Are you missing out in your spouse’s bids?

Jay Dee

Are you missing out in your spouse’s bids?

Oct 05, 2016

I don’t hear the word “bid” much anymore.  I feel like I hear it a lot more when growing up.  It seems to have fallen into disuse.  Today I’m going to use it, because I don’t know a better word to use. A bid is

are-you-missing-out-on-your-spouses-bids-300I don’t hear the word “bid” much anymore.  I feel like I hear it a lot more when growing up.  It seems to have fallen into disuse.  Today I’m going to use it, because I don’t know a better word to use.

A bid is a request.  Often we use it when talking about a “bid for attention”.  A bid for attention is then a request for attention.  We see bids constantly from children.  They want to know where paying attention, that we saw the cool thing that they did, or that we still love them.

The same thing happens in marriage.  Spouses make small bids for love all the time.  They could be as simple as asking “How does this look?” which is a clear bid for attention.  “Can you get me a drink” is a bid for service.  “What are you thinking about?” is a bid for connection.

Every day our spouse bids something from us, or at least hopefully they do, because a bud means they are interested in affirming the relationship.  Because relationships tend to drift apart.  No one ever drifted together.  We feel these drifts and instinctively make small bids of our spouse in attempts to move closer to them.

Unfortunately we often miss these bids.  When we do, it has often the same, or worse effect than if we had outright rejected the bid.

For example, if your spouse asks you to hand you something and you say “I can’t right now honey, my hands are full.” That’s a rejection, though an understandable one.  However if you ignore the request and don’t respond, that’s even worse.

So, what do we do with this information?

Recognize the bids your spouse is making

Now you know what they can look like and be aware of them.  This means you can acknowledge them more often instead of ignoring them.  It also means that when you do need to reject a bid, you can still do it in a loving and non-destructive way.

Each bid is an opportunity to either draw closer to your spouse, or to let the relationship drift.  According to the Gottman institute, couples who stay together use these opportunities to draw closer together 86% of the time, whereas couples that divorce only average about 33% of the time.  It seems that turning towards your spouse during these bids is one of the keys to staying married.

Recognize your own bids

Learn to recognize when you are making a bid as well, and when it goes unanswered, realize that it’s probably not intentional, but rather that your spouse merely missed it.

At times like that, you can speak up and say “That was a bid for attention, and I’m feeling even more in need of some attention since you ignored it.”. Then you can have an adult conversation about your feelings instead of sulking about them.  Doesn’t that sound more productive?


So, now you know about bids.  What are you going to do about it?

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6 thoughts on “Are you missing out in your spouse’s bids?”

  1. Austin Reason says:

    Interesting idea about it being an opportunity to draw together our drift apart. Goes to the idea of “it’s the little things that add up to kill a marriage.”

    Btw, is that where “do her bidding” comes from?

  2. joy says:


  3. Mike says:

    My wife uses a walker and I am asked to do her bidding many times a day. At first it was annoying, but now I kind of anticipate her bidding. She has certain habits that I have not made mine as yet. I am close, but I still forget some things. I still have to be asked to bring her coffee, take out the trash, empty containers, vacuum, make the bed, etc. If I have the right attitude, it does draw us closer together.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This article couldn’t of come at a better time. We’re in the process of buying/selling a house and moving with 4 kids in the mix. Home has been a little nuts. Thanks for being sensitive as to His direction for the topic. Helped to refocus.

    Always praying for you and yours

  5. Ted says:

    This is an interesting concept. In my marriage, many times my wife will ask me if I want coffee, or something to eat, usually when I’m reading online. I’m thinking now that these are bids for my attention born out of a need for connection. Something to ask her about in the near future….

  6. Jerry Stumpf says:

    Curious idea. When I read the first few lines, I had an image of a child pulling at a parents pant leg.

    The second idea that flashed in my mind was the slight nod or hand movement when and auctioneer is presenting an item.

    Somewhere in between is our spouse. If they do not overtly tug at us, we may miss them and if they use a slight hand signal – think hint – we may miss their “bid” altogether. As we grow together, I have learned my wife’s signals. But sometimes I miss one. We have a long history and she is comfortable in bringing something to my attention. She will then say to me, “Hey did you know I was trying to get your attention about going out tonight instead of eating at home?”

    Then it becomes a viable “bid” as I recognize the mention and her.

    Good thoughts

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