Mahatria Ra, a well-respected Guru, shares many words of wisdom with the world. I would like to pass what he writes about relationships on to you. He says that relationships are like seeds. They have to be nurtured and developed. Expectations are like weeds. They grow on their own accord. When enough investment goes into building a relationship, the expectations in that relationship can be managed. When a relationship is left neglected, then the expectations in that relationship shake the very roots of the relationship. Our problem is growing expectations in stagnant relationships.

He continues his writing by using the metaphor of a savings bank account. This metaphor is also used by Stephen Covey, author of “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” Deposits build the reserves in an account from which we can withdraw – but we can withdraw only to the extent we have built the reserves. Similarly, withdrawals in a relationship are only possible to the extent we have made deposits in that relationship.

Deposits are akin to what we invest in a particular relationship and withdrawals obviously the opposite. Examples of deposits would be words of encouragement, showing appreciation, support, kind words etc. Examples of withdrawals are for instance belittling another, not keeping promises, poor listening etc.

In a relationship where there is substantial emotional reserve, mistakes will be tolerated and more easily forgiven. An environment will exist where there is true dialogue with the purpose of understanding one another rather than destructive arguments. In all, the relationship will be good because you are considered good. And you are considered good because of the deposits you have made to build the emotional reserves in that relationship.

However, there are some relationships which are taken for granted, the permanence assumed, and nothing is done to nurture the relationship. Expectations continue to rise, but the investments needed to build the relationship are not made of the same continuity. The emotional reserves are overdrawn.

In such a scenario, you will be held an offender for every word you speak; every move of yours will be judged; verbal battles and slammed doors will become regular occurrences; neither will your actions be appreciated, nor will your intentions be respected. Such a relationship is like walking on a minefield – it blows up any time and many times.

The solution is simpler than simple. Deposits, more deposits and many more deposits. No active relationship can be free from withdrawal, but we can always make enough deposits. That in which you invest time, grows. Relationships have to be nurtured with the investment of quality time. Take time to listen and understand. As often as possible, communicate to be understood.

Make your love visible by being expressive and demonstrative. Seek to give, but also be graceful in receiving. Receiving is one way of showing your respect for the giver, and it is a huge deposit. Deposit by deposit, build a great relationship and thus earn the happiness it can bring.