We're used to updates. A new iOS on the iPhone, new features in our apps - what if I told you there are updates available for your relationship?
Drs. John and Julie Gottman, researchers of love and all things relationships, developed the idea of Love Maps. Love Maps are your knowledge of your partners inner world, struggles, and day-to-day experiences. They are how you make sense of your partners' emotions and actions.
WHAT HAPPENS IF OUR LOVE MAPS ARE OUTDATED?
You can start to feel disconnected from your partner. The outdated knowledge you have of one another can lead to feeling misunderstood and hurt. If this disconnect were to continue for a long time, it could eventually lead to one or both partners opening up to other people. When you feel unknown or unimportant in your relationship, it's a vulnerability. It's an area of weakness that can become susceptible to infidelity.
HOW DO WE UPDATE OUR LOVE MAPS?
1 | Make it a priority. Recognize that staying up-to-date on your partner's world will significantly benefit your relationship. Get him on board and figure out a way to build this exercise into your life with consistency. Buy-in to the fact that something so simple can be so impactful.
2 | Set aside 20 minutes per day to talk. Life is hectic and it's easy to get caught up in to-do's and miss opportunities for connection. Scheduling "talk time" every day will help ensure you and your partner build it in with consistency. It can be over coffee in the morning, at dinnertime, or while getting ready for bed. The most important thing here is consistency - make it happen every day.
3 | Download the Love Maps app. I love this app. I encourage all of my couples therapy clients to use it. The app makes updating your Love Maps super easy. It's like an electronic deck of cards that you flip through on your cell phone. You and your partner can pull it out and run through some questions during downtime - car rides, grocery shopping, when you first get into bed at night.
WHAT BENEFITS WILL YOU EXPERIENCE?
When you get in the habit of keeping your Love Maps updated, you'll begin to feel closer and more connected to your partner. You'll find yourself giving him the benefit of the doubt more and having a more positive perspective on the relationship overall. There's something about knowing your partner on a deeper level that strengthens the relationship.
I'd love to hear about what you do with this exercise. Leave a comment below and let me know how you updated your Love Maps and what the experience was like.
Meredith Silversmith, MA, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Co-Founder, and Clinical Director of Nassau Wellness. Meredith is passionate about her work and truly enjoys her time with clients. She specializes in couples therapy, chronic conflict, infidelity, communication issues, and teen issues. Read more...