Relationship Fitness

S19 E4: Invest in Your Relationship

In Episode Four titled “Invest in Your Relationship,” host Vince Vasquez discusses with Luis Maimoni, a licensed marriage and family therapist, how relationships are similar to bank accounts: what you invest, you benefit from. They explore practical ways to nurture relationships by recognizing and responding to partners’ efforts with empathy and appreciation, emphasizing the importance of not merely reacting during bad moods but actively contributing positively. This episode provides actionable insights on maintaining a healthy emotional balance in relationships, setting the stage for further discussions on understanding and valuing partners.

Guest 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. Schedule a visit via his website: LuisTheTherapist.com

Vince:

welcome to relationship workout for many podcasts dedicated to helping men be intentional and choosing a better partner and being a better partner for the person they choose season 19, building and keeping commitments. Episode four: Invest in your relationship.

I’m here with Luis Maimoni who is a licensed marriage and family therapist for people in all kinds of relationships. And in this episode — Invest in your Relationship — The key theme is your relationship works like a bank account. You only get what you put in. 

What do you, what do you say about that Luis

Luis:

I say that if you go to a bank and write a check for $100 or send a Venmo for $150, that bank is not going to cash that check or honor that payment if you don’t have enough funds, and you are going to face hefty fees. Similarly, your relationship operates the same way, though we often don’t realize it. But speak to people in successful relationships—they often say they put in 120%. This ensures that your ‘relationship bank account’ always maintains a positive balance.

When I look at my relationship bank account, I can’t just pull it up on a screen. However, certain indicators tell me that I have a positive balance. I feel relaxed and safe in my relationship. If we have a minor argument, it doesn’t feel overwhelming, and we reconcile quickly. I give my partner the benefit of the doubt, and she does the same for me. These are all positive signs that there is enough in the bank, meaning it’s okay if we mess up sometimes.

On the other hand, if you start to doubt your partner’s intentions, attribute negative thoughts to behaviors you don’t understand, feel disconnected, or lonely, then your relationship bank account might be dipping into the red. If these feelings intensify to concern or even panic, that’s a bad sign indicating that your relationship is deeply in trouble. The concept is clear, right? I want to discuss how we make deposits into the account, but the main idea is that we need to manage our relational investments wisely. Does that make sense?

Vince:

Yes, absolutely. I appreciated how you mentioned that you don’t necessarily have a dashboard for it, but rather it’s the feelings you experience that indicate the status. For instance, feeling alone likely means you have a negative balance in your relationship. So, how do you make deposits into your relationship?

Luis:

The first step is being aware of your partner. For instance, if your partner comes up to give you a kiss, reciprocate warmly. Don’t dismiss it, especially if she smiles at you—smile back. Maybe you had a bad day, but recognize that your partner is trying to connect with you emotionally. If you’re coming home in a bad mood and she tries to lift your spirits with some positive energy, embracing that effort can greatly impact your relationship. If you ignore her attempts, imagine the negative impact that might have; it’s as if you’re stomping on her open heart.

If you see your partner cooking your favorite dinner, don’t just scarf it down—express genuine appreciation. Compliment the meal, tell her she looks great, or praise her insights on things she’s discussing. Understand her love language, whether it’s acts of service or something else, and respond in kind. Each gesture of appreciation or service adds something positive to your account.

For no reason at all, give her a meaningful hug or a kiss that lasts a few seconds to show your affection. These actions contribute to your ‘relationship bank account,’ helping to build a reserve for when times are tough. We all face challenging times where we might need to ‘withdraw’ from this account. Having a substantial positive balance means that even significant withdrawals won’t break the bank. You give each other the benefit of the doubt, overcome the issue, and move on. It’s all about continuously making deposits so that when you need to make a withdrawal, it’s manageable.

Vince:

In a previous episode, you discussed how it’s the relationship that wins, not the individual. You mentioned the challenge of coming in after a bad day. When your mindset is focused on the relationship winning, you must work through your bad mood. It’s about putting positive attention into your partner rather than reacting negatively just because you’re upset. Even if you’re in a funk, the key is to actively shift your mood and prioritize the relationship’s well-being. Essentially, even when we’re in a bad mood, how do we push ourselves to move past it for the sake of the relationship?

Luis:

Well, it’s not that easy, is it? Sometimes we need something quite powerful. For example, consider the scenario where you’re coming home from work, and despite having time to cool off, you’re still upset. That’s your first deficit: bringing your work stress home and taking it out on your spouse, which is a significant mistake. However, let’s assume you’re not extremely upset, just mildly off. When you walk through the door and see your wife giving you a warm smile, tune into that warmth she’s sharing. Remember, emotions are contagious. If I’m anxious, I might make you feel anxious, but if I feel loved, I can also tune into that love.

Make a conscious decision to recognize and receive the love from your partner. This choice can significantly impact your mood. There’s a point worth mentioning here: research shows that emotions and thoughts don’t last long unless we sustain them. If I keep obsessing over something annoying at work, I’ll only grow angrier. Instead, choose not to dwell on those thoughts; the past is unchangeable, and the future isn’t here yet. Try to arrive home with a neutral mindset so that when your wife greets you with open arms and an open heart, you’re ready to embrace that warmth, feel safe, and loved. It’s a wonderful feeling, even for a man. We should embrace and acknowledge that—it feels good.

Vince:

Do you have any words of wisdom for when the roles are reversed? What should you do when your wife has had a bad day and comes home upset, and you’re the one who feels like the target; when she comes home upset ready to kick the dog, and you’re the dog?

Luis:

Well, I think the first thing to do would be to say, ‘Ouch, don’t kick me.’ Men can often be passive in the face of pain, which I don’t recommend. It’s not healthy, and it’s not good for you. Even though it might have been satisfying for your wife to vent her frustrations on you at that moment, it wasn’t right. So, start with, ‘Hey, don’t do that.’ But then, recognize that she had a bad day. Ask her, ‘Can I take care of you? Do you need a few minutes? What do you need?’ What you shouldn’t do is take over the conversation, start mansplaining, or jump straight into problem-solving mode. Just give her 15 to 20 minutes to express herself, and she’ll probably feel better after that.

Vince:

Yes, that’s what I find as well. This may be a bit of a stereotype, so I’m curious to hear your perspective. It often seems that men can dwell on issues longer than their significant others. If we simply give our partner the space she needs and let her know we’re there to support her—without trying to solve the problem for her—she can move past whatever is bothering her fairly quickly and return to a positive state in the relationship.

Luis:

More than anything else, what women want is to be heard and seen. Men are instinctively driven to solve problems—we’re just wired that way. However, women often feel that they can solve problems themselves; they may already have a solution in mind. They already know what to do. They just need to vent for about 10 minutes, and what they really need is for you to listen. Share some empathy with me, connect with me. I don’t need you to tell me what to do; I already know what to do.

Vince

Good words of wisdom. Alright, that’s going to wrap up this episode, ‘Invest in Your Relationship.’ In the next episode, ‘Pay Attention,’ we’re going to discuss how women are not as mysterious as we may think, which is a great segue from what we just talked about. Thank you, Luis, and we’ll see you in the next episode.

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.

Scroll to Top
Powered by

More Fun, Less Drama