The Love Bank

The idea of the love bank is not original with me. I know that Stephen Covey, John Gottman, and Willard Harley all use this idea. I recommend all of these authors and you will find references for their works in the "books" section of my resource page on this website. That said, I think this is a great way of looking at what we're doing in our relationships.

The love bank is simply the idea that every person has an "account" with every other person. Everything you do or say or don't do or say is either a deposit or withdrawal in the love bank account of the person with whom you are interacting. The idea is to have a big account with tons of deposits. It is like your bank account. You want there to be a large amount of money in your bank account and the more deposits the better.

John Gottman tells us that for marriages to be good they need at least a 5:1 positive to negative ratio. This means you need five deposits for every one withdrawal. This is of course a baseline idea. Not all deposits and withdrawals are equal. Buying your spouse a flower is a different level deposit than buying them a cruise. Accidentally breaking their favorite coffee cup is a different level withdrawal than being unfaithful. You get the idea.

My take on this is to make as many deposits as possible and to make as few withdrawals as possible. This takes conscious effort. The key question is, "Is what I am doing or saying (or thinking about doing or saying) going to be a deposit or a withdrawal in my spouse's love bank?"

This is a simple concept and yet a large number of marriage problems come from people not implementing the concept. It is not that people do not know or do not understand it is that they do not do.

To do my part in bringing solutions and not just problems here are five ways to increase the 5:1 deposit to withdrawal status in your relationship:

  1. Give your spouse REAL Love Notes. (Other fun notes work too.)
  2. Hug your spouse every day. Try to give 10 or more hugs.
  3. Kiss your spouse every day. Kiss every time you leave one another, every time you return to each other and a number of times "just because."
  4. Talk to your spouse. Spend at least 15 minutes each day in conversation not related to running your lives. (See the "conversation starters" in the resource section of
  5. Give your spouse a foot rub or massage.

There are many more ways to make deposits and I encourage you to enjoy making the deposits that are meaningful for your spouse.

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