Relationship Fitness

P19 E4: Invest in Your Relationship

Just as you can’t withdraw money from a bank account without sufficient funds, you cannot expect your relationship to thrive without making consistent, meaningful deposits into your emotional reserve. This metaphorical ‘relationship bank account’ is a powerful concept for understanding how our actions and attitudes contribute to the health of our partnerships.

 

In a thriving relationship, indicators such as feeling safe and relaxed, being able to reconcile quickly after disagreements, and giving each other the benefit of the doubt, signify a healthy ‘balance’. These positive signs suggest that there’s enough emotional currency saved up, allowing for occasional misunderstandings or mistakes without causing permanent damage.

 

However, if you start to doubt your partner’s intentions, feel disconnected, or lonely, these could be signs that your relationship account is running low, venturing into the red. Feelings of concern or panic are severe warnings indicating your relationship needs immediate and thoughtful investment to recover and stabilize.

 

Investing in your relationship involves active participation and awareness of your partner’s needs and feelings. Simple actions like returning a kiss, smiling back when smiled at, or embracing your partner’s efforts to uplift you can significantly contribute to your relationship’s health. It’s about acknowledging and appreciating the small gestures, which compound over time and enrich your bond.

 

For example, if your partner cooks your favorite meal, don’t just eat and move on; express genuine gratitude and compliment their effort. Understanding and responding to your partner’s love language—whether it be acts of service, words of affirmation, or physical touch—ensures that your deposits are meaningful and valued.

 

Spontaneous acts of affection like a heartfelt hug or a lingering kiss also add to your emotional savings, creating a buffer for tougher times. When challenges arise, a robust relationship account allows you to draw on this reserve, handle the issue with grace, and move forward without depleting your emotional funds.

 

Moreover, managing your relationship’s finances isn’t always straightforward. Consider the scenario of bringing work stress home. This can be seen as making a withdrawal at a time when perhaps your account isn’t prepared for it. If you’re greeted with warmth and a smile despite your mood, choose to engage with that positive energy. Research shows that emotions are transient unless we choose to sustain them, so by shifting your focus from the stressors of your day to the affection offered, you bolster both your mood and your relationship’s health.

 

In addition, recognize when your partner needs to be heard and understood rather than offer solutions. Often, simply providing space for your partner to express herself without interjecting can be a significant emotional deposit, emphasizing that they are seen and their feelings are valid.

 

Investing in your relationship requires mindfulness, responsiveness, and an ongoing commitment to contribute positively. By regularly making thoughtful deposits into your relationship bank account, you ensure that your partnership not only sustains but flourishes, even through inevitable ups and downs.

 

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Luis Maimoni is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in relationships of all kinds, including men having relationship difficulties. Luis offers a no cost, no obligation consultation.

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