Hey, everybody, Andy Brown here, I wanted to just talk for a second about this crazy situation again that we find ourselves in with shut down and everything that’s going on with coronavirus. I mean, this affects us in so many different ways, our families, us personally, and we could spend forever just talking about that stuff. But I wanted to talk for a second specifically about how it affects us as couples. So when we have stress, right, when when negative things happen, when stressful things happen to us as a couple, it puts pressure on the relationship.
And the way we deal with that pressure is we have to reach inward and reach inward into the relationship and draw out from that relationship strength that we have stored up at other times and also that we are continuing to store up during this time. So one of the analogies that we use in therapy a lot is called the emotional bank account. And this is an idea that was coined by a couple researchers, John and Julie Gottman. And one of the things they talk about is that in order for any relationship to function well, we have to have enough of a balance in the emotional bank account to deal with the hard things that happen externally as well as the difficult stuff that happens between us as a couple.
So as a therapist, one of the things I talk to people about a lot is that, you know, I work with some couples who have an incredible amount of external stress and crazy stuff going on in their lives, but they have enough deposits going on in the relationship that they deal with those things really well. And you go, man, how do they do that? Right. But the trick is that they’ve got emotional deposits that are covering the emotional withdrawals that are happening both in conflict between the two of them and externally.
So here’s what that looks like on a practical, practical basis. Right. As a couple, you need things between the two of you that express love and appreciation and kindness and tenderness toward each other. So this can be anything as small as just a pat on the back as you walk through the kitchen to, you know, the big things in life, send in flowers to work or that crazy romantic anniversary getaway that we can’t do right now because it’s coronavirus.
But, you know, it’s little things. It can be verbal things. It can be non-verbal things. It can be big things, little things, whatever. But there any things that we do that move toward the other person and show them that we’re thinking of them, we appreciate them. We love them. Those are all deposits, right? The little snipes and, you know, nipping at each other and stuff that all of us do when we’re stressed.
That’s a little withdrawal, right? Coronavirus. That’s a big withdrawal. Right. All the stress we’re going through right now, that’s a huge withdrawal. So here’s my here’s my thing, especially if you’re both working from home, you have lots of opportunities for more withdrawals between the two of you, but you also have more opportunities for more deposits if you’re intentional, right. If you’ve got kids, put them to bed, go downstairs and play a game together.
Right. Or be intentional about this time, realizing that there are huge things that are going to make deposits or withdrawals sorry. On the relationship, you also have to be intentional, making those deposits into the relationship so that the relationship can continue to function the way it needs to. And if there’s friction, if you guys aren’t getting through stuff, it might be that you need to work through some specific stuff. And there are other strategies for dealing with that.
But the first thing you’ve got to have is you got to have those deposits and that’s going to help you get through and make sure the balance is covered. So as you’re working through stuff, it doesn’t take the relationship. So if you guys want more research sources on that or if you have questions at all, as always, feel free to get a hold of me. Hopefully that’s helpful. I know you were feeling it. My wife and I are feeling it just like you guys are, and just hang in there and and use this time intentionally.
And hopefully all of us will come out of this thing, if not physically, at least relationally, better than we started it.