Elise Fuller, MA, LPC View Entire Blog

Your Love Piggy Bank – Simple Ways to Enrich Your Relationship

Any financial adviser 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.

*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.