Do you know your spouse’s favorite ice cream? Can you name their closest friends? Knowing those small details about your partner is known as your Love Map, so named by Dr. John Gottman. Your map is made up of memories of your past, details of your present, hopes for the future, deepest fears, and grandest dreams (Brittle, 2015). This means your map is constantly under construction, changing with new experiences. Just as your map dynamic, so is your spouse’s. So, how do you keep up with the alterations?
When my husband and I were dating, we loved taking the time to get to know each other. We would spend hours on the phone sharing intimate details about our pasts and dreaming about our future. Though it became a little more difficult with our busy schedules once we married, we kept learning about one another. I discovered that he hated lemon chicken, so I’ve never made it since. He found that my biggest love language is quality time, so he found ways to steel little moments together and made a conscious effort to let me know he was thinking of me when we couldn’t actually be together. Over time we allowed kids, work, school, and some personal struggles to come before our marriage, our friendship. We drifted further apart and as we did, everything else became harder. Shortly after our ten month anniversary, in a moment of marital crisis, we realized we had to change if our marriage was going to survive. We’ve been making a concerted effort to really get to know one another again and it’s made such a difference.
You Are Here
It’s almost impossible to find your way to where you need to be if you don’t know where you currently are. The first step to rediscovering your spouse is to determine how much you actually know about them right now. Even if you’ve been together five, ten, twenty, or even fifty years, there is (and always will be) more that you don’t know about your partner than you do. Make it a priority over the lifetime your relationship to always get to know your partner better.
Not sure where you stand? Take this quiz to find out!
Are We There Yet?
If you find that your love map isn’t as complete as it needs to be, do not despair. I’ve been there, and I can tell you that while updating it does take time, it is possible and oh so worth it.