How to Manage your Relationships by Investing in the Bank of Relational Happiness

Relationships

“This Article is Written By Dr. Markie Twist and Guest Co-Author Sara Duerksen”

The Relational Happiness Bank: More Good than Bad Makes You Less Sad

According to the Gottman Institute[1], relationships that have a 5 to 1 ratio of positive interactions to negative ones are healthy. When couples are interested in each other, express their affection, demonstrate that their partner and their relationship matters, practice gratitude, look for things they agree on, show empathy, apologize, accept the other areas perspective, and joke around they are practicing those positive interactions and depositing into their happy relational bank.

On the other hand, when they are dismissive, critical, show contempt and act defensively they are practicing negative interactions and making withdrawals from their bank of relational happiness.

Diversify Your Portfolio: Practice makes Perfect

Looking at ways to invest happiness into your relationship bank is a helpful way to stay focused on the wealth experienced in said relationship. This is a beneficial way to look at relationships, as it affords you with an opportunity to evaluate whether you are positively adding to the relationship or subtracting from it.

We just wonder if we are going far enough with the application of this viewpoint when we stop at its applicability to partnered/romantic relationships. Indeed, we have the belief that everyone is doing the best they can, including trying to make the world a better place.

Whether that means going to work every day to support yourself and your family, being an activist, just trying to be nice to the people around you, or doing the best you can with the difficult hand you may have been dealt in life.

Since this is how we see people, we are wondering if it would be fair to start seeing the way we interact with the world as being best served through the application of a 5 to 1 ratio.

Share the Wealth: Make Happiness Contagious

Share The Wealth

The Gottman Institute has continuously said we benefit from a 5 to 1 ratio of positive to negative exchanges in our partnered/romantic relationships if we want them to be healthy.

If we take this a step further it means we start interacting with every day people co-workers, friends, acquaintances, strangers, etc. are using a 5 to 1 ratio. In so doing this, we would be making each of these relationships healthier.

We would be investing in a happy relational bank account with the people and the world around us. We can do this with every day people by listening more, expressing true interest in what people are telling us, letting people know they matter to us, showing more appreciation for the everyday small acts of kindness that people show us, smiling at strangers we pass on the streets, and countless other ways.

We believe it is time to take the golden ratio of healthy relationships and apply it to the web of relationships that surround us for ourselves and the larger world in which we live. If you believe this too, then we invite you to share the wealth by investing more into the bank of relational happiness today!

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Inpost Image Credit: shutterstock.com
Author

Author: Markie Twist

Dr. Markie Twist is a licensed marriage and family therapist and mental health counselor, clinical fellow and approved supervisor, and certified sexuality educator. Dr. Markie is co-author of the books, The Couple and Family Technology Framework: Intimate Relationships in a Digital Age, and Focused Genograms: Attachment Focused Intergenerational Assessment of Individuals, Couples, and Families (2nd ed.). Dr. Markie serves as the Program Coordinator of the Graduate Certificate in Sex Therapy Program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and as faculty in the marriage and family therapy programs at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Her Website: https://drmarkie.com/ and E-mail: [email protected]. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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