Emotional Banking

Ed and I were talking of emotional banking that Stephen Covey wrote about in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I told Ed that whenever I did something for him, I never really thought of creating a love account but now that the notion of emotional banking has been raised, I got to think of the many things women and men do for love. Ed got Covey’s book from our library and found his definition . An Emotional Bank Account is a metaphor that describes the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship. Covey suggested six major deposits : 1) understanding the individual ;2) attending to the little things; 3) keeping commitments ; 4) clarifying expectations ;5) showing personal integrity; and apologizing sincerely when making a withdrawal. These deposits are good guidelines for couples who want to build better relationships and I told Ed that we should blog about emotional banking.


Now that we are in the subject of developing better relationships, I often think of how men and women build on the respect and love they have when they start a relationship. For many couples I know, I have an impression that their love is based on a deep sense of personal integrity – the capacity to tell the truth and being loyal to those who are not present. I know women who trust their husbands are faithful because they experience honesty and loyalty in their daily family life. I know Ed has integrity and we trust each other whenever we are apart. This integrity is the biggest capital account in our book.The rest of the major deposits are like time deposits and we can make withdrawals without fear of being overdraft. But I wonder how men cope with emotional overdrafts when their partners are no longer able to keep the accounts. Many women learn to live with bankrupt love . A friend asked me if 40 years of marriage matter when infidelity punctuated these four decades. I replied by asking her : “What have you become inside and outside of this marriage? ” I told her I cannot assess the value of 40 years outside of her own reflections. Offered to listen to her so she can assess its merits.

A few women I know move on and build separate lives. Many men I know, male friends, look for new partners who can provide bigger emotional accounts and the pattern of overdrafts begin. I wish there was a way to get men to be successful emotional bankers so that women can live better lives.


Just this morning, my brother Sonny brought a pamphlet with the title : Sustainable Masculinity, A Self-Help Toolkit for Men. The author, Pip Cornall,talkes about reclaiming integrity and mess cleaning. It got me interested and so I read on. The author shared his experience with handling domestic violence and conflict. He himself was a survivor of paternal violence and he victimized his own wife. He went into self-healing and then started to work on a paradigm where violence and pain could be eradicated, where men could become real men and women could trust men who go for positive change. Cornall cites the findings on emotional intelligence and has developed a toolkit for men with his partner Grace Gawler. ( I decided to postpone writing about the toolkit until I study their methods further but their ideas are sound).

Explore posts in the same categories: Lifelong learning, Love and marriage

One Comment on “Emotional Banking”

  1. BURAOT Says:

    this is the first time i heard about emotional banking. nice.

    but i was thinking, on the romantic side of us, weren’t we supposed to love unconditionally without keeping tabs on our deposits? (i think) that is what i’m getting from my wife, that’s why i try to give it back.

    on the real world side, i guess it’s true. there is no such thing as altruism anyway. it’s a self-help guide to start or re-start a relationship.

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