Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tip #20: Ideas for Building Successful Relationships

Consider your emotional bank account.

Several years ago, I went ga-ga over The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In all honesty, I didn't actually make it through the entire book, but I took copious notes on the first few chapters and those key principles revolutionized my life.

Start with the end in mind and plan the smaller steps that align with the end vision. Yes! (Applies to lesson planning, wedding planning, and deciding what to do with your "one wild and precious life").

Be proactive. Stop complaining about the things you can't change and get busy changing the stuff you can. Amen.

And a third principle: think about relationships in terms of an emotional bank account. Your positive actions toward other people serve as deposits in the account. Your negative actions function as withdrawals.

It can be so easy to take Matt for granted because we're in a stable, committed, relationship for life (knock on wood). It can be easy to snap at him when I'm tired or be petty when I'm immature. I have to remember, however, that those actions do work like withdrawals from our emotional bank account.

On the flip side, it's easy to make deposits. Frequently saying thank you, giving little massages, smiling, verbalizing compliments that might otherwise go unspoken, leaving notes, performing an act of kindness, etc. all help build up the relationship. Also, apologizing can do wonders for trying to make up for a withdrawal.

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Geezees Custom Canvas Art said...

Great tips!
I love the last paragraph, especially the line that reads, "Also, apologizing can do wonders for trying to make up for a withdrawal."

Sara said...

This is 100% true! Did you write the personal manifesto also? It's such a simple way to make a relationship work, and yet people forget about it all the time. Kudos to you - and many happy returns on your deposits.

- Sara

Ms. Bunny said...

What a great metaphor and really good advice.

Lauren Mc said...

My fiance and I are in the middle of trying to get a mortgage and buy a house in the new city we'll be moving to for me to go to grad school, so with all that stress and ensuing frustration this advice comes at a very good time!

Ashley McElwee said...

You have such great posts on how to stay sane while planning a wedding. Whenever I am reaching freak out level I go to your blog and read because you really speak about what the core of a wedding should be. Thank you!

Therese T. said...

Thanks; good reinforcement, good tips!

luluvillage said...

That's such straightforward and (seemingly!) easy advice- and yet, we don't do it;
I love the 'one wild and precious life' reference-
it's true- this applies to easy and complex stuff equally well,
thank you!

Angie said...

Holy crap. No wonder you're awesome. When I was seeing my therapist and going through a bad relationship she told dropped the same term "emotional bank account." It's always stuck with me. When I started dating my fiance I kept this mind and I think it's been a very helpful tool. Speaking of books to go ga-ga about, I love "Peace is Every Step" by Thich Nhat Hahn. I'll have to check out your read, too.

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