Creating a marriage that is Fresh, Fulfilling and Fun isn’t hard. All you need to do is apply the concepts I review in this marriage series, and you will experience an awesome marriage that you actually enjoy.
Because I love how disruptive technology changes the way you see and do things, I’m going to start off with a crypto analogy and did you know that the day you said I do, your marriage generated an emotional crypto wallet. Let that just sink in for a moment. I call this a wallet and not a bank account, because do you seriously want a middle man involved in your marriage transactions? I don’t think so.
The purpose of this wallet is to trade and store the emotional currency of your marriage. What is important to remember is that you can either make deposits into or withdrawals from this wallet, and therefore the balance on this wallet can either be emotionally positive or in an emotional deficit.
Now that you know your marriage has a wallet, the next thing we need to discuss is your Emotional Investment Goal. You can have al sorts of goals for your marriage, but this goal is super important, because each and every decision that you make in your marriage stems from this, and the name of that goal is Marriage Resilience.
So basically resilience is having the toughness and flexibility to handle whatever is thrown at you. In a marriage context you need to have the reserves stored up in your emotional wallet when life happens.
How then do you make your marriage resilient?
Remember I said earlier that deposits and withdrawals are processed through your emotional wallet? This is where you need to pay attention to how you work with your Emotional Currency.
The emotional currency stored in the wallet serves as a metaphor to describe the amount of trust that has been built up in your marriage. It is that feeling of assurance you have with your husband or wife.
When it comes to making the actual deposits and withdrawals, what I’m specifically referring to are transactional tokens. A token is your presentation of a fact, quality or feeling in the daily interactions of your marriage. Being kind, respectful, honest and reliable are the tokens that you deposit into your emotional wallet and build up a reserve. However being unkind, disrespectful, uncaring and mean are the tokens which you use to make withdrawals from your emotional wallet and decrease the reserve.
As soon as you have made enough deposits into your emotional wallet and your husband or wife has established enough trust in you, you can call upon that trust when needed to. The opposite is true as well. If you make withdrawals from your wallet while the balance is in an emotional deficit, your husband or wife will not trust you, and you will end up losing your marriage.
Let me get back to my crypto analogy. Let’s say your brain is a mining rig with the central processing unit consisting of the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. It’s constantly mining through the stimulus it receives, and as soon as a transaction block is validated, the amygdala generates an emotional token. This token is then transported to the prefrontal cortex, which acts as a control centre responsible for deciding what to do with this emotional token.
This is where a lot of husbands and wives struggle with emotional intelligence, because the the control centre hasn’t received any form of training what to actually do with the emotional tokens it receives. The good news is that you are able to train the prefrontal cortex not only how to identify the emotional token it receives, but what to actually do with it.
Because we want to help our brain recognise opportunities to make regular deposits into our emotional wallet, my wife and I decided to have a bit of fun and give the emotional tokens we use in our marriage a name. And so we call our emotional tokens “Unity Tokens.” The Bible says in Psalm 133 that God blesses unity. This is the centre of our Emotional Investment Goal – We want as much unity reserves stored up in our Emotional Wallet as possible.
And to help you get started, here are a couple of simple deposits you can make into your emotional wallet right now that will make your marriage more resilient:
It is important that you first increase your self knowledge. How do you respond to conflict? What motivates you? Get an understanding of your own emotions and intentions. This will set a benchmark between your own and your husband or wife’s behaviour, helping you to be more understanding. I will discuss this in more detail in the episodes to follow.
Be proactive in understanding your husband or wife better. Look for opportunities to develop this skill, instead of waiting for something to happen and then only reacting afterwards.
Be present when you are around your husband or wife. It will show them that they are important to you and also give you a chance to notice things about your partner.
Giving your husband or wife regular tokens of love and appreciation are deposits that go a long way. It shows your partner that you value them, making them feel accepted and comfortable.
A lack of integrity will undermine any effort in creating trust reserves in your emotional wallet. Integrity is to follow through with each and every commitment – taking responsibility and being accountable.
Delivering on a commitment is a huge deposit, but there is probably no larger withdrawal than committing to something, and then breaking that trust by not following through with it.
To help avoid misunderstanding, disappointment and withdrawals of trust, another deposit that you can make is by clarifying expectations. It is an opportunity to show your husband or wife that you care and will have a compounding effect on the deposit that you are already making.
Delivering on a commitment, but failing to properly understand what the expectation is will turn your deposit into a withdrawal, and you will have to work much harder to replace the trust reserves first that you have lost in the process.
Boundaries are designed to protect, not prohibit. It acts as a warning or a limit that will protect your marriage from actions that will ruin it.
I know talking about independency in a marriage context sounds illogical, but what this actually means is that you are responsible for your own development and happiness. Your partner should help and support you, but not be responsible for you. A lack of independence will slowly decrease the balance in your emotional wallet and in the end breeds into contempt.
Your husband or wife will not be the same person you married 10…15…50 years down the line. The only constant is change, so give your partner the space to pursue his/her hobbies and interest. Support them in their passion, don’t let them lose sight of their long-term goals and dreams. When you and your partner support each other to grow and become better versions of yourselves, your marriage will benefit from it immensely.
Thank you for reading friends. I hope that the ideas I’ve shared gives you and your partner a loving foundation from which you can build a marriage that nourishes you both and brings you closer to each other.
I love you hear from you! Please let me know in the comments below how you’ve used any of the concepts in this article to better your marriage.
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