The Emotional Bank Account

All I seem to hear these days, is people talking about money, how prices have gone up, property values, and how difficult it is for young ones to start.

And that's all true, however, I rarely hear anyone talking about Relationships and how they are investing in them.

Have you ever thought about your relationship from an investment perspective?

If you're an accountant, or you have an investment mindset, you may have. The first time I heard about the concept it was when learning from The Gottman Institute.

From The Gottmans... "Did you know that the number one thing couples fight about is nothing?

After observing thousands of couples in our Love Lab for more than four decades, we discovered that most couples were not arguing about specific topics like finances, sex, parenting, or dealing with difficult in-laws.

Instead, they were fighting about a failure to emotionally connect, and likely didn’t even know it.

We realized how, instead of having productive conflict discussions about tangible issues, couples were really arguing about how one partner may not pay much attention to the other’s needs, or may not express much interest in things that their partner cares about.

While the science behind what drives couples to lose their emotional connection can be quite complex, we use a simple concept that can help couples reconnect: The Emotional Bank Account."

Who doesn't like a compliment?

When we read about how to improve our relationships, often our minds go to the partner we live with.

However, whether it is a partner, family member or friend many of the concepts are the same.

Let's look at compliments. Do you compliment more than you criticise? If so, your relationship could be heading towards trouble if it's not already.

So today, a take action challenge is to think about giving your partner or friend or family member a genuine compliment. Then take action.

Journal exercises: notice what happens when you compliment someone. Were they able to receive the compliment? Sometimes people laugh it off, or deflect, occasionally they say 'thank you'. Keep complimenting, small things make big differences in our relationsips.

Take note of when you are criticising, and when you are being criticised. Write about when it occured, the people involved, how did it feel? Do the same exercise for compliments.

Call 0408 792 747 to book a session

Plugging The Money Leaks or, Recovering a Sense of Abundance or, Being Mindful with Money.

It seems like everytime I go to the supermarket lately, I am becoming more and more aware of how high the cost of food has become, and continues to grow. With rising mortgage fees and the cost of living, we need to put more focus on our spending than ever before.

I was chatting with a friend who is struggling financially, on the age pension, and was complaining that she can't afford to take holidays. Yet I notice that she spends money on things that don't give her any benefits, like her ATM fees.

So I suggested that we sit down together and explore where her money leaks were. We all have them, an app we no longer use, a gym membership that we pay for and never attend. A website we've joined and forgot to cancel the subscription to. That extra treat at the cafe.

For me it was when I first started learning Hypnosis. I thought I'd paid for a course, and a few months later realised that I'd been paying a subscription. It may be buying food you never eat and throw away, or paying too much for a phone or internet contract. If you think about it, something will come to mind.

Perhaps you'd like to go on a cruise with that money

Anyway, Susan and I worked out her ATM fees alone were costing her over $300 per year. Now when you're on a pension, that's a lot of money, going nowhere. She said that she couldn't change that habit as if she had the money in her purse that she'd spend it.

More recently she discovered a money leak where she'd been paying out $18 a month each month to a photo designing app that she'd never used. The money was coming out of her PayPal account. The money counting exercise from The Artist's Way came to my mind, and I shared it with her.

(Susan has given her permission to share her story here, not her real name.)

Counting, An Exercise from The Artist's Way - Week 6 on Recovering a Sense of Abundance.

This week Julia Cameron suggests a counting exercise. Buy a small notepad and write down every cent you spend. It doesn't matter what it is for, how tiny the purchase, how petty the amount. Petty cash is still cash. We fritter away cash on things we don't cherish and deny ourselves those things that we do. For many of us, counting is a necessary prelude to learning creative luxury.

"Some years ago, when I was paying off my mortgage, I damaged my hands and couldn't work for a while. Budgeting suddenly became very, very important.

I started to pay attention to where I was spending little amounts of money. It turned out that when I stopped spending money on small amounts, it became so much easier to save. When I sat down and worked out where my money was being spent, I decided to stop paying out money on media style movie programs.

I worked out that over the years, I had paid out thousands of dollars. That really got me starting to think about where I was directing my money and what was more important to me. So Week 6 on The Artist's Way was a reflection on some of those times for me, and a rethink about my finances and what I want to be doing with my money and my abundance."

So this week, I invite you to think about your money leaks... get a notepad, and jot down where you're spending money, and then consider if it's where you really want to direct your money. If it is, fine, if not, then perhaps you could take action to change the direction that money is flowing in.

If you would like a session to explore something in your world, give me a call today on 0408 792 747.

I offer sessions in The Artist's Way - a 12 week exploration. click here to find out more.

Relationship Sessions with The Gottman Institute

Over the years after I completed my degree, I trained in a few different techniques to offer help in relationships. One of the best trainings I have studied, was with The Gottman Institute.

If clients don't have any background in relationship training, it doesn't mean much to tell them the type of training I have done.

So I was delighted to come across a podcast on Spotify called How Not To Ruin Relationships. It's an interview Dan Harris did with the Gottmans, and it sums up the Gottman relationship sessions beautifully.

If you are thinking of having a session, or are simply curious about The Gottman's and like to learn more about helping relationships to grow and thrive, you may like to listen in.

