How Full is Your Emotional Bank Account?

June 2, 2015

melbourne loving relationship counselling

Uncle Barry and Aunt June have been married for over 20 years.

When they’re out having dinner they never run out of things to talk about.

They sit very closely together and there’s a lot of affectionate touching between the two of them.

Uncle Barry teases Aunt June about her neatness, but his pride in her ability to organize their home is something that he’s always ready to acknowledge.  Aunt June always laughs good naturedly at Uncle Barry’s jokes even if she’s heard them before.  The love they willingly give to each other is heartening and if you translated it into dollars they would be rich.

If we compared Barry and June’s relationship to a bank account, we’d probably all agree that they have achieved a level of abundance that’s enviable.

All of the loving attention they pay to each other adds up to large deposits into the account.

The good nature that they are not afraid to share is also adding to their bank balance.  The love they freely express to each other has yielded high interest over time.  They have become a wealthy couple after years of steady deposits into their account.

An emotional bank account builds trust

emotional intimacy

The way June and Barry were able to yield the highest interest is by building trust.

The more they were able to trust, the deeper the relationship grew.

The more the relationship grew the more they were able to benefit from the rewards they accrued.

How an Emotional Bank Account works

The idea is to keep making deposits and to limit withdrawals.  As in June and Barry’s relationship, the deposits can take the form of paying attention to what each other is saying, to freely complimenting each other on their unique attributes, to showing affection just because you care.

6 principles for depositing into your Emotional Bank Account

By adhering to the following Steven Covey’s Six key principles of making major deposits into your emotional bank account you will minimize risk to your account and at the same time protect yourself against any overdrafts.

trust in relationships

  1. Let the other person know you understand them by expressing empathy and letting them know that you get what they’re all about. This begins to build trust.
  2. Strengthen trust by keeping commitments and showing up when you say you’ll be there. You keep promises, and when you can’t, you explain why you weren’t able to, vowing to work harder in the future to stand by what you say.  It’s important for people to know they can count on you.
  3. You are committed to clarifying expectations. There is nothing more frustrating in a relationship than not understanding what is expected from you.  By being clear and checking to see if the other person understands what you are looking for, you are adding confidence to the relationship.  You will be eliminating any uncertainty that might lead to mistrust.
  4. You understand how important attending to little things such as a pat on the back, or a smile at the right time can be to others. It doesn’t take a large amount of time to praise someone but the result in terms of emotional capital is quite rewarding, and strengthening for the relationship.
  5. You value showing personal integrity. Sound moral character is the foundation upon which relationships can grow.  By showing others that you say what you mean, and you mean what you say, you can be relied upon to follow through with anything you say.
  6. You are always eager to apologize when you make a withdrawal from the emotional bank account you’ve established with another. By letting the person know that your intention was not to breach their confidence and purposely hurt them in any way, you are thereby further strengthening the relationship.

When we make deposits we add capital to the body of trust that becomes the foundation of the relationship.  When we grow in trust with each other we feel confidence in the economy and we continue to make regular deposits into the relationship bank account.  So this increases our bank balance.

What about Withdrawals?

emotional withdrawal

If our partner does something to question our trust, we make a withdrawal.  When we make too many withdrawals our bank balance becomes too low and discord develops.

Sometimes many withdrawals with no deposits to balance our account results in bitterness, discord, and even a breach of the relationship.  The more deposits we make, the greater tolerance we have for any mistakes they might make, and we invest in the relationship that is forming.

By following these clear and simple rules, you will eliminate much of the confusion and prevent any misunderstandings as you forge ahead in your significant relationships.

These principles are also very effective in all of your relationships from the ones you have with your children to co-workers, neighbors, and other members of the community.  If your goal is to develop and cultivate sound emotionally fiscal relationships this is the way to get there.

If you'd like help with your emotional bank account or relationship counselling in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and many others, please get in touch and one of our caring psychologists will be able to assist.