Healthy, meaningful relationships take work. Attention needs to be paid to what matters to each person involved. It’s like each person in the relationship has a Love Bucket with a small hole at the bottom. In order for each person to feel loved and emotionally secure in the relationship, regular deposits need to be made into their Love Bucket. If regular deposits are not made, the Love Bucket slowly drains until it is empty. This is not a good place to be.
In order to maintain a healthy, full Love Bucket, it is important to be aware of the following seven things:
1-What fills one person’s Love Bucket may be different that what fills another’s. A careful reading of “The Five Love Languages”, by Dr. Gary Chapman is a good place to discover what deposits are meaningful to each person. It could be acts of service, words of affirmation, affection, spending time together or giving gifts. Take some time to determine what is most meaningful to you.
2-Ask what fills someone else’s Love Bucket and share what fills yours. If we truly care about having a solid and meaningful relationship with someone, it’s our job to tell that person what fills our Love Bucket and to ask what fills theirs. As hard as we try, we cannot read someone’s mind, nor should we expect others to read ours. Communication is key.
3-Once you know what fills someone’s Love Bucket, make regular deposits. For example, an act of service fills my Love Bucket. So, if I mention that the windshield wipers on my car need to be replaced, and my special someone hears that, stops by Big Wheel Rossi and then replaces them, he has just made a MAJORLY BIG deposit into my Love Bucket. Side note–this actually happened to the young woman who works in my office. Her boyfriend scored big points with me and even though it wasn’t my wipers he replaced!
4-When someone makes a deposit into our Love Bucket, express appreciation. When we express appreciation for the deposit made, the depositor knows they did good and will be more likely to repeat it. In order for this to be effective, we need to make sure we express our appreciation in a way that is meaningful to the other person. Again, it’s good to look to the Five Love Languages. How do they truly take in our appreciation? Though words? Affection? Ask what they need to feel appreciated. As with the example above, after her boyfriend replaced her wipers, I recommended that she demonstrate her appreciation to her boyfriend in the way that fills his Love Bucket PRONTO.
5-Trust is built on a full Love Bucket. If someone does something that has the potential to hurt our feelings, but our Love Bucket is full, we are much more able to forgive them and trust that they did not intend to hurt us. We know that they care because of the deposits they’ve made to our Love Bucket in the past.
6-The most important Love Bucket is the one you have with yourself. After all, this is the only relationship we will ever truly have for our entire life. Self-Love seems to be the buzz these days and that’s good, because filling our own Love Bucket is critical. We need to do things to show we care about ourselves. Self-care is not selfish. It’s a very loving act. And when our own Love Bucket is full, we are more able to fill the Love Bucket’s of others.
7-Create a Love Bucket reminder. I created a reminder on my phone called “Nitro” that goes off everyday at 9:00 pm. Nitro is short for Nitroglycerin, a medicine to heal the heart. It’s a reminder to think back on the day and bring to mind something I did that was good for my heart and something that I did for another. Consider trying it yourself–as a reminder to fill your Love Bucket and to fill the Love Bucket’s of others you care about as well.