I recently had a chat with a divorcee who shared some of his painful experiences with me. He had been married for 7 years and somehow, the reality of life hit them after children. The challenges of being working parents with no extra help (no maids etc) took its toll on them, and somehow, they started facing difficulties & differences that were hard to overcome. Both parties are not perfect, but somehow, they just couldn’t work it out.

It reminds me of a key point that I read on the Gottman marriage site, we need to pay attention to our spouse. 

Often times, in the hustle and bustle of daily life, we forget to give attention to our spouse. The kids are the ones that you need to pay attention to. Or it could be the boss that calls or sends you WhatsApp messages in the middle of the night. Soon, conversations become functional and no one really ‘communicates’ anymore.

There are many ways to connect with your spouse daily, it could be that gentle touch on their hand, that look, or that question that says, “Hey, I need your attention”. To take a quote from the Gottman blog, based on research done by Dr John Gottman who has conducted 40 years of breakthrough research with thousands of couples:

Gottman’s studies indicate that couples on the road to divorce ignore their spouse’s bids for connection 50 to 80 percent of the time, while those in happy marriages catch most of these emotional cues and respond kindly. So, paying attention predicts relationship success.

Couples who notice more moments of connection report more feelings of love and contentment. What’s more, connection and intimacy buffer against emotional burnout. If you are not paying attention, you won’t notice your distressed partner reaching out with a sigh or a question, and you sure can’t respond to the bids you miss. And it turns out these failed intimacies are as harmful as active rejection—simply not acknowledging your mate hurts as much as a harsh word.

So please pause and pay attention.















Image of couple is not a representation of the person in the story. Photo credit: Stories.my


  • Thanks for the article. One of the ways we pay attention is by having weekly dates. It’s easier now that our two children are teenagers. Though we have to skip our date for various reasons sometimes, we try not to skip more than 2 weeks in a row. It is our weekly ‘comma’ – to catch up with our news and updates in our lives. Thanks for this article to remind us the importance of connection and paying attention to our spouse.

    • Grace Tan says:

      Thank you so much for sharing Anne! Yes you should totally do more dates so that it won’t be strange when your kids leave home and you have an empty nest syndrome but with 2 of you as strangers towards one another.

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