An interesting fact is that according to research, partners in a romantic relationship are emotionally available only 9% of the time. The rest 91% of the relational interactions are open to miscommunication. Fighting in any relationship is normal but how to fight is something to be learned over time with continuous practice. This is where having an Emotional Bank Account will be your savior
Emotional Bank Account
You have deposits and withdrawals in any bank account, right?. Similarly, you can have a bank account for your relationship as well known as the Emotional Bank Account.
According to Gottman, the difference between happy and unhappy couples is how they manage their Emotional Bank Account. More withdrawals can result in feelings of loneliness, and disconnection from the partner. And, more deposits mean that partners give their partners the benefit of the doubt in fights and have a positive perspective (positive sentiment override) towards their relationship.
Trust is built when the focus is on the positive rather than the negative. There will be flaws and conflicts in every relationship but in a good relationship you’re there for your partner and they’re there for you and you acknowledge and accept your differences instead of considering them as the deal-breaker.
These are science-based methods that can make you and your partner have more deposits than withdrawals. These are-
- Being attentive:
Partners can often ignore bids of emotional connection not intentionally but because they’re not mindful. Paying attention is the key here to verbal and especially to the non-verbal bids or cues as partners often expect their partners to know them the best and when their partner does not respond to them they can feel ignored and hurt. E.g. – a simple ‘sigh’ can denote something more that is not put into words. Therefore, turn towards your partner and not away from them.
- Appreciate your partner daily:
This includes the value of gratitude which is one of the most important things to practice to lead a meaningful and satisfying life. Expressing gratitude means you recognize the efforts of your partner and are grateful for it. You don’t have to necessarily express it in an elaborate manner, just a simple text wishing your partner luck for their presentation or thanking them for their support is enough to add to your emotional bank account.
- Talk about stressful situations:
This is extremely important for a marriage to last successfully. This is known as having a stress-reducing conversation. To practice this, you can start with listening to your partner by giving them undivided attention for 20-30 minutes. Ask them questions to understand better how they’re feeling and what is bothering them.
During this time do not discuss your marital issues rather talk about other things that are on your partner’s mind such as work pressure. Make sure your partner can freely express any negative emotion they’re feeling without fearing judgment or a negative response from you. Being affectionate, compassionate, and validating each other’s emotions is necessary.
- Be affectionate towards your partner:
Hugging, kissing, holding hands are all physical gestures that are quite underrated as they’re essential for every couple. These behaviors also become deposits to your emotional bank account. There have been multiple pieces of research providing evidence of how a simple 20-second hug can reduce blood pressure by releasing oxytocin which is one of the feel-good hormones.
Such gestures make partners feel loved and valued. In his study conducted on several people in different countries, John Gottman also showed that couples who kiss each other passionately, say ‘I love you’ to each other often, cuddle frequently, etc. have a great sex life and overall relationship satisfaction.
- Communicate your understanding to your partner:
Many times when our partners share something with us, we are quick to give advice and solve their issues for them but sometimes all that the partner wants is to share their problems and be listened to without any advice or suggestion. They might also know the solution but the point is not that, it is to be understood and get validation for their feelings. Giving unsolicited advice is a big no in such instances.
Instead, respond to their emotions, sit close to them, hold them, and tell them how you understand why they might be feeling this way. If you upset them then take accountability for it and express it to them. If they’re excited about something such as a new project at work, share it with their excitement and celebrate with them. This will build up a reciprocal emotional connection between you and your partner.
It’s fine if you don’t have a rich Emotional Bank Account yet, it’s never too late to start!
The most important thing to remember to improve your relationship is to start small and be consistent in making efforts to increase your positive deposits. You can perhaps start by turn towards their emotional needs as much as possible. Your deposits in your Emotional Bank Account represent the wealth of love, care, and respect you have for one another and your relationship.
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