The Love Bank - Funding the account that keeps relationships sane.

“You always gain by giving love”   Reese Witherspoon

We’ve all heard or even owned at some point in our lives a piggy bank, cash box or even a kitty.

But, have you by any chance heard of the Love Bank accounts analogy?

Sounds pretty obvious, you might say!

Well in case you didn’t know, here’s the meaning of Love Bank Accounts.

It is an emotional bank account first coined by marriage expert/counselor Dr. William Harley to manage couples who struggled desperately in their relationship.

The Background

In this clime, and perhaps the world over, the spate of marriage dissolution and divorce is alarming. More worrisome is the fact that most of the marriages involved are barely a few months old!

What then has gone wrong with everyone?

One minute a couple is madly in love with each other, barely able to keep their hands off each other and then the next instant, they cant stand the presence of each other. A love-hate cycle is completed within weeks, some within days precipitating the break-up or dissolution of the relationship.

Well, I am no expert at relationship counselling and won’t even pretend to claim that I have a complete hang of the modern day dynamics that drive the urgency to the altar.

But certainly the marriage institution over the centuries has outlived hundreds of generations and therefore has all it takes to be fully entrenched in our lives.

Perhaps the institution has then lost its relevance in our fast paced world. Its potency as the birth place for the nuclear family has been watered down with couples having children out of wedlock (by baby spouses) and the unperturbed propensity for casual sex.

Now we must find a new meaning for the marriage institution. We must redefine the terms or it is at the brink of extinction. At the risk of becoming old-fashioned and confined to the history books as a dying practice that once held sway.

In my opinion, and against better judgement, unless we rediscover our value system and reinforce the sanctity of the marriage institution, we may witness the emergence of a convenient excuse for marriage.

So, let’s just say, in a last ditch effort to rescue the concept of marriage, relationship, situationship or even the “complicated relationship” status that has redefined our marriage lexicon, I will attempt to explain the Love Bank concept.

Quite a  lot of young people agree without batting an eye lid, that they certainly fall in love. Perhaps in some cases, in lust. They fall heads over heels in love and feel the urgency in their loins, wanting nothing but the company of their partner. Convinced that this strange yet intense feeling is genuine and mutual, they work together to build it into a union. They would like to feel that way forever. Whatever forever means!

However, if that feeling is strong enough to get them all the way to the altar in spite of minor arguments and sometimes obvious signs of abuse, then that is probably where the buck ends. Many times, they have no clue whatsoever how to stay in love, how to keep a relationship or how to weather a storm.

It soon dawns on them that the feeling that leaves their heads in the clouds, appears to fizzle away as soon as reality stares them in the face. Some young people string along with their partners in spite of the waning affection, literally tiptoeing along the edge of depression, distrust, sadness and insanity until the slightest life challenge breaks the camel’s back.

And then, all the kinsmen could not put humpty dumpty together again… Lol.

So the question I will attempt to address in this post is how to stay in love, in a relationship and in marriage.

The Love Bank Explained

The Love Bank actually has much less to do with “communication skills” and more to do with the positive associations and love felt when a couple is with each other, or didn’t feel.

See this quick equation to buttress the concept-

Good experiences=deposit love units, leading us to like, or love, a person.

Bad experiences=withdrawal of love units, leading us to like, or even hate, a person.

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. Got it?

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.

Basically, for a couple in a relationship or marriage, you have a responsibility to deliberately make deposits of love units into their love bank account. Much like putting money into the bank accounts.

Imagine what happens when your lady has an empty bank account? And you haven’t put in any money in it. Close your eyes… Yeah…. that’s it.

To keep a relationship in the green zone, the couple has to deliberately make deposit into the love accounts. For as long as the account remain above the romantic live threshold, the couple will withstand all sorts of challenges drawing from the Love they have both invested heavily in their love accounts.

If you have account that is full of love, it is unlikely that you would wonder into cheating or even starting an affair. As the accounts dry up, love is sought from the unlikely quarters opening up cracks in an already strained relationship.

Learning how to keep the love bank deposits high is vital for the ongoing connection and to stay in love. It is a conscious act and not some random act performed during valentine or and during birthday celebrations.

If any couple wants to have a happy and have a satisfying relationship or marriage, they must make as many Love Bank deposits as possible and avoid making withdrawals.

So, what are the Love units and how are withdrawals made?

Some habits, like communicating effectively, small acts of kindness to our mate etc… make Love Bank deposits.

