Think about your bank or credit union account. Money in, money out. Save. Spend. It’s a pretty simple concept.
We all know what happens when we make too many withdrawals without depositing more, or when we don’t realize how much we’ve been spending until we overdraw our account - this behavior results in expensive overdrafts. Ouch!
There are no overdraft fees when you keep a comfortable balance in your account and spend within (or below) your means. When you take care of your relationship with money, you reap the benefits: peace of mind, compounded interest, and the ability to set aside savings, which provide safety and security as well as the means to spend on things that bring you joy.
Our relationships work similarly.
If you take from your partner’s emotional account too often for too long without replenishing it, you overdraw. What happens then? Emotional strain increases, we get curt or let zingers fly, arguments and disagreements get more frequent, and disconnection begins to grow.
The accumulated mini-habits that deteriorate the relationship between a struggling couple will deflate their love and respect for each other. Those little actions will eat away at the joy and satisfaction in their relationship.
Often, couples are making far more emotional withdrawals than emotional deposits with each other—and it shows!
What do I mean by emotional withdrawals and deposits?
Below are some examples of emotional withdrawals:
lack of affection or attention
working too much
ignoring your partner
spending excessive time on your phone or computer when with your partner
canceling dates regularly
sharp words or criticisms
making promises that you don’t keep
blaming and/or defensiveness
raising your voice
rolling eyes at your partner
pretending to listen
trying to prove that their partner is the one in the “wrong.”
So, what would be emotional deposits … you guessed it, basically the opposite:
keeping a healthy work-life balance
giving attention to and expressing interest in your partner
random gestures of kindness
spending quality time together regularly and putting limits on technology
kind words and appreciation
keeping your word and promises
forgiving quickly and apologizing sincerely
self-calming and soothing before settling differences
being mindful, patient, and intentional
That last one - being mindful, patient, and intentional - is really important because being intentional is what will cause us to work at this. It will trigger the action to make an emotional deposit and to make emotional deposits, we need to be intentional and mindful with our actions.
We need to be attuned and responsive to our partner’s desires and needs, care about their experiences, inquire about what is important to them, and empathize with their emotions.
And if we don’t, we can begin to experience deflation in the relationship. Our partner may start triggering negative emotions in us and then, conflict usually increases and sparks become more frequent. We stop feeling heard and seen and we may even begin to think that our partner doesn’t really care about us or value us and our relationship anymore. Things begin to unravel.
Every day, we have opportunities strengthen the connection with our partner. Each moment and every interaction are opportunities to pull away from our partner or turn towards our partner with love. Be intentional to turn towards them.
Don't Forget To Remember
When we fell in love, it was awesome. You know what I'm talking about ... that infamous puppy-love stage when the wave of honeymoon feelings and butterflies carries us into each new day with our new love, euphorically.
Passionate love and attraction earmark this early period of our relationship. We idolize our partner, spend every spare minute together, talk for hours learning about each other, and go out of our way to be kind, thoughtful and intentional.
But then, as it tends to happen over time - we forget to remember all those "when we fell in love" feelings and for some reason, we stop doing these things.
The butterflies of puppy-love can be reinvigorated into any relationship. It just takes work.
Relationships take work.
Keeping things feeling fresh and exciting is no easy task. With time comes stress, change, aging, and a myriad of other complicating real-world factors. However, reviving a troubled relationship is possible, especially when you both desire improvement.
When two people are willing to make it work, the process of creating a newer, happier, and more romantic dynamic becomes much easier. With these simple, intentional actions, you and your partner can start rerouting the direction of your relationship and make space for new life to grow and evolve for the better, for the two of you.❤️
Happy Valentine's Day!