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Turn Towards To Strengthen Relationships and JUST ANOTHER MISSING PERSON by Gillian McCallister

Picture of the book Just Another Missing Person to teach turning towards to strengthen relationships

Julia’s career as a Detective Chief means clocking long hours and focusing on the scariest parts of society. Julia’s daughter, Genevieve, and her husband, Art, respond to the time apart differently. Genevieve tends to text check-ins and stay up late for together time. Art pulls away and has an affair, which devastates Julia and is a body blow to the marriage.


Let’s rewind the clock to the time before the affair and explore ways Julia and Art could have turned towards to strengthen their relationship.


How do couples remain emotionally connected despite leading busy lives? The key is adopting a team mentality, making bids, noticing your partner’s bids, and turning towards (not away).


Adopt a Team Mentality

If you feel emotionally disconnected from your partner, talk to them about your concerns. Ask that they join you as a team-mate with the shared goal of improving emotional connection.


Learn To Identify Bids

A bid is an attempt to connect. Partners make bids to each other all the time. Some repeated bid patterns include:

  • Pay attention to what I say (“Did you see that?”)

  • Show interest in my accomplishments (“What did you think of my report?”)

  • Share your life with me (“How was your day?”)

  • Help me (“I’m so tired. Can you…”)

  • Be affectionate (“Let’s cuddle.”)

  • Join me (“Want to go on a hike?”)


Prioritize Making Bids

Intentionally bid for each other’s attention. If your partner struggles to identify or notice your bids, try labeling them as a teaching tool (“I have a bid for your attention. Will you sit with me and watch TV?”).  


Turn Towards

After identifying a bid, you have an important decision. You can turn towards (engage) or turn away (reject). In the healthiest relationships, couples turn towards about 86% of the time. In unhealthy relationships, they turn towards about 33% of the time. Significant events don’t tend to end relationships. More frequently, the problem is a buildup of resentment from turn-away moments. Which, over time, hamper trust, passion, and connection.

Watch this video from The Gottman Institute for another explanation of the concept of turning towards.


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