What’s your idea of romance in a relationship?
Movies and Media would make us believe that romance is about the grand gestures like spending an exorbitant amount of money on surprise gifts, trips or dates. However, that’s not what keeps a marriage intact. It’s the small everyday actions and exchanges that keep the passion alive in a relationship. Just talking for a while on a daily basis can be key to a happy marriage.
Most often in a relationship each of us look to get our partner’s attention, support and affection. You can either respond by walking towards it or walking away from it. It has been found that those who take a few steps and walk towards their partners tend to have higher levels of satisfaction in their relationships. It simply means that if you regularly pause from your routine and turn towards your partner at the end of each day when they really require to unload and destress, you will likely have a successful marital relationship.
Turning to your partner with many small gestures like calling and checking in on them during a break, or giving them a call on your way back from work; or asking them how the day went for them and listening to their stories without interrupting and judging them can be great for your relationship. These small actions quickly can turn into a habit, which should never be taken for granted. Remember these small moments of gratitude and appreciation your partner for taking the time to pay attention to you can work wonders.
The more you walk towards and with each other, the more you are investing in your emotional bank account. This simply means that as you fill up your emotional bank with positive experiences, you build a cushion to help you maintain your positivity during times of conflict and stress.
The more positive balance you have in your emotional bank account the more you can afford to lose at the time of stress or conflict. What I mean is you won’t be depleted and exhausted and get to emotional bankruptcy soon.
How do you build your emotional bank balance? Simply keep a daily account of your emotional connections with your partner. Give yourself one point each time you walk towards your partner with a small gesture, like a call to check-in, asking how the day went for them, or simply talking to them uninterrupted and listening for 20 minutes. Take away one point if you turned away from them. At the end of the day tally your emotional balance sheet. Is it positive or negative. It’s important to avoid turning this into a competition, instead, you should simply focus on what you can do for your relationship, not on what your spouse is or isn’t doing.
Another way to build up your emotional bank account is to have a conversation each evening about your day. For this to work, both partners must be in the frame of mind to have these conversations. Some are ready to talk as soon as they are back from their work while others may need to unwind a little after the day.
The lockdown does provide you with a great opportunity to start building your emotional bank account and accumulate so much wealth that will stand you in good stead for a lifetime.
So let’s look at what you can do for starters.
- Keep aside at least 30 minutes a day for talking – it has to be without any other distraction around like talking while watching TV or doing any other chores at home.
- Be curious – show genuine interest by encouraging your partner to talk more, practice active listening
- Always maintain eye contact – do not turn away when your partner is talking to you. You might be listening but turning away ends up making your partner feel that you are not interested
- Keep your partners interests above your own
- Never give advice unless asked for
- Keep the conversation positive – this time is not to score any brownie points with each other and a competition. Talk about some good things which you have done together or plan to do. Get into the mood.
- Keep all conversation in the ‘We mode’ and not ‘Me mode’. You are in this together
- Take turns throughout the conversation
- Show affection
Lastly, remember that marriage is like figure skating pairs. Sometimes you are drawn to your partner while other times you pull away. Every time you do that you contribute positively to the performance. Everyone has different needs, some need connection and others need independence. Even if you and your partner have different needs, your marriage can work if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to talk things through. As in figure skating pairs, while participants put on a show together in partnership, they also allow the time and space for each to showcase their individual moves as well.
To make the championship grade, the figure skating pairs invest a lot of time with each other not just practicing the moves but also in understanding each other well. A rich emotional bank account guarantees a great performance.
Do not make the mistake of assuming that spending physical time with each other during the lockdown is in anyway going to add positively to your emotional bank account. You need to connect on an emotional level. You need to spend time talking.
Are you ready as a pair to invest in your emotional bank account?