Within every relationship there are particular dynamics that show up in their interactions. Some of these work to “build” the relationship while others work to “damage” or “destroy” the relationship. How we handle ourselves and one another will determine how things play out in the end. At some point, if we mishandle people in our lives, they will one day either shut down or walk away. Pay close attention to the message you are sending.
Think of your words and actions towards another like “money” and the other person being “the bank”. You are the one who makes both deposits and withdrawals from the bank. Sometimes, your deposits are huge, sometimes they are not. Sometimes, you feel very comfortable with your “balance” other times, you overdraw your account with “that bank”; leaving a deficit and fees to be paid in many cases. Ultimately, in every way, there are “rewards and consequences” for your actions.
This brings us to a question posed by one of our readers, "Is fighting good for a relationship?"
It's a good question. Maybe even a great one? I have known couples who like the adrenaline of a good shouting match so much that they look forward to it - along with the makeup sex. But if the long term damage done outweighs the short term climactic ending, it is likely not the best way to get a thrill. In the same way, if the words are harmless and the shouting simply a way to express yourself with intense energy, shout away and enjoy your make-up “romp” afterwards. No harm is done.
Some disagreement is inevitable, but the analogy I've learned from a good marriage counselor is called "The Love Bank" and we have to make sure we're adding more to the bank than we are taking out. Otherwise, after a while, the bank is empty and the relationship is BROKE! Every unfair fight takes money out of the bank! Every criticism takes money out of the bank! Every unkind word spoken is left in the air for interpretation and can no longer be retrieved. It is said that it takes ELEVEN compliments to undo the harm done by one criticism!
It makes sense with this concept that we would choose our words more carefully so as to not go “bankrupt” before we have had a chance to build up our account. In addition, that “deficit” we create will always be “on record”. We cannot “undo” what has been done. Sometimes this ends the relationship and others connected to it, other times, it taxes the relationship and adds strain to every interaction following.
In most cases, people do not hurt others intentionally with their words, especially people they genuinely love, but uncontrolled anger has a way of changing the game unlike anything else. When the fight is over and the two are reflecting, BOTH will be hurting. One out of “guilt” and the other from “shame or confusion” because the words expressed were likely “inconsistent” with what they understood up until that point. When someone you love and who you believe loves you says something that cuts you, it usually cuts very deep. That is the very nature of love and relationship. We are more significantly impacted by the words and opinions of those we have invested the most in, both by action and intention.
Simple concept then: every time we interact with someone...work, school, church, relationship, parenting...we are either adding equity to the relationship or we are taking it away. Every word and action will bring about a reaction. It is good to consider in advance, what do you want to leave with others? We all have the ability to impact regardless of whether or not the people around you admit it. You are impacting others all day long by how you are interacting with them. Do you want to build or tear down? Do you want to damage or restore? And do you hope to make withdrawals at some point from that relationship that may show up as “insufficient funds” if not handled appropriately?
A lot of times we will stand and look at a person and not even understand how we got where we are but in many cases, we allowed the bank to get low or empty. We lost sight of the importance of that person in our life and neglected to replenish our account with them. For us, this will be a very sad day because in many cases, what is done is done and by the time we realize it, it can be too late. The famous saying is so true, “We often do not know what we have until it is taken from us.” In its “absence” we find new respect for its value and necessity in our lives. Hind sight is 20/20. Unfortunately, it is now the “unchangeable past” we are looking at with such perfect vision.
So here's the challenge...can we all start to appreciate and genuinely compliment the people in our lives more? Can we take the time to have a thankful attitude towards them and focus on their “value” rather than their “inadequacy” (as we see it)? Can we express some unexpected kindness? Can we show grace instead of intolerance? Can we hold that hug an extra second or two? Of course we can!
The amazing thing about learning how to be more of a giver than a taker, more of a builder than one who diminishes, is that it adds VALUE to our own lives. The rewards of expressing positive emotion and respectful and loving communication go a long way in maintaining our own happy selves We can never retract what leaves our mouths nor its impact on others AND ourselves.
The more deposits we make, the "richer" our relationships will become! And when our “banks” are “richer”…so are WE!
Get it? Banks? Richer?
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