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The love bank – your key to close relationships

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Karen and I have a great relationship, but every now and then, without even knowing why, we’ll get a little tired of one another and begin to harbor negative thoughts.  As far as I can tell, that is normal for married couples.  And we can’t help asking “Why?”    Dr. Willard…
By Seth Barnes
Karen and I have a great relationship, but every now and then, without even knowing why, we’ll get a little tired of one another and begin to harbor negative thoughts.  As far as I can tell, that is normal for married couples.  And we can’t help asking “Why?” 
 
Dr. Willard Harley has an answer that he explains on a great website called www.marriagebuilders.comHe describes a concept that I think is foundational for anyone living in a close relationship.  Close relationships, whether they be in a  marriage, a deep friendship, or a community group, require a lot of give-and-take.  To succeed, you have to learn how to become a giver, bringing more to the relationship than you require.  The “love bank” (also known as the “emotional tank” by some) is a subconscious way that we track how other people treat us.
 
If I could give a gift to those who are beginning to grapple with how to successfully live in caring proximity to others, I’d teach them about the love bank.  I’d teach them to learn the love languages of others and to begin finding ways to make regular deposits.
 
In fact, if you’re in conflict with someone else now and you are struggling with your feelings about them, I’m willing to bet that you’ve been making more withdrawals from their love bank than you’ve been making deposits.  Start making more deposits and watch the relationship begin to change.
 
Dr. Harley writes the following about the love bank concept:

In my struggle to learn how to save marriages, I
eventually discovered that the best way to do it was to teach couples how to
fall in love with each other — and stay in love. So I created a concept that I
called the Love Bank to help couples understand how people fall in and out of
love. This concept, perhaps more than any other that I created, helped couples
realize that almost everything they did affected their love for each other
either positively or negatively. And that awareness set most of them on a
course of action that preserved their love and saved their marriages.

Within each of us is a Love Bank that keeps track of the
way each person treats us. Everyone we know has an account and the things they
do either deposit or withdraw love units from their accounts. It’s your
emotions’ way of encouraging you to be with those who make you happy. When you
associate someone with good feelings, deposits are made into that person’s
account in your Love Bank. And when the Love Bank reaches a certain level of
deposits (the romantic love threshold), the feeling of love is triggered.
 
As
long as your Love Bank balance remains above that threshold, you will
experience the feeling of love. But when it falls below that threshold, you
will lose that feeling. You will like anyone with a balance above zero, but you
will only be in love with someone whose balance is above the love threshold.

However, your emotions do not simply encourage you to be
with those who make you happy — they also discourage you from being with those
who make you unhappy. Whenever you associate someone with bad feelings,
withdrawals are made in your Love Bank. And if you withdraw more than you
deposit, your Love Bank balance can fall below zero. When that happens the Love
Bank turns into the Hate Bank. You will dislike those with moderate negative
balances, but if the balance falls below the hate threshold, you will hate the
person.

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