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Emotional Bank Account

Emotional Bank Account

Stephen Covey in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People coined the phrase Emotional Bank Account.  This is a metaphor that describes the amount of trust that has been built up in any relationship.  Life Coaches, Leadership Seminars and Counselors have all used it.  It is the sense of being safe around another person, be he/she a spouse, friend or business partner.

This metaphor is based upon the concept of keeping a positive balance in a bank account.  You need to deposit regularly in order to make a withdrawal or risk an over draft.

In a marriage relationship these emotional deposits may be simple gestures like random acts of kindness, little courtesies, affirming your spouse, asking questions to really understand him/her, keeping commitments, being honest and trustworthy. Emotional withdrawals are the mistakes we occasionally make like being late, forgetting something, letting our anger or hurt lead to an unkind remark or curt tone. A rich emotional bank account can handle an occasional withdrawal, especially if it is accompanied by a sincere apology.  But let your account get too low and you risk an overdraft. 


NEVER obsess with reconciling this account i.e. 'keeping score.'  There is no dollar value to the trust that is deposited or withdrawn from the Emotional Bank Account.  Trust in your love!

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