You may have heard it said that if you’re not making an effort to continually stay connected to your partner, you will drift apart. If you’re not rowing in the direction you want to go, you will drift in no particular direction. At the Marriage Recovery Center, we use the ATTUNE method to teach you how to build deeper connection with your partner and stay connected for deeper intimacy. Dr. Hawkins walks you through the 6 steps of the ATTUNE method for deeper connection – Attend, Tune In, Tolerate Distress, Understand, Nurture and Empathize.
6 Ways to Build Deeper Connection with Your Partner
“Attention is the highest form of love,” said Dr. David Hawkins, Director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute. ATTUNE, as he describes it, is the key to fostering a deep and meaningful connection with your partner.
In this article, we will explore the acronym for ATTUNE, breaking down each component to help you better understand how to strengthen your bond with your loved one. Whether you’re in a long-term relationship or just starting a new one, these six principles can help you build a more profound connection.
A for Attend
The first step in ATTUNE is to attend to your partner. This means giving them your full and undivided attention. Clear away mental clutter and distractions that could hinder your ability to be present with your loved one. When you attend to them, they feel valued and important. Put away your phone, turn off the TV, and make sure your partner knows that you are fully engaged with them.
T for Tune In
To truly connect with your partner, you need to tune in to what’s happening in their world. Show genuine curiosity about their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Being interested in your partner’s life and experiences is an essential part of building a deep connection. Ask questions and actively listen to their responses. This demonstrates that you care about their well-being and are invested in their happiness.
T for Tolerate Distress
In any relationship, there will be moments of frustration or distress. Your partner may express their frustration, and sometimes, it may even be directed towards you. It’s crucial to remain calm and composed, even when your partner is upset with you. Tolerating their distress means not becoming flustered or defensive. Instead, show empathy and understanding. By handling their frustration with grace, you demonstrate that you can be a reliable source of support in their life.
U for Understand
Understanding is about standing under your partner, metaphorically speaking. It means genuinely trying to comprehend their thoughts, emotions, and perspectives. Ask gentle and open-ended questions to encourage them to share more about their feelings and thoughts. Put aside your own agenda and focus on their experiences. When you seek to understand your partner, you show that you respect and value their uniqueness.
N for Nurture
Nurturing your partner is a fundamental aspect of ATTUNE. Every person is facing their inner battles, struggles, and insecurities. By nurturing your partner, you offer them a sense of safety and comfort in the relationship. Show compassion and empathy for their feelings and experiences. Let them know that you are there to support them, no matter what challenges they may be facing. Nurturing fosters trust and emotional intimacy.
E for Empathize
Empathy is the final piece of the ATTUNE puzzle. It involves walking in your partner’s shoes, trying to fully understand their point of view, and acknowledging their emotions. Use phrases like “Tell me more” and “I’m curious about that” to encourage them to share their feelings and thoughts. By demonstrating empathy, you show that you are willing to connect on a deeper level and that you genuinely care about their well-being.
Incorporating these six principles of ATTUNE into your relationship can lead to a deeper, more meaningful connection with your partner. By attending to them, tuning in, tolerating their distress, understanding them, nurturing their inner struggles, and showing empathy, you create a safe and loving environment where both you and your partner can thrive.
Remember that building a deep connection takes time and effort. Practice ATTUNE with your partner consistently, and you will notice the magic that happens when you both feel truly heard, understood, and validated. Your relationship will become a source of strength and support, enriching both of your lives. So, go ahead and start practicing these principles of ATTUNE to make your relationship truly magical.
Also read: The Truth About Emotional Abuse Exposed
About Dr. Hawkins:
The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.
Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.
He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.
In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.