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If You Want A Happy Relationship, You Need To Treat It Like Your Bank Account

If You Want A Happy Relationship, You Need To Treat It Like Your Bank Account

While the formative years of a relationship are usually incredibly positive, it is hard to imagine any changes later on. As feelings change and relationships grow to take on greater responsibilities, it is easy to become mired in a cycle of negativity that overwhelms any feelings of passion and love that remain.

We have all experienced this. Initial feelings of passion and excitement slowly give way to sadness, apathy, and, in some instances, resentment. These feelings can create a relationship with more negative interactions than positive ones, which exacerbates the existing issues further and places an intolerable strain on each individual involved.

Why You Should Imagine Your Relationship as Though It Is a Bank Account

In order to understand this further, let’s consider another scenario where it is possible for negative transactions to outnumber positive ones. If you have a bank account, for example, you may have experienced periods where your outgoings and monthly payments are greater than your earnings during the same period. As you will know, such a scenario will leave you in the red, either trapped in a predetermined overdraft or indebted to the lender.

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This type of situation cannot continue indefinitely either, as a continued excess of negative transactions will eventually force you to foreclose on the account.

In order to avoid this, you must adopt a proactive approach to resolving the issue, while taking practical steps to build the number of positive transactions in the account and restoring a healthy balance. This requires courage and understanding, while it also encourages you to constantly work on your financial management and seek out creative methods of maintaining a positive balance.

The Golden Ratio: 5 Times More Positive Interactions Than Negative Ones

This is a principle that can be applied directly to your relationship, as research conducted by Dr. John Gottman underlines. His theory is based on the basic principle that the existence of ongoing and unresolvable issues within a relationship is perfectly normal and healthy, and that the key is to balance this with positive interactions.

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According to Gottman, the golden ratio for a healthy relationship is to experience at least five times more positive interactions than negative ones[1], as this creates a balance that can sustain a union even through testing times.

This is often referred to as a “relationship bank account”, where an excess of negative interactions and withdrawals (or conflicts) quickly drains any credit that exists and edges the union close to zero or the precipice of a break-up. If you are able to establish a healthier balance and the type of ratio referenced above, however, you can build the credit and level of sentiment within the relationship, creating a safety net that minimizes the impact of arguments and ensures that individual issues are kept in perspective.

How to Keep a Positive Balance of Your Relationship Bank Account

While this logic holds true, however, the question that remains is how can couples pursue such a healthy balance? The first step is to recognize the realities of human relationships, which dictate that conflict is inevitable and should be embraced as a key part of adult life. From there, it is easier to manage your relationship while seeking out opportunities to build positive interactions and memories.

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When it comes to forging positive interactions, it is crucial that you focus on your relationship and look to seek out shared passions and hobbies. This ensures that you spend quality time with one another, and ensures that you enjoy positive experiences and interactions that can quickly build credit between two individuals.

This requires effort and application on both sides, of course, while there should also be a willingness to set aside specific periods of time for such activity.

By managing your relationship as though it was a bank account and adhering to Dr. John Gottman’s golden ratio, you can create a positive and sustainable relationship that can survive even difficult periods of time. If you do need any more motivation to follow this path and invest time into cultivating such positive interactions, just consider the consequences of allowing negative interactions to build up and the permanent impact that this can have on relationships.

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Featured photo credit: Sunshine-D / Flickr via flickr.com

Reference

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Last Updated on June 21, 2019

How to Deal with Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

How to Deal with Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

We all lose our temper from time to time. It’s a natural part of our emotions. And expressing anger is actually a healthy thing to do in our relationships with others. Expressing our differences in opinion allows us to have healthy conflict and many times come to an agreement or understanding that works for everyone.

That being said, too much anger is counterproductive. Expressing anger inappropriately can be harmful to relationships, both personal and at work. Inappropriate in this context can be too much anger, too often, or a times that are only going to make things worse, not better. In this article we will look at how to deal with anger and better control your emotions.

Let’s take a deeper look at how to deal with anger.

Expressing Anger: Unhealthy vs Healthy Ways

Anger is a natural and normal part of almost any relationship. This includes relationships with your spouse or significant other, kids, bosses, friends, family, etc. Anger provides us with valuable information, we just have to be willing to listen to it. It clues us in to areas where we disagree with others and things that need to be changed or altered.

3 Common Unhealthy Ways to Express Anger

Here’re some common yet unhealthy ways to express anger that you should avoid:

Being Passive-Aggressive

This is a term many of us are familiar with. Passive-aggressive behavior happens when someone is angry but uses indirect communication to express their anger.

Some of the more common passive-aggressive behaviors include the silent treatment, making comments about someone behind their back, being grumpy, moody, or pouting, or simply not doing tasks or assignments that they should.

This is a passive-aggressive person’s way of showing their anger. Not very productive but extremely common.

Poorly Timed

This is something I’ve been guilty of. I tend to be pretty open and out there with my emotions. As such, I’ve been known to express my anger in a situation where it can’t really do any good.

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An example would be getting angry at one person in front of a crowd of people. All that does is make people uncomfortable and shuts them down. It’s not a healthy way to express anger or disagreement with someone.

