook, clean, listen to music, eat, chat, and hang out. And Gottman made a critical discovery in this study — one that gets at the heart of why some relationships thrive while others languish.

Throughout the day, partners would make requests for connection, what Gottman calls “bids.” For example, say that the husband is a bird enthusiast and notices a goldfinch fly across the yard. He might say to his wife, “Look at that beautiful bird outside!” He’s not just commenting on the bird here: he’s requesting a response from his wife — a sign of interest or support — hoping they’ll connect, however momentarily, over the bird.

The wife now has a choice. She can respond by either “turning toward” or “turning away” from her husband, as Gottman puts it. Though the bird-bid might seem minor and silly, it can actually reveal a lot about the health of the relationship. The husband thought the bird was important enough to bring it up in conversation and the question is whether his wife recognizes and respects that.

Read the rest of this article, here.