Maintenance + Eye Contact

You've seen it… A crazed older man rummaging through the store, knocking things off the shelf, yelling erratically, "Where is it? Where is it? I can't find it!"


A gentle older woman runs up, "Hey, it's ok. It's ok. It's me. I'm here. Hey, look at me Harold!" She softly touches his arm and he turns, seeing her, seeing her face, looking into her eyes, starting to cry and leans in for a hug.


The look. The eye contact. It changes everything. "Look at me."


What is it about staring into another human's eyes that helps us calm down, breath, relax? Well actually, it's part of the design: a function of mirror neurons in the brain, helping us co-regulate and coordinate our attention. As beings wired for connection, the eyes transmit a powerful amount of information to help us work together. They send a message: "I see you. I care about you. We're in this together."


A couple of months ago I posted a series of basic habits you could use to maintain a healthy marriage. There's one more I'd like to add now: regular eye contact.


Looking each other in the eye seems like the most basic of basic human elements, yet it's something we often fail to achieve. With the regularity of screens (which don't line the camera up with where you're actually looking) on top of the fact that they're generally distracting from the humans around us, plus our culturally very busy schedules that rarely include even face-to-face meals, it's easy to run the rat race side by side, never once looking up to really acknowledge your teammate beside you.


Take some time each day to look your partner in the eyes. Even five minutes will make a huge difference in remembering and enjoying the connection you have.


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