This is the first part in a series on relational equity. This is actually a chapter directly out of my book that I’m working on. I imagine some of the things I have to say in this section will be somewhat controversial. That is not my intent. This is a key to a healthy relationship. Please keep all correspondence and comments polite. Thanks.

I was relating a story to someone about how my wife and I had not had a real tear your hair out fight where we were just lobbing emotional bombs at each other in over a year. Then we did. My wife hadn’t been sleeping much and I was under a lot of stress. We had a true blue fight. There was no use of the techniques I’ll write about later. It was simple marriage warfare.

My friend said, “Now you gotta pay.”

I replied, “No, not really. We both apologized and owned our own mistakes. It’s over now.” He didn’t believe me. I assured him that I wasn’t lying to him. It truly was over. We would probably joke about it for a while, but the actual fighting part was over. No more emotional damage.

The obvious question is how does a couple get there. I think everyone can get there. They need to work on their relational equity. You do that by actually living by your vows. You remember those? Those pesky promises where you promised to love your spouse more than anyone else including yourself?

What happens when we actually live that way? We build relational equity. When your spouse knows that you are upset, or hurt and you purposely choose words that are loving instead of hurtful, you build relational equity. When your spouse knows that you purposely work at your communication skills you build relational equity. There are a myriad of ways to build equity. We will not touch on all of them in this book, but any time you put your spouse and the health of your relationship ahead of your own desires, you build equity. It’s like making a deposit into a bank.

In the same way, every time you throw a temper tantrum or act childish, you chip away at your relational equity. You make a withdraw. When you try to manipulate your spouse into doing what you want them to do either through punishment (I’m not talking to him/her) or reward (Jim, just knows that if he wants sex he better do what I want him to do) we are chipping away at the well of relational equity our spouse has stored up for us.

We also add to our own equity. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? I’m suggesting that telling your wife you love her, will actually increase your love for her. I’m suggesting that if you don’t want to have sex with your husband, you should because that will increase your desire to have sex with him.

Relational equity occurs when we build into the relationship.

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