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.
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.
According to Gottman, the golden ratio for a healthy relationship is to experience at least five times more positive interactions than negative ones, 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.
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.
Featured photo credit: Sunshine-D / Flickr via flickr.com
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