By Maria Hull
The love bank for couples works in the same principles as a savings account. With a savings account you make deposits and your savings grow and you may also receive some interest. If you make more withdrawals than deposits then your account is in debt or you having nothing to draw on. For couples the love bank becomes healthy with positive interactions. Withdrawals happen when couples engage in negative interactions.
Sounds simple right! However, in today’s busy lifestyle this is often forgotten and goes by the wayside after couples have established their relationship. Couples can often remember what it was like when they first met and the things they used to do. Like long walks, talks, holding hands, cooking and eating meals together, looking into each other’s eyes, going to the movies, watching sunsets together, camping, spending time touching and feeling close and having all the time in the world to listen to their new love. The details can be amazing! This can certainly be a great place to start on how to make deposits into the love bank. Remember what you did at the start of your relationship.
John and Julie Gottman refer to this as building your emotional bank account by doing small things often. The Gottmans have studied more than 3000 couples and found that master couples have a high rate of positive interactions with each other and disaster couples are engaging in negative interactions which may include criticisms, defensiveness, stonewalling and contempt. They found that relationships fared much better when positive interactions outnumbered negative interaction with a ratio of 5 to 1. A good reference to this work is in Gottmans book, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.”
Ellie Lisitsa, a writer for the Gottman Institute says, when couples turn towards each other with positive interactions “they are building up emotional savings that can give them a sense of peace and security when they go through hard times. Because they have stored up so much mutual goodwill, they are better able to make allowances for each other when conflicts arise.” You can read Lisitsa’s blog here Apply The Research: Building Your Emotional Bank Account – The Gottman Institute
Here in this short video John Gottman explains well why it is beneficial for couples to make consistent deposits into the emotional bank account.
I like to use the term “Love Bank” in my practice. Usually, when couples come to see me they are not communicating well and fun is something they want back into the relationship. Introducing The Love Bank to couples can sometimes incite spontaneous playfulness and if not I do encourage couples to have fun with this concept. We will usually brainstorm filling up a blank love heart in session.
However, your relationship doesn’t need to be at the point of seeing a therapist to make use of the love bank. It is a great freshen up if you are finding your relationship in a bit of a monotonous rut.
Here are some tips.
- A couple’s love bank is unique to that couple.
- It is the responsibility of each person in the relationships to make regular deposits.
- Remember what it was like and the things that you did at the start of your relationship.
- If you don’t know what your partner likes or appreciates, take some time to find out and ask them.
- Take time in the morning and the evening to connect and check in with each other.
- Whenever you can, make your connections meaningful and thoughtful.
- Think about creating memories together.
- Whenever you can, find time to relax and have fun together.
Maria Hull is a Relationship Counsellor in Noosa. She holds a Masters degree in counselling and works with couples, individuals and families. Maria also hosts a weekly local radio program on Noosa FM Radio Mondays 8-10pm called ‘The Mambo Cafe and Juice Bar.’ Here she shares her love of latin music and refreshing relationship insights.