Examine yourself from a separate perspective. What is your reaction towards whenever you hear someone mention the length of their relationship, and it completely exceeds your preconceived notion about the length of typical relationships. You hear scoffs in the crowd, claps and oohs of bafflement. Perhaps you hear a dismissive joke or cajoling. But what do you see in the clumsy, honest engagement of something that extensive? Something perhaps fragile, dwindling? No, they are firmly engaged and bonded with one another. How is this possible?
The study of this certain phenomena, of such an extensive relationship with seemingly no secrets to divulge is the primary focus for many counselors and researchers of the romantic bond between partners within a relationship. There are multitudes of supposed solutions to the eventual question within most individuals’ lives: how can one make it ‘work’? One of the most prominent solutions however, instinctively done by the happiest and most successful of couples is a certain action described by the Gottman Institute as “Love Mapping”. This art is the simple act of communication, and discussing with each other about one’s desires, goals, likes, dislikes, etc.
The more you are familiar with your partner, the more intimacy happens. This is called having a love map of your partner. This helps maintain intimacy, and better prepares one to deal with stressful events and conflict. Life-cycle transitions (=inherent stressors), such as bringing in children into the family, are also better handled as the couple are “in touch”. Those who do not have an adequate love map experience a drop in intimacy in the couple relationship with transition to parenthood.
Tools to improve love maps
1. Love map questionnaire: self-assessment to see how much the person really knows his/her
2. Exercises in this book:
- ‘love-map 20 question game’ -asking the partner to think of the things important to
the asking partner.
- ‘make your own love maps’
- filling in info about partner’s:
- People of partner‟s life -(friends, potential friends, rivals/enemies)
- Recent important events in partner’s life
- Upcoming events
- Partner’s current stresses
- Partner’s current stresses, worries
- Partner’s hopes, aspirations
3. Who am I : self-exploration exercise to allow you and your partner to build better
This exercise looks at:
- My triumphs and strivings
- My injuries and healing
- My emotional world
- My mission and legacy
- Who I want to become
4. Dr Harmony’s Personal Handbook is also a good tool to use for self discovery
Principle 1: Enhance Your Love Maps
Invest in Your Relationship: The Emotional Bank Account | The Gottman Institute
The Easiest Way to Improve Your Relationship | The Gottman Institute
John Gottman: How to Build Trust
Principle 2: Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration
Marriage Minute #3: Keeping Marriage New
Behaviors That Destroy Couples and How to Turn it Around | Dr. Julie Gottman
Smart Girl's Poly Recommendation