Listen to the podcast below, click on the red arrow to play:

In the talk, the Gottmans mention The Sound Relationship House...
here's a copy of the image.

Book a session today call: 0408 792 747

Relationship Minute

Make a small change this week (year?) and aim to be more polite in your relationship.

Why? Politeness can reinforce the appreciation and respect you have for your partner.

Remember small but significant words like, 'good morning' and 'have a good day'. A sincere greeting, a kind wish, or show of gratitude can go a long way in fostering positive feelings on both sides of the relationship.

Be polite even when frustrated with your partner. Just because you are in conflict, it doesn't mean your respect and affection for them has to diminish.

Don't treat a stranger better than you would your partner.

Show appreciation by saying, 'please', 'thank you', and 'I appreciate all you do'. This goes a long way in showing respect to each other.

I believe we indeed need to pay attention to the small things in relationship, they really do make a difference. Little things add up.

Book a session today call: 0408 792 747

Prepare your relationship for the Festive Season

Relationships are the key to a happy, healthy holiday season. Prepare for the busy season, restore relationship ties, and find more joy and closeness with your partner by doing these two things:

1. Make a plan. The holiday season can leave one partner feeling unappreciated or resentful for doing all the shopping and cooking, or it can lead to another partner feeling pressured into doing things their partner’s way. But the holidays are a time to come together as a team and create a sense of balance. Talk through all the social engagements, chores, and responsibilities and determine how you’ll tackle them together. Having a solid plan you can rely on enables you and your partner to spend less time stressing and more time enjoying the holiday season.

2. Spend time together. You might say, "but of course we're spending time together during the holidays!", but how much of that time are you truly spending on each other? Find and set time to spend together one on one, no distractions. It doesn't even need to be that long - even just a few minutes of uninterrupted time will make a difference. Don’t let your date nights or weekly check-ins fall by the wayside. Have a stress-reducing conversation, talk about how you’re both feeling during this busy season, and be intentional about listening to each other and supporting each other.

From The Gottman Institute.

Ask for 100% of what you want - be willing to hear no.

About asking for what you want.

Some years ago my partner and I took part in a relationship workshop. The workshop leader encouraged us to ask for 100% of what you want, but be willing to hear 'no'. Of course we all got excited thinking about 100% of what we wanted.

Below you'll find an excerpt on Asking For What You Want, from The Gottman Institute's Blog. You can attend a session based on Gottman Relationship Work at Port Macquarie Counselling... text or phone 0408 792 747.

Here’s a scenario that may sound familiar to you. You’ve had a hectic day. Work, errands, a doctor’s appointment… you’ve been racing from one place to another and you’re exhausted. Finally, you walk in the door at 6:30 — and find your partner on the couch, watching television. They look up at you with a big smile and say, “Hi, hon! How was your day?” But you can hardly answer because you are so angry. Yes, it’s your night to cook — but they KNEW what a crazy day you were having, why didn’t they start dinner? They see the expression on your face, and ask you what’s wrong. You shake your head, and say “nothing” — then angrily walk into the kitchen.

Okay, so what’s wrong with this picture? Have you figured it out yet? The answer is: You didn’t ASK for what you wanted. That’s right. The fact is, you can’t complain about not getting something that you never communicated to your partner.

Rewind this scenario to the morning or even the afternoon of the same day. Maybe you made a phone call to say, “Honey, I’m running late. I know it’s my night to cook, but could you make dinner instead? I’m beat.” There’s a good chance your partner would have agreed, or if they were busy, too, maybe you’d suggest ordering in. The fact is, your partner can’t read your mind. You must ask for what you want in order to receive it.

IF you think about it, when you go to a cafe, you ask for what you want. You don't say, well I don't want a coffee - how would the staff know what to bring you? Yet we do this all the time with our partner, we say things like, "I don't want you to do __________ again" instead of asking directly for what it is you do want.

And don’t forget there are many different ways to ask for what you want — and some work better than others.

If you say, “You never help me change the bedding. I always have to do it myself!” you’re probably not going to get what you want. Using words like “always” or “never” is a sure way of putting your spouse on the defensive. You’re basically asking — and criticizing at the same time.

If you say “If you have time, could you help me? You don’t have to if you don’t want to” — is still not asking for what you want. It’s vague and you’re almost backing off the request.

The best way to ask would be: “Honey, I’d love your help changing the bedding tonight. If we do it together, it would take half the time. And I love making the bed so cozy for us with clean sheets and pillowcases.”

Why does this example work so well? First, you’re making your desire known — help with the bedding. You then tell them why you’d like their help — it will take you half the time. Next, you give your partner clear expectations of when you want their help — tonight. And finally you tell them how much you love to make the bed cozy for you both. Bravo. You have set your partner up for success to say “yes” to your request.

The point is: How you say something is just as important as what you say. And asking for what you want — effectively and respectfully — is not only a powerful tool, but one of the greatest gifts you can give your partner.


Today’s small thing: The next time you get angry about your partner not doing something, ask yourself, “Did I verbally ask them to do this?” And if you did, how did you say it?

From The Gottman Blog