Relationship Management Skills for Work/Life Balance, Part 2: Love and Emotions

Elissa Teal Watson
3 min readSep 22, 2021

We can make some safe assumptions about our family and friends.

They have needs and desires and they want them met. In part, they want their needs and desires met by you. They want to feel loved, cared for, valued, and appreciated.

When those needs are met regularly, the relationship is positive. Conflict is more easily resolved. Less time wasted on negative emotions. More time is available for the important things — — for the relationship to be fulfilling to both people.

I want to bring in two ideas for you to use for your personal relationships.

  • The emotional bank account metaphor
  • The 5 love languages

The emotional bank account metaphor is this. Each person in a relationship needs to have positive emotional experiences from the other. These positive emotional experiences fill up the emotional bank account — like a deposit in a bank account. Negative emotional experiences deplete the emotional bank account — like withdrawals from a bank account. Bringing back personal boundaries into our discussion — when our personal boundaries are violated by a loved one — our emotional bank is depleted.

But what type of experiences fill up our emotional bank account? Positive experiences, yes.

But what are the most powerful positive experiences? They are going to be different for each person.

Some people feel loved and appreciated when their loved one buys them a gift, but for other people gifts aren’t important — gifts don’t represent positive emotional experiences. Gifts don’t fill up their emotional bank but, maybe, for them, instead, they feel loved and appreciated when their loved one does particular things for them or spends quality time with them or speaks words of appreciation and admiration to them.

Each person interprets experiences or expressions, even so-called positive experiences, differently. The intended expressions of love may miss the mark for that person.

Gary Chapman, author of the book, The 5 Love Languages, proposes that each person has a primary love language and one or two secondary love languages. A love language is a way of expressing one person’s love and affection for another.

Unfortunately, until you understand your loved one’s primary and secondary love languages, the default love language that you will express to him/her is your own love language. You put forth what you think will fill up their emotional bank account, but maybe it doesn’t. At best, it’s wasted energy. At worst, it can cause resentment because your loved one’s emotional bank account is not getting filled and you are frustrated because you don’t know why your expressions of love aren’t helping your relationship.

I recommend that you take the free online assessment available at

There are 4 versions of the quiz: for couples, for singles, for teens, and for children.

After reviewing the results of your assessment, have a conversation with your loved one and encourage them to take the assessment. Then, talk about the specific kinds of expressions that really do fill up both of your emotional bank accounts.

Once you have that knowledge, making the appropriate expressions of love (deposits into their emotional bank account) will be a part of your Quadrant 2 practice. They are important and when you consistently make these deposits into your loved one’s emotional bank accounts your relationships will be more fulfilling.

Stay tuned. Tomorrow I will delve into several practices that improve work relationships.

If you liked this post, find the rest of the previous posts in this series by clicking on my profile. Follow me to get notified of the rest of the series!



Elissa Teal Watson

I write about mindset, emotional intelligence, self-care, productivity, habits, career, and relationship management.