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Building Stronger Connections and Foundations for your Relationship Through Love Maps

In any new relationship, you start off by getting to know one another. Asking questions to each other, finding out the other’s likes and dislikes, who their best friends are, how close they are with their family, all the inner workings of each other. This is something that people can often forget to continue to do once they are fully in the relationship, especially years into it. Sometimes people forget just due to the busyness of their everyday lives, but sometimes it may be because people may think they know all there is to know about their partner and may see no reason in continuing to intentionally ask those kinds of questions or have those types of conversations. That is where that connection and love for one another can sometimes get lost throughout the years, maybe even months, of being in that relationship. When people continue to learn more about each other and connect in different ways every single day, they can continue to grow within that relationship and create a stronger bond and connection between you and your partner; not only does this create more love for one another but also a friendship that can strengthen that relationship even more.

Love maps are one way to focus on that connection and getting to know your partner more. Love maps are a part of the Gottman’s method of the Sound Relationship House. These maps are the first “floor” in the house that is meant to start the relationship off, and continue, on a strong, solid foundation. Love maps are essentially your guide to one another, as mentioned above, each other’s likes and dislikes, inner circles, what stresses each of you out, etc. The Gottman’s have put together specific questions that you can ask one another to continue to create your own individual love maps. These questions may have some that are easy, that you know off the top of your head, but they also have some that you may not know, and that’s okay. This isn’t about who knows who better or an excuse to get mad at your partner for what they don’t know. This is an opportunity for you two to learn more about each other and grow deeper within your relationship. This is an opportunity for you to continue to see what you have in common, as well as what some of your differences are and how you can use those to the advantage of the relationship.

There are a few different ways to go about building your love maps, but the first step to do is to create a map about your own life first. It can be written down in any capacity, as an actual map, a timeline, or just a journal entry. Talk about what the journey has been like for you so far, any twists and turns, any peaks or valleys, and everything in between. When you have a better understanding and awareness of yourself and your own love map, it’s easier to help your partner have a better understanding of yourself as well. After you’ve figured out your own love map, start (or continue) asking your partner questions, and again, a main point to this is to be intentional about it. We are learning things about our partner every day, whether we realize it or not, so making sure we’re setting time aside to sit down together and ask each other questions. This can be done by coming up with your own questions, using prompts, or there are specific questions that Gottman has put together for people to use. This can be found by either utilizing the “Gottman Love Deck Cards” via the app store on your phone or computer, which is free, or they can also be purchased as a physical deck of cards that focuses more on asking questions to one another. These can provide questions that you and your partner may not initially think of. Here are some questions to get you and your partner started:

  • Name two of your partner’s closest friends.

  • What was your partner wearing when you first met?

  • What stresses is your partner facing right now?

  • What is your partner’s favorite way to spend the evening?

  • What is one of your partner’s greatest fears or disaster scenarios?

  • Who is one of your partner’s family members?

  • What personal improvements does your partner want to make in their life?

  • What has been your partner’s favorite vacation?

  • Who is one of your partner’s greatest sources of support (other than you)?

  • What is my favorite movie?

  • What was your partner’s worst childhood experience?

  • What is your partner’s favorite restaurant?

  • What are two of your partner’s aspirations, hopes, and wishes?

These are just a few examples of some questions that can foster further conversation regarding getting to know one another more. Some of these, again, may be easy, but some of them, you may not even know the answer to until you’ve been asked. Use these questions to add details to your maps and talk through stories with one another, at the beginning of your relationship and throughout it. Constantly asking one another questions and creating conversations around the inner workings of your lives can only create and strengthen the foundation of your relationship.

Written by,

Emily Blair, ALMFT



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