What is Attunement?
In my line of work, I see lots of couples that want a deeper connection. They long to be seen, heard, and understood by each other. They often complain of poor communication, feeling disconnected, and even worse, being retraumatized by wounds that won’t heal.
Much of this experience is driven by a lack of attunement between both partners. Attunement is “feeling felt” by another human being. It is the ability to track and respond to the inner world of another. Attunement might look like an adult seeing their child cry, thinking the child might be hurt or hungry, and picking up the child to comfort them.
In an adult relationship, it might look like asking your partner if they are ok—and when they reply “I’m fine,” knowing they are not and digging a little deeper to find out what is going on. Attunement is essential for any close connection in relationships.
The 30/70 Rule
Unfortunately, we don’t always attune well to our spouse or partner. Research shows that 70% of our emotional communication is misread or misunderstood.
However, the good news is that the 30% of attunement that we do get right is enough to create a secure relationship!
You read that right—the 30% of attunement is enough to create a close connection and create a sense of security and safety within the relationship.
My challenge for the reader is this: Try to spend one week focusing on creating more attunement with your partner.
Ask yourself as you interact with them:
-What are they feeling right now?
-Do their words and emotions match?
-Can I understand from within their perspective how they see this issue?
-How can I respond to what they are feeling, and not just the words they are saying?
Attunement is the conduit through which deep connection emerges in our relationships. With a little practice, you can improve this skill and create the kind of relationship you long for and desire.
- Tom Philp, LPC & CEO Stonebridge Couples