Dr. Deb’s Mental Health Vitamin: How to bank on having a healthy marriage
By Dr. Deb Wade
GCU Vice President, Counseling and Psychological Services
A healthy marriage is much like a robust savings account. You know how it works … when deposits outnumber withdrawals, you end up with a positive balance in the black, often with added interest to boot! And you have to be careful that any withdrawal does not take the account into the red … the negative balance!
Marriage, when it is rich and fulfilling, is a model of an account in which the deposits are numerous and the withdrawals, if any, are balanced by adding more and more deposits. So what is it that constitutes a hearty marriage that is sturdy and prosperous? Deposits!
Ask your mate: “What are some things that will make you feel especially loved by me?” Listen to the response with your ears and your heart, then get busy making deposits!
You see, sometimes we THINK we know what will hit the bull’s-eye, but unless our spouse really defines the bull’s-eye, how can we be sure?
To my knowledge, none of us is clairvoyant, so the best way to be certain is to pick his/her brain! Spend time getting a Ph.D. in your mate … ask questions, be observant, listen well, then execute the plan!
On the other side of the savings ledger are withdrawals. Unfortunately, in the marriage “bank account,” a withdrawal is felt to a much greater degree than the deposits are. In fact, one withdrawal can deplete your account!
To avoid getting your account in the red, I recommend you count your deposits to your withdrawals at a 10:1 ratio … then your “account” won’t suffer, and you will continue to be “in good standing.”
Let’s review what withdrawals may look like:
- A critical remark
- A hurtful comment
- A “joke” at your mate’s expense
- Lack of appreciation
- Taking your mate for granted
- No/low emotional intimacy
- “Reporter” talk only
- No quality time together
- Inattention to personal beauty/handsomeness and hygiene
- Sarcasm with words or facial reaction
Conversely, some examples of deposits may be:
- Quality time
- Sincere appreciation
- Terms of endearment
- Knowledge (and action) toward your mate’s love language
- Elevation (bragging about your mate)
- Arranged “surprises”
Of course, we want to have bank accounts that are hearty, prosperous and flourish and grow over time! We know that a great savings account pays dividends in the long run! Marriage – with an even greater investment of your time, attention, energy and focus – also will pay dividends!
Commit to having no wimpy savings record on your marriage’s ledger! Rather, make it your priority …
- To have consistent and numerous deposits
- To have a quick response to an “accidental withdrawal”
… and you will have a marriage that thrives, flourishes and is prosperous and robust! Now THAT’S a great return on your investment!