Which do you think fuels romance in a relationship? A candlelit dinner at an elegant restaurant or coming home from work and discovering your partner has a load of laundry started?
If you say romantic dinner, you might be right, depending on the situation.
And, yet think of all the couples you see in restaurants, heads down, not talking, and focused on their phones. They might as well be home in front of the TV for all the engagement they are having with each other.
It turns out it is in the ordinary, ho-hum, mundane actions and interactions of everyday life where romance is fueled, in such a way, it ultimately contributes to a genuine connection during a romantic dinner. So much so, you might actually want to put your phone down so you can have that intimate conversation you’ve been craving.
According to John Gottman, a renowned relationship expert, and author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, “real-life romance is fueled and kept alive each time you let your partner know he or she is valued during the grind of everyday life.”
Romance actually grows when we pay attention and are present to what the other person is up to like when my guy comes home in the evening and immediately heads down to the basement crawl space to change the burned out light bulb. If I interpret his action as an act of love, worthy of notice and appreciation, romance is given room to grow.
What is really going on is this: The Emotional Bank Account for us as a couple is being filled.
Action, Attention, and Appreciation are the daily deposits.
When I forget which meeting he is attending or what committee work he is engaged in – is it for the Ice Age Trail or the Wisconsin Conservation Congress – this inattention to the activities he considers important is an immediate withdrawal from our Emotional Bank Account.
Inaction, Inattention, and Being Taken for Granted are natural withdrawals.
3 Ways to Fill Your Emotional Bank Account:
Gottman calls this “Turning Towards”. Being present and turning towards means putting down the engrossing Jack Reacher novel, even in the midst of exciting action, and listening to what my guy is telling me about his day. Turning towards is about being willing to pay attention, it is about being willing to connect, even when it might feel inconvenient.
Feeling like you’re being taken for granted is certainly a romance-killer for men and women. Expressing appreciation for those everyday things like making dinner, stacking the dishwasher, snow blowing the driveway, bringing in the mail, picking up dog poo from the yard, go a long way towards strengthening your connection with each other.
Nothing quite makes my heart sing like when my guy comes into the kitchen while I’m chopping vegetables and asks me if he can help. Or when he takes the initiative to dump the bucket of veggie peels into the compost bin; it is these little activities which shows he cares. These everyday interactions make an enormous difference in our relationship and help strengthen it.
How will you choose to be present, be appreciative, be present in your relationship?
What steps will you take to make those essential deposits into your Emotional Bank Account?
Action, Attention, and Appreciation are the foundation for the laughter, fun, and friendship we desire in our love relationships. It is this little threesome which really gets the party started long before the candlelit dinner.
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