A lot of our clients who come to us in a tough spot tell us that they put off nurturing their relationship because they just didn’t have the time.
It’s true. People are busier than ever. Our schedules are at maximum capacity, and our bandwidths are overloaded.
But here’s the deal: having a thriving relationship is actually so energy-giving, time-saving, and fun. Promise.
In fact, so many relationship challenges can fade away when we simply start putting in more of the good stuff, nurturing our love in positive ways, and tending to what’s called a “Love Account.”
We are sure you’ve found this to be true. You bring up a challenge or frustration when you are already feeling disconnected — and it easily turns into an argument and disconnects you even more. And then it takes hours or days to recover.
On the contrary, when you are connected and bonded, little frustrations can be expressed and transformed in 30 seconds. Yes, the status of your Love Account makes that big of a difference.
So what exactly is a Love Account?
Imagine that, in every interaction with your beloved, you are either making a deposit or a withdrawal.
When your Love Account gets low, you take things personally, resentment builds, you feel disconnected, and something stressful can turn into a disaster.
Nearly every couple who comes to us for support suffers from a low Love Account.
If you have a large amount of savings in your Love Account, it leads to incredible resilience, deeper connection, mutual respect, a spirit of teamwork, romance, and a significantly easier time recovering from challenges.
So how do I keep my Love Account filled? Here are 3 key tips!
(1) Aim for a ratio of 20:1 positive to negative in your interactions.
Dr. John Gottman, leading researcher in the science of relationships, has found that, during positive times, you want a ratio of 20:1 positive to negative interactions. During stressful times, you still want a 5:1 ratio.
Why is it important for there to be that much more positive than negative?
All of us humans have what is called a “negativity bias.” This means that the painful moments, harsh comments, critical tone, etc. stick more quickly and deeply.
In fact, research done at Ohio State University shows that there is a greater surge in electrical activity in our brains when something negative occurs than when something positive does. Which makes sense — we are wired for survival, and our brains are always scanning for possible threats to keep us out of harm’s way.
Surely you’ve experienced this first hand. If three positive things happen in your day and one challenging one does, what do you find yourself thinking about at the end of the day? We tend to overlook a lot of the good and focus on the negative.
This means we have to always be filling our Love Account.
The great news is that filling up your Love Account can be fun – if you know how to effectively fill it up.
This leads us to #2.
(2) Become a master of the one-of-a-kind art of loving your partner.
We all give and receive love differently, and it’s important to love and support your beloved in the ways THEY want to be loved and cared for, not in how YOU want to be loved. To do this, we recommend actually interviewing each other about how you love being loved.
Here are some possible questions to ask each other (be sure to take good notes!)…
What kinds of expressions (think compliments, appreciation, sweet texts, cards, apologies, praise, kind words, empathy, etc.) do you most love receiving?
What kinds of activities do you enjoy doing together and feel most loved when I engage in them with you?
What kinds of physical affection do you enjoy from me (hugs, holding hands, snuggling, back rubs, etc.)?
How can I best make you smile or laugh?
Is there a way I can help you feel more safe and secure in this relationship?
Is there a way I can help you feel more accepted, encouraged, and trusted?
What are your favorite kinds of gifts to receive?
Do you enjoy surprises? If so, what kinds?
Are there specific things I can help you with that would especially mean a lot?
How else could you feel really loved by me?
(3) Fill up your Love Account in small, medium, and large ways.
One trap we see couples fall into is waiting for a big vacation until they nurture themselves and each other. By the time it comes, they are starving for it. While this is completely understandable, and romantic getaways are important, we are huge advocates for nurturing your love every single day.
A thriving relationship truly is made up of all the small things, moment to moment.
For us, we’ve ritualized some small, medium, and large ways of filling our own Love Account. Every evening, we take a walk and are committed to it being positive and not about logistics. We also each share 5 things we appreciate about each other from the day. Every Friday night, we have a date night and love exploring new places together. And at least every couple of months, we unplug from our lives and travel somewhere fun.
If we just hope for some magical window of time to open up when we can be fully present and intentional, we could end up waiting a lifetime. However, when we ritualize connection, it helps guarantee that it will happen and becomes a wonderful part of our daily and weekly routine.
Plus, if the other people in your life (like your kids, colleagues, and friends) know to expect it, they will more readily adapt to it as well and support you in it.
We lovingly recommend having a conversation right away about some small (10-30 minutes every day), medium (1+ hour every week), and large (1+ day together every season) ways you can ensure that you nurture your connection and enjoy life together much more fully.
Make these rituals fun things you can look forward to — turn them into your soft landing place and where you go to be replenished and renewed!
Remember, if you are not currently tending to your relationship, chances are, things will start to deteriorate over time. But when you nurture your love and bring in more of the good stuff, a lot of the challenging stuff just naturally fades away! How cool is that?!
It’s the BEST feeling to watch our clients reconnect and find themselves and each other again. If you are ready to stop taking withdrawals and start making more deposits and could use some extra support, we specialize in helping couples fill back up their Love Account and are here for you fully!
We warmly welcome you to sign up for a FREE 20-minute consultation to learn more about our services HERE, to check out our counseling and coaching HERE (available anywhere in the world for both individuals and couples), and to learn more about our signature Thrive in Love retreat HERE (coming up this fall, and registration is open and filling)!
Happy start to your summer! May you fill your days with so much kindness, love, and joy towards each other that there is no longer room for the things you truly don’t have time for — like arguing.
Infinite Love and Joy,
PS: There is an amazing opportunity to fill up your Love Account at the Awakening Your Joy Potential retreat, led by Christine. Over the course of two days, you will do a complete positivity reset in your life, return to the person you love being, feel joy flowing through you again, reignite a sense of inspiration and hopefulness, and learn the scientifically-proven roadmap to create true and lasting joy — from the inside out. Learn more and register here (and there is a special buddy discount when you come together!) >> joypotential.com/retreat
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