340: How to Be a Safe Place for your Sweetheart// Eli Harwood


I was recently reading through entries in my Flecks of Gold Journal, and I read this gem from a few years ago: 

April 5, 2021

This morning when we were driving home from school drop off, I said to Ryan, “We haven’t been on a date in a long time. We need to get that on the calendar.” He said, “I know of a concert I could take you to tonight” and looked over and smiled slyly. It took me a second to realize he was talking about the kids’ spring music concert at school. Ha! 

I love Ryan’s subtle sense of humor and his good-natured teasing about how parenthood often changes your romantic relationship, and some of that is expected, good even, as you adjust to your evolving family dynamic. But also, I think we all know how much it blesses every part of our lives when we are feeling truly and deeply connected to our partner. And that really is hard as a parent–because you are busy, tired, and worn down by your wonderful but demanding children, as well as all of the responsibilities of work and life.

Today’s episode is the first of a month-long series I am doing for February on recharging the connection in your romantic relationship. My guest is Eli Harwood, a licensed therapist, educator, and creator of the popular instagram account and website, Attachment Nerd. Eli has more than 17 years of experience helping people process relational traumas and develop secure attachment relationships with their children and partners, and she recently published an incredible book called Securely Attached: Transform your Attachment Patterns into Loving, Lasting Romantic Relationships. Eli has three children, one husband, two cats, and an extraordinary number of plant babies.

I can’t wait for you to hear this incredible conversation.




3 Takeaways for Cultivating Secure Relationships

  1. Light up when your sweetheart lights up about things. It feels like this should be easy, but it’s often not– either because we’re busy, tired, or simply don’t have an interest in the things our partner cares about. But we do have an interest in them, and so it’s important to muster up the energy to connect with them when they’re feeling excited. Eli said in the episode, when people show up for us in moments when we’re feeling delight, it bonds us. But it’s not enough to only be there for them in the happy times.
  2. Be a safe place for your sweetheart to be emotionally tender and vulnerable. This means you don’t minimize, dismiss, or ignore their difficult days and feelings.  It means you consistently reserve time with them and for them, so they can sense an opening to even tell you if they’re having a hard time. Ideally, your partner would know that it’s safe to turn to you for support, comfort, and empathy with any tender emotion.
  3. Make sure you reach for your sweetheart when you are tender or vulnerable and let them play a role in soothing and supporting you. This is called reach and receive, and it’s at the heart of secure attachment. You want a symbiotic relationship where you both need each other, and you’re both reaching for each other and supporting each other in good times and bad. 


>>>Are these tips from Eli helpful? What did you learn about secure relationships? Would you add anything? Tell us in the comments below.



Get in touch with our Guest!

Mentioned in the Episode:

  • Click here to access our relationships playlist
  • Click here to access Eli’s membership for parents
  • Click here to access Eli’s book “Securely Attached”


  • Green Chef: Go to greenchef.com/603in30, and use code 603in30 to get 60% off, plus 20% off your next two months.
  • DockATot: Get 15% off the DockATot Mini Mat with promo code 3in30.


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