Investing in Your Relationship

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We’re popping this question to all stock market fanatics: are you investing in your relationship as much as you’re investing in your portfolio?

Oops. We detect a guilty darting of the eyes – like a “how about if we just skip that question” look. Let’s not skip it because you might be surprised at the ROI (return on investment) you receive if you diligently, consistently, faithfully invest in your relationship. Whatever relationship it is – marital, man/woman or just co-habiting friends – there’s some investing to do. By you.

Be lame with the effort and the relationship could crash like the Dow Jones or come tumbling down like a house of cards.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “the way to wealth is as plain as the way to market. It depends chiefly on two words, industry and frugality.” He was most likely referring to financial prosperity, but we don’t think his advice will work in the relationships department. It will work partially, but not 100%.

What we mean: “industry” as one of the two words mentioned by Franklin will produce results…no doubt. To gain a foothold into a relationship, one has to be industrious. Work hard at your relationships, say the wise men, because you’ll win love and affection hands down. If you make the effort, your partner will realize that you’re not slacking off and that you’re trying to please as much as you can. A delightful gesture, a kind word always go a long way.

We said Franklin’s advice will partly work – only because we think “frugality” – the second word - could bring about disastrous results for the relationship. In fact, the opposite, generosity, is better - but certainly not in the way you’re thinking. Investing in your relationship need not be star-studded with diamonds or sustained with pricey gifts or gourmet meals in trendy restaurants. We should remove all notion of relationship-investing as a monetary exercise. You don’t have to be the Magi bearing gifts at the midnight hour. Instead, we’re thinking of generosity in terms of quality time you spend with your significant other. If you’re resourceful, you’ll see how easy this is to accomplish.

Investing in Your Relationship: So Many Ways!

Creativity knows no limits.

Here are at least half a dozen ways to invest:

  • email transfers - If you’re tongue-tied when it comes to expressing love, send your beloved an email saying that you appreciated it when he took out the garbage without being asked; likewise for the man: tell her she looked absolutely stunning in black.
  • stocks and bonds – take “stock” of your true sentiments about your beloved and “bond” by saying that you realize how you can’t live without her/him. All these years you always considered yourself emotionally independent, but you admit now you’re wrong. There is no way on earth you could go on living without your other half. If you say this occasionally, you’ll see eyes that will sparkle forever!
  • mutual funds – when she blurts out, “oh, I just loved the way you handled that crisis”, say the feeling is mutual – because you just love the way she makes your heart melt.
  • oil – the petroleum industry is at an all-time-high these days but we’re not talking of the oil that you put in your car. When you oil your relationship, you’re actually making sure that the nuts and bolts are in place and that no important parts fall off. The nuts and bolts and parts are your partner’s feelings of affection for you. If you don’t “lubricate” that affection, it can get very rusty. You have the option to do damage control by investing in your relationship as early in the game as you can!
  • precious metals – if you’ve been well-behaved as a loving partner, your girlfriend or wife would not mind receiving metals of any kind – a.k.a. jewelry. They don’t have to be precious – they can be the costume jewelry kind, just as long as you don’t grab them off a dollar store rack. The same thing applies to your boyfriend/husband. If you get him an inexpensive metal product – like a joystick or a stack of blank CDs or some power drills – he’d put you on a high pedestal.
  • rare commodities – they say that chivalry is dead nowadays. Because it’s so rarely practiced, it qualifies as a rare commodity. Be gallant and chivalrous to your partner and see how much ROI you’ll receive in exchange!

Do you know how rare a home-cooked meal is these days because the wife is out working and has a high-pressure job? You’ve grown accustomed to frozen pizzas, frozen peas and canned meat. If your wife surprises you one evening with a home-cooked meal even if there is no occasion like a birthday or anniversary to speak of, she’s investing in your relationship. She realizes that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so she checked out of the office early to check in on you.

Why Investing in Your Relationship is Smart

Another question we’d like to pop: would you really enjoy looking for a new love interest every time the relationship comes to an end because no investments have been made? Wouldn’t it be better to invest in an existing relationship than going out into smoke-filled bars or poring over profiles offered by online dating services only to be disappointed after the first date?

If you’re content with your present partner and provided there are no major issues to resolve, why risk losing the person you truly care about? Sure there are arguments, and there are always things to be scared about like the future and how it will pan out, but if you’ve found your soul mate, then you’re better off investing in your relationship.

Who has the energy to go looking for love anyway – especially when we’ve got a helter-skelter routine? Why not enrich the one relationship you have now, instead of taking a long journey to love all over again?

Some reasons why investing in your relationship is smart: 

  • a shower of dividends – love begets love, kindness begets kindness. The dividends may be small, but small is better than none. If you’re kind to your girlfriend, she’ll never squirm if you ask her to pick up your shirts from the dry cleaners. She’ll do it gladly. We know of several girlfriends who do it out of love and never once complain. If you’re kind to your boyfriend, he may agree to repair your car brakes for free. He’s so good with his hands that whatever he touches is gold. So be kind and you’ll receive efficient brakes in return. Free.
  • initial investment needs to be super-charged – when you first met each other, you put your best foot forward. Then you went through the “getting to know you” phase. Following that was the “getting to know you and your warts and other unpleasant qualities” phase. How long did that take? Six – twelve – fifteen months? Today, you’re both comfortable with each other. There’s a certain degree of predictability. You’ve come to accept each other’s weaknesses and strengths. Are you going to let that initial investment fester because you’re not renewing it or nurturing it? Prop up your initial investment or else lose it.
  • divorce is out of the question – no matter how many fights you’ve had, you know that they won’t lead you to court. You know deep down in your heart that what you both invested in the marriage is sacred and solid. Like we said kindness begets kindness. A kind husband or wife will banish divorce from their minds even after a major spat because both of them will rise above pettiness. It’s like the old, reliable advice about physical fitness: it’s better to do shorter but more frequent workouts rather than one huge workout only during a full moon.

Investing in your relationship is habit-forming. Do it regularly, even in modest quantities and you’ll be flying to the moon and playing among the stars in no time! Yeah, baby…

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