Nothing is more important to nurturing relationships than the small daily acts of affection, concern and thoughtfulness that help us to feel cared about.
We need to know that our Love Bank Account has a credit balance. This helps us to be open to hearing criticism or complaints as we know we are loved and cared about, “good enough & lovable.”
For some of us actions speak louder than words, others need the words as well as gestures. Caring can be shown through words, gestures, gifts, thoughtful acts, and affectionate pleasurable times together. Often when we offer acts of caring, we give our partner what we would like to receive rather than specifically what our partner prefers. For example, when you are ill, do you like to be waited on, fussed over, or left alone until you get well? For birthdays and holidays, do you love to be remembered with gifts or just a card or a call (or nothing)? Is this what your partner prefers? Some of us are like cactuses and need water only once a month, others are like African violets that need daily care. We need to learn and accept our differences in the way we liked to be cared for. It is important to know these answers and then, with goodwill, with pleasure in being able to give pleasure as well as to receive it, to be able to give and receive caring behaviors to nurture a love relationship.
“I don’t care what you think!” are hard words coming from your partner. When you criticize, your partner’s listening may depend on the amount of “money” in his or her LOVE BANK. If the account is very low, any attempt to influence will feel like a serious overdraft. When the account is high, partner will feel, “He loves me a lot and is trying to tell me something important…I want to listen.”
You can make deposits in partner’s Love Bank by giving compliments, appreciations, gratitudes, positive observations, and caring behaviors. The 5-to-1 rule states that you must make 5 positive deposits in the Love Bank before you make 1 withdrawal by criticizing or making a negative observation. Yet, sometimes you must say critical and negative things. So, get busy saying all of those lovely compliments and doing all those warm caring behaviors. Help your relationship grow in love and share in truth. (A hidden bonus: positives are fun to say and do!!)