By Fidelia Asogwa
You may wonder what this means and how it works in sustaining lasting relationship in a marriage. Just as financial account keeps the marriage front flourishing when it is well utilized, so also does emotional bank account keeps the joy, the love and the trust in a marriage glowing.
It may interest you to know that one of the best ways for making your marriage work is to maintain a very high emotional bank account with your spouse.
An Emotional Bank Account according to bestselling author, Stephen Covey, is a way of increasing the level of trust, love and understanding within a marriage. An emotional bank account is a metaphor that describes the amount of trust that is been built up in a relationship. It is the feeling of safeness and love you have with someone close to your heart. Just like you make deposits and withdrawals to your financial bank account, so also you make emotional deposits and withdrawals with your spouse.
When you have a high emotional bank account with your spouse, the trust is high and the relationship is strong but when you have a low emotional bank account, the trust is low and the relationship is tense.
Making your marriage work is so much easier when you both have very high emotional bank account with each other.
The following are some ways through which you can ‘deposit’ into your spouse’s emotional bank account in order to help make your marriage work better.
Figure out what the deposits are for your spouse: When you want to deposit into your spouse’s emotional bank account, so often you to things that are deposit for yourself. Take for example, if you like to receive gifts, then you automatically think that your spouse would like that too. For the fact that gift is your love language, that is, the way you feel loved, does not mean that giving your spouse gift satisfies his/her love language. It is misleading when you think that your spouse would probably like what you like.
Often, those things that are deposits for you may not be for your spouse and sometimes they can even turn into withdrawals. This is because if you only do things that are deposits for you, your spouse would think you do not understand what he wants. So the first and most important way to increase your spouse’s emotional bank account is to understand what serves as deposits for your spouse. The best way to do this is to ask your spouse what he really enjoys or what excites him. Also, if you understand your partner’s love language it would be easier for you to know how to deposit into his/her emotional bank account.
You practically increase the life span of your marriage when you deposit rightly into your spouse’s emotional bank account. For example, each time you do what your spouse appreciates and loves either directly or indirectly, you are depositing into his emotional bank account. But whenever you do what he dislikes or disobeys him in such a way that left him hurting, you are withdrawing from the emotional bank account you might have deposited before. And when you constantly withdraw more than you are depositing into your spouse’s emotional bank account, you are destroying your relationship gradually and most times without even knowing.
It is better you keep on depositing by doing those things that earn you your spouse’s love and trust so that even if you withdraw as it is inevitable, it would not totally destroy your affection for each other.
Deposit into your spouse’s emotional bank account regularly: An important principle you must have in mind is that, in a continuing relationship such as marriage, you must make deposits on a regular basis. Deposits sometimes ‘Leak’ and need to be topped up; otherwise the emotional bank account becomes negative or zero. Remember that marriage is a relationship of mutual love and a positive emotional deposit is simply an act of love.
So if you don’t make regular deposits into your spouse’s emotional bank account, then you are telling him you don’t love or appreciate him. Making your marriage work is a lot easier when you regularly deposit into your spouse’s emotional bank account.
A deposit can be big or small: Deposit can be big or small (just like deposit into your normal account). Sometimes you will want to make a big deposit for your spouse, such as taking her on that holiday she has always wanted. But if you are going to make deposit on a regular basis, then you need to be making many small deposits as well.
Here are some general deposits that you should be making on regular basis:
Showing love to your spouse: This could be by simply telling him that you love him, by hugging him or writing him a note.
By being kind to your spouse: Kindness is always a great deposit, whereas harshness is a withdrawal.
By keeping your promises: If you don’t keep your promises, the emotional bank account will soon run into negative.
When you continually deposit into your spouse’s emotional bank account, you will keep the level of trust and love between you both high. This will help ensure a very strong marriage, which is one of the best things you could ever have.
Remember the little things count: All the little things not only count, but they are the building blocks of our daily lives. So, be courteous, show and declare your love and be appreciative of what your partner adds to your life.
Be attentive and supportive: To feel cared for, your partner needs you to take an interest in him or her. When he talks about his day and how it went, truly listen to him. When he is struggling with a problem or is excited about a new interest, be supportive.
Do something special: Going out of your way just to make your partner happy adds lots to your account with him. Thinking about what is important to your partner and then helping him to do that even when he is not there, makes him feel someone is there for him no matter what.
Remember important dates: Even if you are not great with remembering dates, you can always plug important ones into your calendar. You can make a reminder note a few days ahead to pick up a card. This can work well with birthdays, anniversaries of the day you met or your wedding or when your partner received award or made an achievement.
Keep it positive: According to research conducted by Dr. Gottman, healthy relationships have five positive interactions to every negative one.
Thinking in terms of emotional bank account, you can gauge the strength of your relationship. If your account is dangerously close to zero, build up that balance. It is not wise to wait for that to happen.
The best strategy with any relationship is to make regular deposits a matter of course, ensuring that you maintain a healthy balance and a healthy relationship for your marriage to flourish.