Ongoing Anger

Being angry all the time is most often a symptom of something else. It’s healthy and normal to express anger when you disagree with someone. However, if someone is angry most of the time and always seems to be expressing their anger to everyone around them, this won’t serve them well.

As a matter of fact, over time, people will start to avoid this person and have as little contact as possible. The reason being is no one likes being around someone who is angry all the time and it’s a no-win situation.

3 Healthy Ways to Express Anger

What about the healthy ways to adapt? Some healthy ways to express anger in our relationships include:

Being Honest

Expressing your anger or disagreement in an honest fashion. By this, I mean be truthful about what it is that is making you angry. Sometimes this will entail walking away and thinking about it for a bit before you respond. But that’s okay because you want to be honest.

Don’t say you’re mad at something someone did or said when it’s really something else that upset you.

Being Direct

Similar to being honest, being direct is a healthy way to express anger.

Don’t talk around something that is making you angry. Don’t say that one thing is making you angry when it’s really something else. And don’t stack items on top of each other so you can unload on someone about 10 different things 6 months from now.

Be direct and upfront about what is making you angry. Ensure you are expressing your anger to the person who upset you or you are angry at, not to someone else. This is very counterproductive.

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Being Timely

When something makes you angry, it’s much better to express it in a timely manner. Don’t keep it bottled up inside of you, that’s only going to do more harm than good.

Think of the marriages that seem to go up in flames out of nowhere when the reality is someone kept quiet for years until they hit their breaking point.

Expressing anger as it occurs is a much healthier way of using anger to help us guide our relationships in the moment.

How To Deal With Anger

So if you feel angry, how should you deal with it right at that moment?

1. Slowdown

Maybe this has happened to you as well. From time to time, I receive an email at work that makes me so angry that steam is probably pouring out of my ears.

In my less restrained moments, I have been known to fire off a quick response. And that typically has ended about as well as you might imagine.

When I actually walk away from my computer and go do something else for a while, I am able to calm down and think more rationally. After that happens, I am able to respond in a more appropriate and productive manner.

2. Keep It to the “I’s”

As in it’s you that is upset. You are upset because of something. Don’t accuse people of making you upset. You don’t want to place blame by saying something like “You always want to upset me because you don’t put away your dishes”. Say something more like “Having dirty dishes laying on the counter upsets me – can you work with me to come to a solution?”.

When you are accusatory towards someone, all that does is increase the tension. This doesn’t usually do anything except make your anger rise higher.

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3. Workout

I have definitely used this technique when I have been upset. If something happens that angers you, see if you have the opportunity to burn off some of the anger.

Being able to hit the gym to get a hard workout in is great. If this isn’t an option, see if you can go for a run or a bike ride. If you are at work when you become angry and the weather permits, at least go outside for a brisk walk.

Besides working some of your anger out through exercise, this also helps to give your mind a chance to work through some ways to address what it is that upset you.

4. Seek Help When Needed

There are times when we could all use some help. Life can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s perfectly fine to seek some help from an expert if it will help you get back to a healthy balance.

If you find that you are angry all the time, it might be a good idea to go talk to an expert. They can give you some sound advice and ideas on how to get your anger to a more manageable, and healthy level.

How To Control Your Emotions

Having out of control emotions other than anger can lead to similar challenges in our lives. If you find yourself with emotional overflow here’s some ideas to help get your emotions under control.

Practice Relaxation

We all seem to lead incredibly busy lives, and that’s a good thing if we are loving the life we are living. That being said, it is very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being to take time out for relaxation. That can mean spending time doing things that help us calm down and relax like being around people we enjoy. It could be making time for things that help bring us balance like a healthy diet and exercise.

Many people incorporate techniques such as yoga and meditation to calm their minds and balance their emotions. Whatever your choice is, ensure you take time out to relax.

Laugh

Incorporating humor and laughter on a regular basis will help keep emotions in check and things in a healthy perspective.

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Remember, life isn’t a race. It’s a journey meant to be enjoyed fully along the way. Make sure you take time out to laugh and have fun.

Surround yourself with people that like to laugh and enjoy life. Don’t work at a job that just causes you stress which can lead to anger. Work at something you enjoy doing and brings a smile to your face.

Be Grateful

I was just having this conversation with one of my daughters who was stressed about school. We talked about the importance of being grateful for the many things in our lives that we seem to take for granted.

It’s easy to focus on the bad in life and the things that cause us negative emotions. It’s vitally important to remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in life that bring us positive emotions, things that we easily forget because we get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life.

Take time out each day to remind yourself of a few things you are grateful for.

Final Thoughts

Life can be overwhelming at times. We seem to have constant pressure to achieve more and to always be on the go. People we are around and situations we are in can cause stress, anger, and negative emotions. At times, it can seem to be too much and we get angry and our emotions start to get out of control.

During these times, keep in mind that life is an incredible journey, full of wonder and things that bring us smiles and joy. When you find yourself angry more often than is healthy, take time out to remember the good things in life — the things that we seem to forget easily yet bring us so much positive energy and emotions.

Use some of the tips included here to help with how to deal with anger and better control your emotions. You’ll be glad you did.

More Resources About Anger Management

Featured photo credit: Patrick Fore via unsplash.com

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