Dr. John Gottman is a renowned relationship expert and his research on building a “Love Map” emphasizes the importance of knowing your partner’s inner world in order to build a strong and lasting relationship. The concept of the Love Map is based on the idea that a strong relationship is built on a foundation of knowledge and understanding of your partner’s thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, fears, and preferences.
According to Gottman, a Love Map is a mental map that we create of our partner’s inner world. It includes information such as their likes and dislikes, important life events, and deepest hopes and fears. When we have a detailed Love Map of our partner, we are better able to understand their thoughts and emotions, empathize with them, and respond to their needs in a more meaningful way. This, in turn, can help build trust and emotional intimacy in the relationship.
Gottman’s Love Map concept is just one of the many principles he has developed through his research on couples and relationships. His other main concepts include the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling) and the Sound Relationship House, which includes components such as trust, intimacy, and shared meaning.
Gottman’s work has been widely studied and cited in the field of couples therapy. One of his most famous books is “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”, which provides practical advice and strategies for couples looking to improve their relationship. Another highly recommended book is “The Relationship Cure”, which focuses on improving communication and emotional connection between partners.
Try these questions with your partner to build your love map:
What are some of your partner’s goals and dreams for the future?
What are some of your partner’s favorite hobbies or interests?
What are some of your partner’s fears or worries?
What are some of your partner’s most cherished childhood memories?
What are some of your partner’s favorite movies or books?
What are some of your partner’s spiritual or religious beliefs?
What are some of your partner’s greatest strengths or talents?
What are some of your partner’s pet peeves or dislikes?
What are some of your partner’s fondest memories of your relationship?
What are some of your partner’s deepest desires or aspirations?
Overall, Gottman’s Love Map concept is an essential component of building a strong and healthy relationship. By taking the time to get to know your partner on a deep level, you can foster a stronger emotional connection, build trust, and create a foundation for a lasting relationship
If you want to become a good listener there are certain traits and skills you will need to learn. Listening is a great skill to develop and it can improve all areas of your life. People love to talk and are always looking for someone to listen to them.
When listening to someone your goal should be to understand their point of view. Listen to everything they say before forming your own opinion, and remember that you do not necessarily have to agree with them. Everyone deserves, and should form, their own opinions on various topics.
Paying attention is the next trait. If you don’t pay attention you will miss out on important information. Always be aware of what is going on with the person who is speaking, and don’t forget to pay attention to your surroundings.
The action of making eye contact with the person who is speaking, shows them that you are paying attention. If you start looking around you, you are giving them the impression that you are not interested, or have become bored.
Try to look at their point of view and ask yourself if they might be the person who is right.
Allow the person to finish talking. This often takes a little patience, but it can be helpful for both sides. First the person talking can vent their opinions or frustrations. Secondly it helps the listener to fully understand the issue at hand.
A good listener will also think before responding back. Again they often ask what if this person is correct in their way of thinking. People have the bad trait of speaking before thinking and this can lead to all kinds of awkward or difficult situations.
It is perfectly normal for your brain to want to respond quickly, stop yourself and think before you speak!
Sometimes it can be hard to stay focused on a person, it is normal to want to look away. If you find yourself doing this try nodding to the person or making direct eye contact with them. This signals to them that you are paying attention. If you really need to look away for a second, then muffle a cough behind your hand!
Other tips that you might want to use to show that you are paying attention include:
Saying the person’s name now and again
Using facial expressions
Using body language
If you make an effort to put these five traits into play consistently, you will become a much better listener for it.
A good marriage isn’t something you find. You have to make it great, and then you have to keep making it that way. Most people stop working on their marriage right after the honeymoon is over. They get bogged down in work, kids, mortgages, and all the trials of life. If you don’t stay focused on then intimacy in marriage, you will lose it. Here are a few tips to help you keep the flame of love and happiness lit:
Show Them Respect
Every healthy relationship must include respect. Without it, you are doomed to fail. When your partner wants to speak with you, take the time to do so. Don’t mock their words or belittle them in any way. By showing your significant other that you value their thoughts, feelings, time and effort, you will let them know you respect them.
The opposite of respect is contempt or criticism. That is poison to the relationship and part of the “Four Horseman” of the final days of marriage. The other two destructive forces in marriage are stonewalling and defensiveness. These latter two “horseman” refer to emotionally shutting down and overly protecting oneself.
John Gottman, marriage researcher and author states: “Successful long-term relationships are created through small words, small gestures, and small acts.”
Give Them Priority
Your partner may not always be your number one priority, especially if you had children before you entered the relationship or have another situation that demands a lot of your time. If your partner is always last on your list, though, there will be trouble. Giving your partner at least some priority shows them that you value them.
Marriage needs balance to succeed. After work and kids are gone, couples end up with nothing. Put some time into one another, through date nights, talking after the kids go to bed, enjoying hobbies or activities together, reading, etc. What you do isn’t as important as the fact that you are doing things together.
Have Fun Together
Make time to laugh together. Plan fun activities and do new things together so that you can always remember the experience. Making memories builds bonds. This will give you and your partner good feelings when thinking about one another, because of the great times you have when you are with each other. Fun can involve the children too. Watch funny movies, tell jokes, ask about the highs and lows of the day so marriage and family intimacy deepens.
Learn with Them
Take a class together, or embark on learning a new hobby as a duo. When you stretch your brains in regards to the same subject, it gives you something to talk about. When a couple feels like they are challenging each other and helping each other to become their best, it brings strength to the relationship.
If you are struggling in some area of your relationship this is an excellent topic to read a book on or attend a course. There are thousands of YouTube videos and podcasts. Listen to one on the way to the store or off to visits grandparents. You might discover that one magic idea that causes your relationship to soar.
It has been said that the “capacity to learn is a gift, the ability to learn is a skill, the willingness to learn is a choice” (Brian Herbert).
Maintain Your Individuality
Although time as a unit is important, don’t do absolutely everything together. Give yourself the opportunity to grow your other friendships and hobbies. When you do this, it gives you a break so that you can appreciate each other when you are together, and it also gives you something to talk about.
Women are more likely to connect with friends than men. Developing relationship as a couple and then branching out or reaching out might be something men can work on. Getting involved in men’s groups or sports can be an excellent outlet for men as well.
Express Your Appreciation
Let your partner know that you are grateful for them and who they are. When they have made sacrifices to do something kind for you, write them a thank you card or cook them their favorite meal. Showing your thankfulness and appreciation never goes out of style. The opposite could also be true: Stop showing appreciation for others and they might stop doing the things we appreciate!
Be Creative in Showing Your Love
Say “I love you” to your partner, but don’t stop there. Get creative in the ways that you show your love. Demonstrate it by using your own personal talents through actions such as writing them a poem, making their favourite dessert or composing a song for them. Plan a relaxing vacation weekend or even a one-on-one movie night together at home. It doesn’t take a lot of money to demonstrate that you love your partner.
Gary Chapman wrote a popular book: “The 5 Love Languages”. It outlines how everyone feels most loved in unique ways. We tend to show love in the ways we like to feel loved versus loving them in their own way.
The 5 Love Languages include: Words of appreciation, physical touch, gifts, acts of service, and quality time. It is possible to have more than one but learning your partners special way of feeling loved is an act of love in itself. Try taking the online quiz to learn with your spouse at https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/love-language
If you would like more help learning how to make love last, consider talking with Ron Huxley for online couples counseling today.