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Bob Stahn Mar 15, 2010

“Cha-ching!” (There’s Another Deposit Into the Relationship Account!)

My wife and I refer to actions that add or detract from the quality of our relationship as deposits into or withdrawals out of our relationship account. We want to regularly make deposits and make as few withdrawals as possible. We want to keep the balance very high to keep our happiness in our marriage very high.

In order to have our “finger on the pulse” of the quality of our marriage, we try to let each other know as soon as a deposit or withdrawal happens. (Even though I am the counselor by profession, she is much better at announcing when a deposit happens than I am!) After all, the deposit or withdrawal is in the eye of the receiver. Just because I intend an act to be a deposit does not necessarily mean that it will end up as one.

My clients have used various gestures or statements to tell the partner that he or she has made a deposit in their relationship account. To inform me that a deposit has occurred, my dear wife says, “Cha-ching!” It is onomatopoeia for the sound of the opening of the old cash registers. With that word, she indicates that whatever I just did added to the balance of the love in our account.

For example, I tell her I like the way she looks—“Cha-ching!” she says. My wife sits down and inquires about a project I am working on—“Cha-ching!” I say. I phone her to see how her day is going—“Cha-ching!” While we sit next to each other in an informal setting, she drapes her leg over mine—“Cha-ching!”

There are times that I am surprised to hear a “Cha-ching!” because I had not intended to make a deposit. However, it is wonderful to know that one occurred so I can make a note to do it again later. Her “Cha-ching!” helps me to know she not only appreciates what I do, but it also tells me that my efforts are effective.

Knowing and speaking our “love languages” help tremendously, but if we did not express to the other when a deposit is made, the other will not likely know of its impact and the action will not as likely be repeated.

In my life I have found that it is not only important to often make deposits into our relationship account, but it is just as important to know when one has been received. That way I can be more efficient in the use of my energy because each intended deposit will be received as one. For me there are few things that are as delightful to hear as “Cha-ching!”

Bob Stahn has a general counseling practice. He specializes in relationship counseling and most recently PTSD and trauma.

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