Updated: Sep 20
Have y'all watched Married at First Sight??
I hate when parents use this word to describe their kids interests, but I'm going to use it for myself. I'm just a touch obsessed with Married at First Sight - a reality show on Netflix.
I find myself thinking about it allllll the time. Part of that is just sheer voyeuristic curiosity right, like - omg I can't believe these people signed up for this let's watch and see what happens.
But part of it runs even deeper, and honestly ties into why I became a therapist.
So if you haven't watched the show - 10 people agree to marry someone without ever having met or talked to their partner before. They have no idea who "the experts" have matched them with until they walk down the aisle and get introduced - 15 seconds before they say I Do. It is a legally binding marriage. They go on a 1 week honeymoon, and then move into a "neutral" apartment for 6 weeks before deciding before all of TV land if they are going to stay together or get divorced.
It's indulgent reality tv at it's finest and I am HERE FOR IT.
You've heard of Gottman? Famous couples therapist, had a research apartment where he and his team studied gajillions of couples. One of the biggest takeaways from John Gottman's research is the idea of the "bid." When one person reaches out in some (even small way) - it really, really matters if the other person accepts that bid. It can be verbal or non-verbal, small and subtle or big and important. It can be little things like, "hey look at that weird bug" or big like, "I love you more than words can say."
The couples that go on to have healthy relationships are the ones where each partner picks up what the other lays down.
It's like the improv rule of "Yes, and" -- it builds bridges between you for a healthy relationship. Ignoring or not seeing the bid creates a relationship of cold shoulders, disengagement, resentment, and more.
So I'm watching this show, hugely engrossed in the fact that the couples who are reporting higher levels of chemistry and connection are hands down the ones who you can SEE are accepting each other's bids! It's fascinating!
Here's where it connects to you and your kids -
Accepting those bids are important for all relationships, not just romantic. When your kid says, "hey look at this thing I made on Minecraft" - LOOK. When they make a gesture of connection, even if it's small - TAKE IT. It's not small. It's a big deal to the health of your relationship. And the health of your relationship is a big deal for their whole life happiness and success.
It is not always easy to look at that Minecraft thing for the 5064th time that day. And sometimes the things they are interested in are annoying to you. But think bigger picture than that. If you want some very practical, actionable exercises to help you - click the link for my book, Connect with Courage.
Roya Dedeaux is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with several decades of working with teens and their families. She especially loves to work with homeschoolers and folks who feel like they don’t quite “fit the mold.” She is also the author of Connect with Courage: how to release fear and find joy in the places your kids take you. Check out her work, webinars, games, and other projects at www.royadedeaux.com
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