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Your Bank Account

Every marriage has an invisible emotional bank account. We make deposits into the account through acts of kindness, words of admiration, gestures of support, and more. We make withdrawals from the account by moments of unkindness, harsh or unfair criticism, words or actions that trigger hurt feelings, and more.

Paying Attention

A local summer camp recently asked its 6- and 7-year-olds to answer a simple question: name something you’d like your parents to start doing with you.

Something like this is familiar to all of us: we notice the car needs washing, and despite the late hour and a poor night’s sleep, we drag out a bucket and sponge and give it a good shampoo. While admiring our handiwork, we realize the interior could use vacuuming and a wipe-down as well.

Are you overdrawn?

Marriage researcher John Gottman tells us that the happiest couples are the ones who make five times as many deposits as withdrawals from their marital (relationship) bank account.

What do they deposit? Words of admiration and appreciation, and goodwill gestures that express love, thoughtfulness and interest.

Secure Your Mask First

How many times have we heard the flight attendant say "secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others"? It's a message aimed largely at travelers with kids, because for so many parents, the natural inclination is to tend to our children before ourselves.

As inclinations go, this one can lead us astray.