In a relationship, it is vital to consider keeping your emotional bank account firmly in the black. Dipping into the red can lead to disaster.
In her research on how a steady diet of positive emotions can help you thrive in life, Psychologist Dr Barbara Fredrickson, identified that it requires a ratio of three positive emotions to one negative emotion to influence our lives positively.
Similarly, John Gottman’s research found that the magic relationship ratio of positive interactions during conflict to negative, is a five to one ratio. So, if you do something negative to hurt your partner’s feelings, such as using one of The Four Horsemen, you must make up for it with five positive things. He found that those couples in successful relationships put credits into their emotional bank accounts in a ratio of 5:1.
So let’s look at some ideas to create those positive deposits into your partner’s emotional bank account.
1. Show interest in your partner’s world
In the Gottman 7 Principles workshops, we call this making Love Maps, a map of your partner’s likes, dislikes, what’s going on in their day, who they are interacting with, their stresses, and desires. Asking your partner open-ended questions can open the conversation to learn more and deepen your connection.
2. Turn towards your partner
When your partner creates a bid for your attention, you have three ways to respond, turn away and ignore them, be neutral and dismissive or turn towards them with interest. Which do you think will put that credit into their account?
3. Listen deeply
When your partner is talking to you, learn to listen to them deeply. There is no need to fix it if they have a problem, be there for them and reflect on what they are saying so you can make sure you understand them and they feel heard.
4. Show your appreciation
Tell your partner when they have done something you find helpful or loving, and verbalize your appreciation for them, so they will know you have noticed and hopefully do more of it.
5. Speak their love language
Do you know what your partner’s Love language is? Read my post about Love Languages for a deeper explanation. By identifying it, you can do things that will deeply connect with them.
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Don’t dwell on the minor annoyances that come with any relationship. That 69% of unsolvable problems will eat away your love if you dwell on them. Instead, remind yourself of the positive things your partner does for you.
So don’t let your relationship go on autopilot and start to plummet downwards. Consider the many ways you can add to your partner’s emotional bank account so that you can keep a healthy balance to withstand the inevitable negative situations.
Need help keeping your relationship in the black? Connect with me, and we can discuss how I can help you.