Marci Stiles, LPC-S | Article

Your "Love" Piggy Bank! Simple Ways to Enrich Your Relationships Daily!

Any financial advisor may tell you that the recipe for wealth boils down to one simple ingredient. Save more than you spend! Put more in the piggy bank than you take out! This same rule also applies to the intimacy, passion, commitment, and respect in your romantic relationships. In fact, it can be applied to ALL of your relationships. While knowing this simple rule is a step in the right direction, there is definitely increased success for those who study further. For instance, how does one fill the piggy bank in first place: invest, invent, or sell? And, which investments get you the most return on your money? When conducting couples counseling in Dallas, Texas – I help my clients learn the simple tools to fill their piggy banks of love!

Relationships that demonstrate a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions have proven to be less likely to divorce. For example, surprising your partner with a 5 minute massage just before bed probably deposits into to the piggy bank; while, ignoring your partner as they attempt to show you their new favorite song withdrawals from the piggy bank. If you achieve a 5:1 ratio, not only is it likely that you will notice increased intimacy with your partner, it will sting less when you have conflict or feel unattended to. Think of all the saved up deposits as a cushion or airbag to protect you when an accident occurs. There are endless ways to positively interact with your partner (some take more energy than others); I have provided a more complete list below but here are a few of my favorites to get you started:

Ways to get rich!

1) Build detailed love maps: That is, details about your partner’s life, experiences, and dreams. What is their favorite food, music, game? What are some of their most positive and negative memories as a child? How do they order their hamburger? And, what would they buy if they won the lottery? Spend time talking, without interruptions learning all of these details. In session, I play a sort of newlywed’s game with my couples to test their love maps. In many relationships couples exceed and immediately feel more proud and flattered that their partner has taken the time to know them so well!

2) Reunite at the end of the day and talk about how it went: Talk to your partner about how your day went. Make sure to both get a turn. This is a time when you talk about things or people happening in your life OUTSIDE of the relationship. While gossiping (talking about other people) should be avoided in the workplace it can build intimacy between you and your partner. It creates a sense of “we-ness” or “us against the world” attitude that is great for keeping relationships strong and alive. (Watch for future blogs to describe in more detail the rules for these stress-reducing, end-of-the-day talks)

3) Exercise together: Not only is exercise good for your body it can be good for your relationship. It improves stamina, sleep, and mood. All which positively impact your love connection. Get creative and choose an activity that fits your personalities. Maybe walk in the neighborhood, join a ballroom or country dance class, or make a game out of speed cleaning the house together.

Warning! Avoid keeping score of who has made the most deposits or withdrawals. These activities are not about tit for tat. Some people find it helpful to keep a log of their OWN deposits and withdrawals for a short period of time; this can be helpful to test your own contribution in the relationship. But, keeping a log should be honest and short-term. Avoid logging your partner’s contributions.

For more free marriage counseling information and for a detailed list of the marriage counseling services and more near Dallas, Texas and more that we provide you can visit our website at www.positiveoutlookcounseling.com.

*The tips included in this blog are based on the research and publications of Dr. John Gottman and his team at The Gottman Relationship Institute.

More ideas for how to get rich!

Reunite at the end of the day and talk about how it went.
Make up a grocery list and go shopping.
Cook dinner or bake.
Clean house.
Shop for gifts or clothes (for self, kids, or friends).
Go out without the kids for brunch or dinner.
Read the morning paper together.
Help each other with self-improvement plans, such as a new class, weight loss, exercise, a new career.
Plan and host a dinner party.
Call and/or think about each other during the workday.
Stay overnight at a romantic hideaway.
Eat breakfast together during the work week.
Go to a church, mosque, or synagogue together.
Shovel the walk or do yard work, home repairs, or car maintenance.
Volunteer in the community.
Exercise together.
Go on a picnic or drive.
Spend everyday time with the kids – bedtime, baths, homework.
Take the kids on outings (zoo, museum, dinner).
Attend school functions such as teacher conferences.
Spend time with kin parents, in-laws, siblings.
Entertain out-of-town guests.
Travel together.
Watch TV or videos.
Order take out.
Double-date with friends.
Attend sporting events.
Go out and do a favorite activity, such as bowling, bicycling, hiking, jogging, horseback riding, camping, canoeing, sailing, water-skiing, swimming.
Talk or read together by an open fire.
Listen to music.
Go dancing or attend a concert, nightclub, jazz club, or theater.
Host your child’s birthday party.
Take your child to lessons.
Attend your child’s sporting events or performance.
Pay bills.
Write letters or cards.
Take kids to the doctor, dentist, or emergency room.
Go to a community event, such as a church auction.
Go to a party.
Drive to or from work together.
Celebrate milestones in your children’s lives such as confirmation, graduation.
Celebrate other milestones in your lives such as a promotion, retirement.
Play computer games, surf the Internet.
Supervise your children’s play dates.
Plan vacations.
Plan your future together. Dream.
Walk the dog.
Read aloud out together.
Play a board game or a card game.
Put on plays or skits together.
Do errands together.
Paint, sculpt, make music.
Find time to talk without interruptions so you can truly listen to each other.
Attend a funeral.
Help out other people.
Hunt for a new house or apartment.
Test-drive new cars.
Other ____________________.