Sliding Door Moment # 4
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 Moments #4
Over the holidays I visited my parents and stayed in their home. A couple days after Christmas my Mom told us she had not been feeling well for a few days. She had since been to the doctor and now knew everything was ok. However, on Christmas morning she had been experiencing pain and was concerned. Not wanting to worry everyone in the house, she let my Dad in on what was going on and how she was feeling. Concerned about his wife and knowing she was not feeling well, Dad offered to take Mom to the ER on Christmas morning instead of going to church. This meant a lot to Mom because she knew her husband was concerned about her and cared enough to offer to miss Christmas Mass, one of the most important masses of the year for both of them. They did not end up going to the ER that morning but the offer to go was a gesture of concern and caring that let Mom know Dad is there for her when she needs him.
At first glance this might not seem like a sliding door moment because wouldn’t we always be there for our partner if they were sick? Not necessarily. Unfortunately many partners have recounted memories of times they needed their husband or wife when they were sick and they felt their needs were dismissed, discounted, or overlooked all together.
If your partner is not feeling well take a moment to ask them how they are feeling and what they need. Offer to take over the dishes so they can lay down or even take them to the doctor if necessary. These gestures go a long way to building trust with your partner and letting them know you are there for them.
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
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