I once read an article about how you could compare a relationship to a bank account. Every single kiss, hug, and show of affection or attention can be considered a deposit of love currency into the relationship account. Every single fight, unkind word or lack of appropriate attention and affection can be considered a withdrawal of love currency from the relationship account. As long as a positive balance remains in the account, your relationship is successful (the higher the balance, the more successful). If the balance goes to zero or enters negative territory, your relationship is in trouble. Keep in mind that it takes multiple deposits to offset just one withdrawal. By that I mean that it takes lots of kisses and lots of hugs and lots of attention to overcome just one ugly word spoken in anger.
When in a committed relationship, it can be a challenge to actively show attention and affection on a daily basis. It is so easy to take each other for granted. We let our busy lives get in the way of nurturing our important relationships. Raising children, building a career, and maintaining friendships outside the primary relationship can take time and attention away from a marriage or partnership. Then when something horrific happens, like the explosions in Boston, we realize the importance of our relationships and we take the time to express love and appreciation. We take the time to make a few deposits into the relationship account. Perhaps we should all think about making more deposits and fewer withdrawals.
What many fail to realize is that making deposits into a relationship account can take only seconds of your time. It doesn’t require spending a lot of money or taking hours of time. It doesn’t have to be candy or flowers or cooking an elaborate meal. It is those little things you can do to show your partner that you are thinking of him or her. For example, think about putting a sticky pad in the bathroom drawer. In the morning take a blank note from the pad, write “I love you”, and stick it on the bathroom mirror where your partner will see it. If your partner is having to put in long hours at work due to a special project, then complete one of his or her household chores and let it be a surprise. Plan a picnic in the backyard on a pretty summer night. Plan an activity that you know your partner will enjoy, even if it is something you don’t particularly love. If you are always the one who picks the date night activity, let your partner do it. No date night in your schedule you say? Then plan one!
If you start taking a little time out each day to think about your partner, something amazing will happen. You will find that making those love deposits will cause you to love your partner more. It will keep the love you feel alive and will keep you from taking your relationship for granted.
It is important that you perform your acts of kindness with a generous spirit. Don’t attach “strings” that require your partner to reciprocate. Don’t put unsaid expectations in place and then be angry with your partner when he does not meet your expectations. Let the joy of bringing happiness to your partner be your only reward.
If you are in a long-term relationship, you may be facing some bitterness and resentment. Perhaps you feel that your partner is not holding up his or her end of the bargain. You may be reading this and saying, “I am already doing everything to keep this relationship together, now you want me to do something else!” I understand that sentiment and I have been there myself. My only suggestion is to give it a try. You may find that doing something thoughtful for your partner may help change a cycle of resentment. You may find that your partner responds with a thoughtful gesture. Perhaps together, you both can change your dance of bitterness to a dance of thoughtfulness. Worse case scenario, you will have done something kind for someone you love and that can never be a bad thing.
The other side to the relationship account is making fewer withdrawals. If you are someone who thinks it is okay to yell and call ugly names, please understand how that kind of behavior depletes the relationship account. There are disagreements in every relationship, but it is never okay to yell, scream, throw things or use physical violence. Get some help from a professional if you need help controlling your anger and your behavior.
Lots of people say that they want their relationship to be 50-50. May I suggest every relationship should be 100-100. If both people in the relationship are trying to do things for each other, your relationship account will overflow with the currency of love.