Thursday, September 5, 2013

Balancing the Give and Take in Your Relationship

by Tiffany Kingsfield, M.A., LAPC

Tiffany Kingsfield
Tiffany Kingsfield, M.A., LAPC
     Romantic relationships:  What else in life provide so much joy, but can also cause such profound pain?

     In “Love Busters: Protecting your Relationship from Habits that Destroy Romantic Love,” Willard F. Harley, Jr. explains the six primary “Love Busters” that damage relationships. Couples are introduced to the concepts of the internal “Giver” and “Taker,” which affect each partner’s “Love Bank.”
      According to Harley, the Love Bank is where we accrue “love units” when someone makes us feel good. When our partner shows us love, appreciation and affection, our Love Bank balance goes up. When our partner criticizes, betrays or ignores us, our Love Bank balance goes down. Harley states that we each have within us a “Giver” and a “Taker.”

     Our Giver is caring, compassionate and concerned for the welfare of others. The Giver says,    “Do whatever you can to make others happy and avoid anything that makes others unhappy, even if it makes you unhappy.” This half of us is more likely to make deposits into our partner’s Love Bank. The other half is our Taker. The Taker says, “Do whatever you can to make yourself happy and avoid anything that makes you unhappy, even if it makes others unhappy.” This half is more likely to deplete our partner’s Love Bank.  

     The first Love Buster is making "Selfish Demands" or commanding your partner to do things that would benefit you at your partner’s expense. We all have needs and at times need to make requests of our partner that will benefit us.  However, when the Taker shows little compassion for how the request will affect their partner the Love Bank balance is in jeopardy. In order to combat Selfish Demands Harley recommends what he calls the Policy of Joint Agreement in which you never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your partner.