Your Relationship Bank Account
Today we’ll talk about your relationship bank account and no, we are not talking about your banking needs. We are taking about the status of your relationship. How well are you doing?
Let's think of it like this: you start dating, and everything you do is a deposit into your relationship bank account. You make special efforts, you take time, you do fun things together - there are words of love, acts of service, quality time, gifts, lots of touch - all 5 love language - and usually it feels almost effortless. It’s easy. Lots of deposits. Your Relationship Bank Account (RBA) is looking good.
And then you had your first fight - that’s a withdrawal, but your RBA is so strong, you hardly even notice it. There are still lots of deposits, so you are ahead.
Now let’s fast-forward a few years, and see what happens.
Most of us stop making the effort, we start taking things for granted. Instead of all 5 love languages, we fall into our default one (and it’s not necessarily how our partner wants to be loved). And then life happens. We fight a bit more, and we probably had a couple of major fights (bigger withdrawals). Moving in together, stress, change or loss of a job, health issues, birth of a child, in-laws, loss in the family - all of those are major withdrawals, and unless you keep adding into your RBA consistently, you gonna find yourself pretty low, at 0, or maybe deep into overdraft.
Here's a problem. Say you $1000 in overdraft - and you save, and you make an effort, and you have $50 to put back in - it’s so little, it doesn’t feel like it makes a difference. You are still down. And there are still other withdrawals - that seems to be a regular thing now. You are fighting more, there's more stress, there’s less connection, there’s less intimacy. You wonder - what happened to us? It used to be fun and it used to be easy.
We don’t really want to “work” on the relationship. We think if it’s right, it should just work. We don’t think like this about any other area of life…. if my car really loved me, it would’t need maintenance, or if I could just choose the right job, I’ll never have to work hard at it… You get the idea.
So where I’m going with it - take a look, and be honest, what’s the status of your Relationship Bank Account?
Do you need a few more deposits?
What counts as a deposit? Please make sure you check in with your partner, otherwise your effort might not be noticed. Also please make sure that you do notice when your parter is making an effort , cause it doesn’t matter how small, a deposit is a deposit and it’ll make a big difference over time.
try a new (or an old favourite) activity together
compliment and appreciate each other
offer your support
find out your partner's love language
repair - when you fight, do you know how to repair efficiently?
have relaxing and connecting time together (when you are not processing the relationship)
have an adventure
be a safe haven for each other
be generous (not just with money, but from your heart, with your time, support, undivided attention, compliments)
learn something together
play your favourite song and dance in the kitchen, like no body’s watching
if you have small kids, maybe it’s taking the kids so your partner can have a nap, or a bath, or work on a project they wanted to work on for weeks, or to just have some uninterrupted alone time.
And don’t forget about your own emotional bank account. If your cup is on empty, you’ve got nothing to give, my friend. You need to take care of you. You’ve got to put your own oxygen mask on first.
So when taking an inventory, there’s you, your partner and your relationship. There are 3 bank accounts, so to speak.
If you are happy with where you are at - you are doing a fantastic job, keep going. Make sure you have a solid maintenance plan.
If you are not so happy with the results - what needs to happen to get you from a negative to a positive account balance? It sure is worth it.
Couples Counselling can be a great way to get your relationships bank account in order. If you have any questions or would like more support, book your free consultation here. I offer online and in person Couples and Individual counselling sessions in Calgary and around the world.