Got a message ‘Your account has been credited with xx Rs’ on salary days; days bank pays interest; or when someone pays you back an amount long due? How does it feel? It feels good right! Most of us work to earn and depend on our income to live our cherished dreams of having our own house, car, buying our favourite food, funding the studies of our kids and other essentials of livelihood. Tracking our physical needs is relatively easier task, after completing our education we get jobs or some of us work independently earning money and thereby fulfilling our physical living needs.
But most of us are clueless when it comes to feel “fulfilment” in our intimate relationships. Yes, with someone you want to share your life with. The ‘one’. I heard Jiddu Krishnamurti say that most human beings aspire to have ‘one’ in their life but are faced with a lifelong anguish in searching that love and sticking to it. In between are lifelong, daily struggles of conflicts, misunderstandings, doubts where every little action and situation creates a ripple of mistrust in our belief on the strength and quality of our relationships.
‘Have I made the right decision?’
‘Is he / she the right person for me?’
‘Should I leave him / her?’
Most of us fight, makeup, and promise to not repeat it again, to live in harmony and bliss in our relationship with our partner only to wake up next day to find a completely new/ similar situation arising again and fuelling the seeds of doubt in our mind about our partner. While I prefer to not give a certain “status” to the experience of co-living with another man right now, but I do see myself going through the ups and downs in this phase of relationship. An hour back I saw him talking to his female friend, a very normal, spiritual, heart to heart conversation and I found a tinge of envy in my heart. It helped to stay in “awareness” and “attunement” to my inner feelings in a relatively “detached” state where I become the observer and not the doer. It helped in responding to the situation and not reacting to it. Ayush calls it ‘hosh’.
But another vital and equally important thing, I have learned is to build the emotional bank account of this relationship. Bollywood has dramatically distorted our notions of romance and we think it is that ideal of never ending bliss and ‘complete understanding’ with another person who we call ‘the one’. But in reality, every relationship is dotted with sprinklings of conflicts, disagreements, and misunderstandings some of which happen due to sheer personality differences of 2 people in a relationship, their individual outlook and perspective of adjudging things and people. What do you do then when you know that conflict is inevitable?
You prepare for the bad times by storing goodwill and happiness just like a famish when we store food grains. The correlation is simple.
Real-life romance is fuelled by the ways in which you interact with each other in the little moments that make up your day. It is kept alive through a joined effort to stay connected. It is created each time you let your partner know that he or she is valued and loved by you.
Romance grows in the kitchen when he asks, “Should I make tea for you?” It grows in the verandah when he shares, “I got a dream,” and she responds, “That’s wonderful, tell me more about it!” instead of shrugging it off and hooked to her WhatsApp. In the former, the partner responded to a bid with “turning towards,” and in the other, they “turn away” – a choice that sends their mate a message about whether or not they are attentive, caring, supportive. These everyday moments can either be a source of stability or a source of stress.
In relationships, these seemingly unimportant moments are the ones that are most important of all. They force you to make a quick decision, often entirely unaware that it may play a role in determining the strength or weakness of your emotional connection! If you don’t pay attention to these little moments, your failures to turn towards each other build up, and you risk undermining the strength of your bond. Luckily, there is a way to avoid putting your relationship in jeopardy – Emotional Bank Account.
EBA is a bank account for storing emotional experiences (could be positive/ negative) with your partner. In that account you have:
- Credits – The times when your partner turns toward you emotionally
- Debits – The times when your partner turns away from you emotionally
Your Emotional Bank Account balance is a way to monitor how you feel about your relationship and it largely depends on the number of events of turning towards vs turning away.
Partners who characteristically turn towards each other rather than away are putting money in the bank. 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.
How you deal with conflict is largely dependent on how nourished or depleted your emotional bank account is. The more positive deposits (incidents of turning towards) into your account, the more secure you both will feel in your relationship and the more likely you are to stop fighting, forgive, and move on. The more negative debits or turning away situations in your relationship, the less secure and happy you will feel about your relationship and the more likely you are to disconnect when problems arise.
Examples of Building Emotional Bank Account
Fondness and Appreciation – We all need to hear this. No one ever gets sick of someone telling them how much they appreciate them. The more specific you can be the better.
Accepting influence from your partner – Try out your partner’s suggestions with enthusiasm. It also keeps the relationship on equal ground. This is really good for your relationship.
Support your partner’s dreams – It’s easy to forget about one’s dreams in the struggles of life. Work, house and kids tend to take over. You can initiate to know more about your partner’s dreams and be supportive of them.
Sliding door moments – These are just a couple of minutes in a relationship but this is where trust is built. For example, you have asked your partner to assist house cleaning. But your partner ignores your effort and instead chats on phone with someone.
Complain don’t blame – In a conflict situation, too often we hit the character of a person instead of focusing on the problem at hand and discussing them.
Just as it’s never too late to deposit into your savings account, it’s never too late to deposit into your emotional bank account. So, start today.