Love

11 Tiny Habits Of The Most Emotionally Intimate Couples

Photo: Moisés Solórzano | Canva 
Couple passionately looking at each other

To get more emotional intimacy and deepen your love in a relationship, you need to treat it like a bank account. When you make deposits, the bank account will grow. When you make withdrawals the bank account doesn't grow. It can also become overdrawn and become at risk of closing. Likewise, healthy relationships don't just happen. They take a lot of work and investment of time, effort, and communication to deepen a couple's intimacy. 

And you can learn how to use the emotional bank account paradigm in your relationship. The Gottman Institute found that the best way to make your emotional bank account grow is to have a lot of small deposits over a long period. This means if you make one large deposit now and then, it won't help your emotional bank account. It could even hurt your emotional bank account. If you are in a relationship or marriage, you need a lot of meaningful deposits over a long period to build that emotional intimacy. 

RELATED: People In The Strongest Relationships Share These 5 Types Of Intimacy

Here are 11 tiny habits of the most emotionally intimate couples:

1. Say "Thank you." 

This is one of those small deposits that will help build your emotional bank account. Try to be specific. For example, thank your husband when he listened to you vent about your day at the office.

2. Say "I appreciate it." often

This is another small deposit in your emotional bank account. Let your husband know that you appreciate how hard he works for the family or when he picks up dinner on the way home from the office.

   

   

3. Complain, don't blame

This means that you and your partner don't criticize one another. Learn how to have a discussion about your problems that isn't so painful. This also means don't get defensive. Learn to accept responsibility in the argument.

4. Develop empathy

Don't just listen to your partner. Listen to your partner with empathy when they share a stressful event that happened during the day. This will let your partner know that you care.

RELATED: 100 Ways To Connect Intimately With Your Partner

5. Manage mobile technology

The next time you have dinner together, leave the phone and the mobile gadgets behind. Spend time talking to one another. Ask questions and take a genuine interest in what your partner has to say. Mobile technology will always be there. You can use it at another time.

6. Take care of yourself 

This means you need to get plenty of rest, make good food choices, and exercise regularly. Take breaks during the day and don't be too hard on yourself with your inner critic. You indeed need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.

   

   

7. Accept influence from your partner

Try out your partner's ideas with enthusiasm. This is good for your emotional bank account. It also keeps the relationship on equal ground and well-balanced.

8. Support your partner's dreams

It's easy to forget about your dreams when you are in a relationship, let alone, talk to your partner about them. You have a family, house, and work. This doesn't leave much time for your dreams. When you decide to tell your partner about your dreams, it means that you feel safe enough to share in the relationship. Maybe you want to take a night class or travel to an exotic place. Your dreams don't need to be the same (all the better if they are). But, you need to be supportive.

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9. Be willing to work on your relationship

All good relationships go through highs and lows. This is to be expected. What's important is that you work on repair. Don't jump to conclusions. It's alright to disagree.

10. Contribute regularly to your emotional bank account

This doesn't mean that you count. Make it a habit to contribute to your emotional bank account. This will lead to a happy and successful relationship that doesn't have to end up being a statistic.

11. Have sliding glass door moments

What are they? According to Gottman, they are "the seemingly inconsequential everyday moments filled with the words we haphazardly throw back and forth at each other, accompanied by little evanescent pains, frustrations, joys, and laughter, flying through our minds and our hearts, that make or break the most important relationships in our lives." These are just a couple of minutes in your relationship. Although it can only be a few minutes, this is where trust is built.

For example, you come home after a long day at the office and your spouse wants to talk to you about the children. You can simply walk away and carry on texting or you can stop and listen. If you choose to stop and listen, you are making a substantial intimate deposit to your emotional bank account. Now, at that particular time, it may not seem like a big deal. But, over a long period, this will add up and the signs of a healthy relationship will begin to manifest. It's never too late to start making deposits into your emotional bank account. Start today by just picking one of these. A little goes a long way.

RELATED: 3 Clever Ways To Get (Pretty Much) Anything You Want From Your Partner

Lianne Avila is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a practice in San Mateo, CA. Her work has been featured in Psych Central, BRIDES, and Prevention.