In our previous blog “Water Often” we discussed the importance of nurturing your spouse by making sure that you provide for them daily, much like a plant needs water to survive. But why it is so important to provide that on a daily basis? Why is it needed?
All of you engineer types will really like this: Our relationships can be impacted with two types of charges – positive charges or negative charges. When we do or say things that convey love, support, and encouragement, those are positive charges that energize the relationship in a positive way. When we say or do things that belittle each other or make hurtful comments, those are negative charges that harm the relationship and decrease our connection.
So if I make one unkind, thoughtless comment to my wife, I only need to make one kind comment and she’ll be fine, right? One act of kindness balances the effects of one unkind act; that sounds logical. NOT!!!
In his book Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, John Gottman, professor of psychology at the University of Washington, tells us that it takes FIVE positive actions/interactions to overcome the effect of ONE negative interaction. From his findings we can see that it is not a one to one ratio.
Think about it from your own personal experience. Think back to a time when someone made a particularly negative remark to you. It may have been when you were in school, or perhaps it was something one of your parents said to you. As you reflect on it I’m sure that you will remember how much it hurt you. Certainly, one positive comment would not begin to outweigh the deep hurt that you felt. Even if the person apologized and asked for forgiveness, it didn’t immediately take away the pain that you felt. Reflect on these:
- 1 Thessalonians 5:15 “…but always try to be kind to each other…”
- 2 Timothy 2:24 “… (he) must not quarrel; instead he must be kind to everyone…”
- 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 “Love is patient, love is kind… It is not self-seeking… It keeps no record of wrongs…”
Many authors in their books on marriage refer to this dynamic being like a bank account. You need to continually make deposits in order to keep a positive balance. If all you make are withdrawals, you will soon overdraw your account. To complete the analogy, you will need to make at least five deposits for every withdrawal.
- “You really look nice today” – Ding – Deposit.
- “That was such a great dinner” – Ding – Deposit.
- “I love spending time away with you” – Ding – Deposit.
- “Thanks for taking care of me when I was sick. You’re the best nurse ever” – Ding – Deposit.
- “How come you never get the dishes done” – BONG – Withdrawal. BIG withdrawal.
Remember that we all put our foot in our mouth occasionally. Just remember to have plenty of positive deposits in the account so it is never empty.
And try to keep your foot out of your mouth!
Next time: Some great ideas on how to have a full Bank Account