Many have sought upwards and low, to the stars and sought advice from the supposed masters of how to make a relationship work. It is the key component to life for which thousands profess assurance, yet hold little wisdom, or covet the knowledge for themselves. What is the key to making a relationship work? What is this hidden secret to be able to enjoy the fruits of a close, romantic bond with another? John Gottman searched for this key, this component of successful romance. His leading theory: the emotional bank account.
What is this bank account? Is it an actual account you open with an establishment for funding? No, it is similar but purely a part of the relationship. Love and the ability to emotionally connect is built upon the continuous, small gestures of positive interaction and affectionate actions over time. This ‘increases’ the amount stored within your emotional bank account. Through these daily, positive interactions, couples will find themselves to be generally in a much more kind and happy relationship as the partners are much more able to emotionally connect with one another.
A fascinating thing to consider is that most conflict in good relationships, if not entirely, are never quite about actions of the other partner. Instead, they are built upon external influence and an inability to emotionally connect with one another. With more conflagration and confusion, the relationship undergoes stress without identifying the key problem. It is said, according to Gottman, it requires at least five positive interactions to make up for one negative one. Negative interactions are far easier to remember, as they hold much larger effects on the system in smaller amounts. But this may be mended with proper tending to your own emotional bank account.
Good couples understand that this is what constructs a proper relationship: the consistent positive influence one has over another, and repairing to make up for the negative interaction. They communicate whenever they feel less effective at emotional connection, and mend bonds. Conflict is a necessary evil when undergoing a truly intimate bond with one another. Conflict shows growth, and interaction. However, the successful couples learn to mend broken fences and to maintain their emotional bank account, despite the struggle. Disagreement is not the end of the world, and people learn to cooperate and meet each other halfway.
The emotional bank account, as a conceptual way to visualize interaction, is a useful tool in order to practically view your romantic bond with someone. Smaller, more consistent positive influence is far more powerful than grandiose gestures of immense affection. It requires thought, effort, and much practice. However, with enough commitment and time, you and your partner will be able to maintain your account to wonderful surplus. After all, who doesn’t like romantic profit?