How to be an Emotional Millionaire

Dr. John Gottman has received much attention for being known to be able to predict divorce with over 90% accuracy. He, along with his wife, have written many books about their years of research and train therapists on working with couples. According to Drs. John and Julie Gottman, the basis of a healthy marriage is a strong friendship.

couple doing small things often thrive therapy tampa floridaThis is developed by doing small things often versus making grand gestures every once in a while.


Drs. John and Julie Gottman speak about it in terms of an emotional bank account. In the emotional bank account you are either making withdrawals or deposits. Dr. Gottman found that couples in satisfied relationships have positive interactions to negative interactions in a ratio of 20:1 in day to day life and 5:1 during conflict.

Often times people think the weight of their gesture has different values…like if I were to wash my husband’s car I feel I should get 100 points versus giving him a kiss where maybe that should equal about 5 points. I would encourage you to think of it in different way. Consider each good deed…no matter how big…equals ONE. Always.

If you tell your partner you are so appreciative of the effort they made in making dinner – that is one point. If you take your partner on a cruise or buy them an expensive gadget. That also equals one point. Gottman notes small things often are the keys to a satisfied relationship.

Big gestures are great, but still equal one.

Just like once you get on that cruise your partner surprised you with, you wouldn’t enjoy it unless they continued to build your account with kind words such as “ I did this because I love you” or “I’m so happy to be going on vacation with you.” If they bought you a surprise cruise then told you to go away, your bank account would likely remain in the negative. All gestures equal one so that you are continually building that emotional bank account for when conflict arises, as it will, whatever withdrawal occurs will not put the relationship in jeopardy.

One way to ensure you are consistently making deposits into your emotional bank account is by paying attention to your partners bids for connection and turning towards those bids.

Bids are when you or your partner reach out to connect. Bids are sometimes something obvious like your partner reaching out to hold your hand, or asking “do you love me?” but sometimes they are more subtle and hard for the partner to detect.

When a bid is received, the partner then will either turn towards, turn away or turn against.

Imagine you are in the kitchen cooking dinner while your partner is watching TV in the living room. A commercial comes on for a trip to Greece and your partner yells out “Oh honey, I would love to go to Greece one day. Come look!”

Turning towards may mean simply acknowledging the commercial and saying something like “I would love to travel there someday too!” or walk over to the TV to check out what they are seeing.

Turning away might look like ignoring the comment or acting as though they never heard it.

Turning against might look like the partner yelling back “Can’t you see I’m busy?! We could never afford something like that.”

The tendency to turn towards, even in the small moments, assists in building depth to your relationship over time. While occasional romantic dinners or weekend getaways are nice, turning towards in small and mundane ways are actually the keys to deepening your friendship, and are the foundation for passion and intimacy.

couple is an emotional millionaire at thrive therapy florida in tampaWhen these connections are regularly made, even if they seem minor at the time, it lays the foundation for those weekend trips to be even more meaningful.

According to Gottman in his book the Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, turning towards is the basis for a satisfying sex life.

Awareness of the these critical moments when your partner bids for connection is the start of becoming an emotional millionaire.

• Ask your partner ways in which they reach out where you tend to miss it.
• Tell your partner ways you tend to “bid” for connection and how they can respond that makes you feel fulfilled
• Look for ways in which your partner bids for connection and make conscious efforts to turn towards
• Help each other with the daily tasks. Ever consider that doing the dishes, vacuuming, or doing the laundry could be the foundation for sex, romance and passion?

It can be easy to miss bids when a partner makes a bid through anger or negative emotion. An example may be if your partner says something like “Would it kill you to do the dishes at least once in a while?” It can be easy to feel criticized in that moment, and remark back in a snarky way.

What your partner really means is “when there is a sink full of dishes, I can’t relax. So if you could make sure and load your dishes into the dishwasher we could enjoy some time together.”

The most difficult part is to pause and breathe before responding, check your initial comebacks, hold your tongue, and try to understand the bid beneath the harsh tone.

Focus on the bid, not the delivery.

