How to invest in your emotional bank account in order to strengthen and improve your relationship and build trust
Whereas Dr. John Gray refers to a term he calls our “love tank”, Stephen Covey in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” refers to a term he calls our “Emotional Bank Account”.
The Emotional Bank Account is a metaphor that describes the amount of trust you build up in a relationship. When you do something positive for another person, Covey compares this to a deposit for that person in their love bank. Deposits accumulate in your love bank and build trust and goodwill. On the other hand, when you do something negative toward another person, Covey compares this to making a withdrawal from that person. When withdrawals exceed deposits, the account is overdrawn much like a bank account. Your trust deteriorates and so does your relationship. In order to sustain a high level of trust and keep your relationship strong, you need to make continual deposits.
What is a deposit? It is important to note that the recipient needs to define what a deposit is. For one person, receiving flowers will be considered a deposit and for another, it will be positive feedback. You have to understand what your partner needs and wants before you evaluate your Emotional Bank Account. Once you have determined what constitutes a deposit, you need to ensure that they are frequent and consistent.
One of the ways you can determine what your partner considers to be a deposit is to understand the “Five Languages of Love” by Gary Chapman. Chapman explains that every person uses five ways to express and experience love. The five love languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. If your partner’s love language is quality time, then spending quality time with him/her will be considered a deposit. If your partner’s love language is physical touch, then making an effort to touch him/her throughout the day will be considered a deposit. If your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, then giving him/her genuine positive feedback will be considered a deposit.
I find the combination between Gary Chapman’s love language theory and Stephen Covey’s Emotional Bank Account to be a great combination to get a better understanding of both of these methods to improve your relationship with your partner.
You can use the following chart to evaluate your deposits and withdrawals. Whatever you do, don’t use it as a scorecard.
Emotional Bank Account Workbook
The following Emotional Bank Account workbook will help you get a better understanding of where your relationship bank account stands and how you can improve it. The PDF is typeable so you don’t need to print the workbook in order to use it.