And others, like angry outburst, impatient or judgmental attitudes, etc.. make large Love Bank withdrawals.

Emotional Needs

According To Dr. Harley, These Are MEN’S Most Important Emotional Needs:

These are often given the highest priority by the average man, if you’re a wife meeting these needs, it’s likely your husband would find you irresistible.

A. Sexual Fulfillment.
B. Recreational Companionship.
C. Physical Attractiveness.
D. Admiration.
E. Domestic Support.

These Are WOMEN’S Most Important Emotional Needs:

These were said to be the things the average woman said were most important, and would make her husband more irresistible to her.

A. Affection
B. Conversation.
C. Honesty and Openness.
D. Financial Support.
E. Family Commitment.

In his study, Dr. Harley learned that “habits are more important than isolated instances of behavior that haven’t yet become habit.

Good habits repeated over and over make deposits almost effortlessly.

Isolated, good or bad, behaviors don’t affect the love bank a lot because they’re not often repeated.
In the same way, habits that withdraw love units tend to destroy Love Bank balance because they’re repeated almost effortlessly.”

So to keep the deposits going, it has to be developed into an habit.

I will share a post in the medium term on how to develop habits. Good habits that is. LoL

However in spite of our best efforts there are certain times in a couples relationship or marriage where the love banks can not but be empty.

Examples of these most vulnerable times could be:

  • A new baby.
  • The demand on our time with small kids at home.
  • Caring for an elderly parent.
  • More than ordinary, high levels of stress.
  • health issues.
  • More sudden changes or disappointments.
  • Death.
  • Moving a lot.
  • Family issues, or stressful drama.
  • Jobs.
  • Being away from home more often than home.

You will notice that these are all normal life experiences. Eventually we’ll all face one or more of these changes or problems. However these vulnerable times offer a chance for the couple to express support and love in forms that are more instinctive and primal behavior (as we are social animals) than being deliberate. This is enough to weather the storm and challenges that the trying period offers. They are however, not excuses to break out of a relationship or marriage. But opportunity to strengthen a bond.

The decision to stay in a relationship is a choice hinged on the most basic feeling of intricate and amazing love, but it isn’t enough to stay in love. Amongst other tools, the love bank is one way to keep the love aglow and to restore the allure of the marriage institution.

Thanks for reading

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12 thoughts on “The Love Bank”

  1. Love Bank deposits as possible and avoid making withdrawals. This will sure strengthen the relationship…..nice one bro

  2. Ibilola Famugbode

    This piece just helped me take stock of what happened in my last relationship.I would probably have done some things differently if I had read this earlier on. Anyway, I have just made some deposits into my relationship knowledge account… Lol. Thanks for sharing. The world needs this.

  3. Oyekunle Hafees

    Greatest lesson learnt about relationship. Never withdraw more than what you deposits. More wisdom sir . Very educating and enlightening.

  4. Adedamola ilori

    Great read and particularly like this part
    “It is a conscious act and not some random act performed during valentine or and during birthday celebrations” and the pictures used,so on point for me.

  5. It’s surprising how long I have kept this post in view and had hoped to read it. Did that have anything to do with the title which looks “mundane”? Well, fortunately for me, I have finally read it and I couldn’t believe how much information, knowledge and education I just got from it. It’s incredible.

    And if you wrote this, you’re already a “love consultant” (lol). Well done bro.

    However, a part I slightly disagreed with on “real term” basis is as I quoted below:

    “If you have account that is full of love, it is unlikely that you would wonder into cheating or even starting an affair. As the accounts dry up, love is sought from the unlikely quarters opening up cracks in an already strained relationship.”

    In more than surface analysis, not all “extra” relationships outside the “official” are actually due to lack of love, especially for men. It may well be more applicable to women given how they are wired. They are more emotionally involved.

    Men could fall into such “temptations” not because they no longer love their patners as much again, but due to a strange way they are kind of wired too. And I am not making excuses for men to cheat. But, that seems to be how men are created. Such misadventures could happen for no just cause. For no reason.

    My opinion is that the two parties must make serious conscious efforts to keep making deposits in their love bank. It is a serious and tasking job, especially in marriage. It’s a project!

    Thank you for this great piece.

    May God enrich you in knowledge.

    1. Thanks for the endearing words. Tbh, using the excuse that men are wired a certain way fuels the cheating mantra. Whilst I do not disagree with the nature of man, I believe a lot more is responsible for straying. Check the love account first!

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