This may require intentional effort to calm yourself down. Try then to respond to the underlying need, and if you are unsure, you can ask politely what that is.

Using your own words, say something like “I want to make you happy. What makes having the dishes done right now so important? I want to better understand your need.”

Being distracted by the digital world also impacts a partner’s ability to recognize and receive bids.

SO many of us today are constantly on our phones checking emails, browsing the web, updating Facebook that it can become an addiction and impairs our attentiveness to our spouse. This is not supportive to developing intimate relationships with those around you so make sure to disconnect and use this as an opportunity to turn towards and make positive deposits in your emotional bank account.

Invest in your relationship.

Become an emotional millionaire.

Feel as though your relationship needs to work on building that emotional bank account? Couples Therapy or Workshops at Thrive Therapy can be a great place to do that.

Want more tips and techniques for a healthy and satisfying relationship? Subscribe to the Thrive Therapy newsletter.

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Bringing Baby Home (BBH) Workshop

bringing baby home tampa fl

Helping new parents with the transition to parenthood

Before baby arrives, most parents spend a great deal of time working on a registry to ensure they have everything they need as they prepare for the baby to come home. Many parents attend classes to learn the intricacies of the birthing process, and while this is very valuable, many parents neglect to prepare for what to do once the baby arrives. Many parents find themselves coming from a hospital or birthing center holding their baby and thinking “well what do I do now?”

This workshop helps to answer that very question.

The Bringing Baby Home (BBH) workshop is a research-based and research–tested psychoeducational workshop that is dedicated to improving the quality of life for babies and children by strengthening their families.

Developed by renowned relationship and parenting experts, Drs. John and Julie Gottman, the BBH program is perfect for those who are:

– Interested in having a baby
– Expecting a baby
– Already parenting an infant or toddler (age 0-3)

The goal of BBH is to equip you with the knowledge and skill sets needed to constructively cope with the various changes that typically occur during the first three years after your baby is born.

In the BBH workshop you and your partner will learn how to do the following:

– Strengthen your friendship
– Increase intimacy and affection
– Work through conflict with greater ease
– Maintain relationship satisfaction
– Reduce hostility
– Create positive baby-child interactions
– Ensure quality involvement for both parents
– Reduce the incidence of severity of postpartum mood disorders

Not only will this program teach you what to expect during the transition to parenthood, it will also help you do things like:

– Better understand child development
– Create co-parenting strategies with your partner
– Improve the way you and your partner communicate, connect and compromise
– Recognize signs of postpartum mood disorders and gain awareness of treatment options

Upcoming workshops in 2019 offered in a two part series – back to back Saturday format:


Sign Up Today Online or by calling Thrive Therapy at (813) 291-4975. Feel free to reach out using the contact form if you have additional questions.

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7 Principles for Making Marriage Work Frequently Asked Questions

Considering joining our class? Often couples wonder:

Will we have to share our personal problems and issues with the class?

No. The class does not include sharing problems or issues publicly. Couples exercises are done privately.

Must both partners attend or can I come alone?

Since the class involves couples doing exercises together, both parents must participate. If the class is offered over a period of time and one partner must miss a particular class meeting, then the other partner is encouraged to attend the lecture portion of the class. He or she may use the Couples Exercise time to do part of the exercise and then do the full exercise with their partner later. They may also use the exercise time to read the Seven Principles book.

My partner isn’t a reader. Can we still come to the class if he/she won’t read the book?

Yes, still come to the class. While the book provides very valuable information, the class lectures will summarize the content of the book. Each person will need a Couples Guide, however, to do the Couples Exercises efficiently.

Should we do the exercises in the book at home or save them for class?

The class will involve doing some of the exercises from the book so doing them at home first would duplicate some of them. In some cases, the directions for doing the exercises in class have been revised and updated from those presented in the Seven Principles book. The Leaders also role play how to – and how not to – do some of the exercises in order to help participants get the most out of each exercise. There are some exercises in the book that the class will not have time to do and couples are encouraged to them at home after that chapter has been covered in class.

Sign up today! Contact Thrive Therapy by phone at (813) 291 – 4975 or reach out via our contact form.