It takes five positive interactions with your spouse to make up for each negative one! Equip yourself with ways of showing love to your spouse.
A recent study found that if positive feelings and interactions between a couple outweighed negative ones five to one, their marriage was more likely to last. In other words, it takes five times as many positive events with your spouse to make up for each negative one.
If you want your marriage to thrive, build up a love bank by depositing positive, loving experiences. The best thing you can do is build up a bank of positivity so that when the time comes where you argue (and we all do), you will have a cushion to work with.
Being aware of their love bank is something that would help this couple. Does anything about this situation sound familiar?
Alaina dreads weekends because she and her husband Jake always end up fighting. Maybe it’s a release from everything that happened during the week, or perhaps the extra time together causes them to grate on each other’s nerves.
Alaina says that Jake starts fights that focus on her weaknesses. For example, she really hates cooking and doesn’t think she’s good at it. He’ll ask her when she’s going to cook something he actually likes. This comment angers her, so she feels the need to defend herself by coming back with, “Well, maybe you should cook once in a while!”
She thinks she’s defending herself, but by deflecting the blame back on him, she is letting the argument escalate. Now, he goes on the defensive and accuses her of never buying anything good to cook with.
Understand, this conversation is just one argument from one weekend. Each time Alaina and Jake say something ugly to the other that makes them feel disrespected or worthless, it’s like taking five points out of the love bank. The negative points are building up quickly, putting their marriage on the fast track to divorce.
The Bible is clear that we are to treat others the way we would want people to treat us. Even more, we are to treat others the way Jesus would!
Jesus made this statement, which many have called the Golden Rule:
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12
He also said:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35
These verses have the power to transform your marriage.
Other religions tell their followers that they should NOT do what they wouldn’t want to be done to them. There’s a slight difference in the perspective.
It’s a lot easier not to do something mean than it is to do something nice purposely.
To change the dynamic in your marriage, make these verses the foundation of how you think about your spouse.
It takes a new way of thinking about your marriage to find ways of showing love to your spouse every day. Prioritize your spouse’s feelings and needs instead of your own need to be right. Instead of thinking about how they should be meeting your needs, concentrate on how you can meet theirs.
Imagine yourself in your spouse’s shoes. What would you want to hear? What things would you like them to do for you? Figure out some of those things, kick it up a notch, and try to be even better than that!
Be kinder to your spouse than they are to you!
Here are some ways you can show love to your spouse every day and add those positive tokens, so your marriage has a buffer against rough days.
Consider these ideas to be a checklist. Try to do one of these at least five times each day. Yes, you can repeat some, and it still counts!
If you want your spouse to know that you love them, tell them. It may seem like you don’t have to, but saying those three words can reassure them about your feelings for them. They don’t have to be paranoid or worried that your feelings have changed.
Do the little things
What does your spouse appreciate when you do it? Putting the dishes away? Cooking a meal (or bringing one home)? Making them coffee? Do those things.
There are other things you can do that will let them know you love them and are being considerate of their feelings and needs. Things like leaving a note in their car, kissing them when they arrive home, or bring home a small gift like their favorite candy or flowers.
Be a good listener
It is easy for people today to act like they are listening when, in reality, you are in another world. Whether it’s because you’re staring at your phone, or just thinking about something else, it gives your spouse the impression that you are not interested in what they have to say.
Instead, put down the phone. Make eye contact. Hear what they are saying and try to understand why it is important to them. Maybe it’s not the issue; it’s just a need to vent to someone who makes them feel safe.
Meet physical needs
Physical needs are not restricted to just sex, although that is a large part of it. While you meet those needs, remember that physical touch of all kinds creates oxytocin that creates a feeling of love and connection. So, hug often, hold hands and sit close to add positive tokens to the love bank.
Give alone time
Many people need time to themselves. If your spouse is an introvert, they need more than other people to keep themselves fueled up. Respect their alone time or the time they need to decompress at the end of the day. I’m not saying that you let them ignore you, but allow them a reasonable length of time.
Show appreciation and compliment
No matter what you may believe, there is something good in your spouse. Maybe you’ve buried it under a pile of the things that annoy you, but the praiseworthy traits are there. Choose something to focus on, and let them know you appreciate it.
Pray for your spouse and let them know that you are. Spend time reading the Bible together. It shows that you are concerned about their struggles and are thankful for the opportunity to be married to them.
Think back to the couple from the beginning of this blog. If weekends seem to be the problem, Alaina should intentionally make more positive deposits into his love bank during the week. It may diffuse the arguments and keep any negative things she does say from affecting him as much.
If the negative points in your marriage are adding up, you may need a marriage reboot.
Let’s reset the bank to zero and start over.
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Looking for more ways to show your spouse you love them? Read more in 13 Ways to Show You Still Love Your Spouse.