A common statement I hear from couples who are having problems in their marriage is that they aren’t communicating. This can indicate Love Bank balance issues.
“We just aren’t communicating like we used to!”
“Gee, ya know … we just aren’t talking. And when we do, we end up fighting over something.”
“I don’t think either of us is communicating how we really feel.”
Communication breakdowns are normal. They happen to all of us. But we shouldn’t allow those breakdowns to last for too long. We need to investigate the root cause and do something about it. After all, communication is vital in marriage! It’s the only way we can truly get to know our spouse and genuinely respond to each other’s wants and needs. If you aren’t sure where to start, start simply and ask yourselves, “what type of communication is tripping us up the most?”
“Good communication is the lifeblood of a successful marriage … when spouses
stop talking, their marriages slowly begin to die.” — Greg Smalley.
In what kinds of communication do you fail?
- Is it the routine “how do you do’s” or the common courtesies?
- Are you failing to share or talk about what is going on in your life, important information about life, work, and kids?
- Are you not being sensitive to feelings and important issues?
- Is it that you aren’t using the right words? Remember that words carry different meanings for different people.
- Has either of you become blind to emotional communication?
- Perhaps talking insensitively about hurtful thoughts and bringing up past occurrences?
- Are you simply not talking enough, not taking the time to talk?
- Maybe one of you is speaking in code too much?
- Are you presenting problems that aren’t necessarily the major concern?
Change patterns and habits of communication to better reflect your love for each other!
The Love Bank
We’ve written about the Love Bank before, and it bears repeating again. According to Dr. Willard Harley, inside all of us is a Love Bank with accounts in the names of everyone we know. When these people are associated with our good feelings, “love units” are deposited into their accounts, and when they are associated with our bad feelings, love units are withdrawn. When an account reaches a certain threshold in marriage, a very special emotional reaction is triggered — romantic love.
Examples of love bank deposits include:
- Acts of kindness (politeness or basic consideration of the other’s needs)
- Acts of sacrifice (doing something for your spouse; putting your spouse first)
- Considerate conversation and communicate understanding (listen to their wants, needs, and desires)
- Romantic expressions of affection (holding hands, touching, kissing, hugging, foot massage, unexpected note)
- Express appreciation daily (texting during the day, asking about how their day went, “thank you’s.”)
- Deeds of friendship (thoughtfulness, compliments, sharing feelings, dreams, frustrations)
- Mindfulness of each other’s emotional needs (paying attention; making your spouse feel heard and valued)
But as most married couples have discovered, the feeling of romantic love is much more fragile than originally thought. If Love Bank balances drop below the romantic love threshold, a couple not only loses their feeling of passion for each other, but they also lose their instinct to make each other happy. What was once effortless now becomes awkward and even repulsive. This includes our ability to communicate!
So what we’d like to do is give you a little homework assignment. We want each of you to write a list of 10 things you could DO for your partner or SAY to them that you feel might please them. Please don’t consult with each other. This exercise should be done independently because the goal is to practice those actions several times this coming week.
We’d also like you to keep in mind these thoughts and actions as you move forward with this exercise:
Love Bank Exercise
- Directly communicate your love in a way that your partner can understand.
- Communicate the aspects of your relationship that you value the most.
- Listen to each other with respect.
- Share your experiences.
- Make time and opportunities for good communication.
All we’re trying to say is that couples who can see, express, and feel that they are communicating well will have the marriage they’ve always dreamed of. If you find yourself struggling to communicate, break the problem down into bite-size pieces and truly look at where the breakdowns are occurring. If you do, you’ll find it easier to resolve those issues and get back to communicating better.
We care about You and Your marriage!
Do you have the tools to communicate better in your marriage? Let us help. Send us your question in the email below! Plus, YOU are the best way we know to spread the word about Great Marriage. Forward one of our blogs to a friend today!
Did we leave anything out? What are a few ways you are communicating better and positively affecting your spouse’s love bank? What are you doing to build on that? Please send us a quick email and help us keep this conversation going at Mike@MikeandSusanDawson.com.