Sliding Door Moments: Opportunities to Be There for Your Partner
Author and researcher, John Gottman, uses the term sliding door moments to describe opportunities to connect with our partners. These are often micro moments of potential to let your partner know you care, you are there for them, and they can count on you. The term sliding door fits well because these occasions can be so fleeting they are easily missed. Mixed in with other blog posts below are real life sliding door moments that I see in relationships all around me, including my own. Some moments were embraced and perhaps created stronger bonds for the couple while others were missed. I hope highlighting these real life sliding door moments in other’s relationships will help you seek out and take advantage of the opportunity they provided to turn towards your partner and build trust in your own relationship.
Sliding Door Moment #5 … Moment Missed
Even as a therapist, a couple’s therapist none the less, I make mistakes in my relationship. The good news is that mistakes can be repaired. My husband is not much of a talker but he makes an effort for me. One evening he was making such an effort to “open up” as I have asked for a lot over the years when I squashed it. He was talking about work and instead of engaging, asking a question, or showing much interest at all I asked what he wanted to watch on TV. It was like I was saying, “Can we please stop talking so I can zone out?” The funny or not so funny part about this story is I would not even be aware this happened had he not then pointed it out to me. I was shutting him down. Thankfully he did say something. I was glad he did. He had good reason to be at least annoyed.
Although I was tired after putting everyone to bed and wanted nothing more than to check out and watch TV it was not fair to my husband to selfishly ignore his attempt to connect. Had he not said something that night he probably would be less likely to bring up a similar conversation in the future and I would eventually complain again about wanting him to open up more. On and on it would go. These passing moments have the potential to create a stronger bond. We are not perfect so I am sure this will not be the last time I mess up but that does not mean we can’t be close. I am grateful to notice these small exchanges between us now (or in this case acknowledge what was pointed out to me). Being more aware of these moments seems to help head off big storms and keep a general feeling of being more connected with one another.
Learn more about John Gottman’s sliding door moments, in the article What Makes Love Last: Sliding Door Moments.
Michelle Puster M.Ed. | Licensed Professional Counselor
Helping disconnected couples grow closer
Katy Couples & Wellness Counseling
Couples & Marriage Counseling Katy | West Houston