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Managing The Couple's Emotional Bank Account




As a couples therapist, I often use the concept of an "emotional bank account" to help my clients understand the importance of building and maintaining positive emotional connections in their relationship.


The emotional bank account is a metaphorical term coined by Stephen Covey, which refers to the trust that partners build in a relationship through positive interactions and acts of kindness. Just like a normal bank account, couples need to make regular deposits in the emotional bank account to maintain a positive balance. This means that partners need to make consistent efforts to build and maintain trust, intimacy, and connection with one another.


But how do you even make such deposits? In a romantic relationship, partners can do that by showing appreciation, expressing affection, and engaging in activities that create positive emotions such as joy, excitement, and satisfaction. These deposits are essential for building trust and emotional intimacy between partners.


Make sure you don't get into the red numbers by making too many withdrawals from your emotional bank account. Negative interactions such as criticism, defensiveness, and contempt tend to make withdrawals.. Over time, these negative interactions can erode the trust and emotional connection between partners, leading to chronic conflict and dissatisfaction in the relationship. Of course, some withdrawals are unavoidable because we are not perfect.


I encourage my clients to create a habit out of making regular deposits into their emotional bank account. This can involve engaging in activities that create positive emotions, expressing gratitude and appreciation for one another, and engaging in acts of kindness and support. By building a strong emotional bank account, couples can weather the inevitable conflicts and challenges that arise in any relationship.


At the same time, I also help my clients recognize when they are making withdrawals. By becoming aware of negative patterns of interaction and communication, couples can work to make fewer withdrawals and instead focus on making more deposits.


Overall, the emotional bank account is a useful concept for couples to understand the importance of building and maintaining positive emotional connections in their relationship. By focusing on making regular deposits into their emotional bank account, couples can build trust, intimacy, and connection that can sustain their relationship over the long term.

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