Do you remember when you and your partner first met? It was SO exciting and there was a lot to learn about each other - memories of your past, the details of your present, and your hopes for the future.
Often, we can slide into a "comfortable" or "complacent" place when we feel we know all there is about our partner, but information and experience can change, even daily.
The key to sustaining a strong connection in your relationship is to stay curious about your partner's world.
Dr. John and Julie Gottman coined the term Love Maps. "When you choose to spend your life with someone, you hand them a map to your inner world - of course, quite complex and it includes your deepest fears and your grandest dreams. But the map you hand your partner is a pencil sketch.
The task for couples is to intentionally be adding details to that map. It needs scale, direction, a legend. Over the course of a lifetime, you will be constantly adding landmarks, texture, color. A detailed Love Map brings perspective to the twists and turns that inevitably enter a marriage. It’s critical that you prioritize this effort early and revisit often."
Schedule time to regularly update each other’s love maps by sitting down and catching up.
Open-ended questions are important, but even the detail-oriented questions can lead to storytelling and discovery. Here's a few to get started:
Name my two closest friends.
What was I wearing when we first met?
Name one of my hobbies.
What stresses am I facing right now?
Describe in detail what I did today or yesterday.
What is my fondest unrealized dream?
What is one of my greatest fears or disaster scenarios?
What is my favorite way to spend an evening?
What is one of my favorite ways to be soothed?
What is my favorite getaway place?
What are some of the important events coming up in my life? How do I feel about them?
What are some of my favorite ways to work out?
Name one of my major rivals or “enemies.”
What would I consider my ideal job?
What medical problems do I worry about?
What was my most embarrassing moment?
Name one of my favorite novels/movies.
What is my favorite restaurant?
The more you know about each other, the more you feel a strong connection, and the more profound and rewarding your relationship will be.
Looking for more questions to ask?
Download the "Gottman Card Decks" App to select from Love Maps, Open-Ended Questions, Rituals of Connection, Salsa (intimacy), and more!
Reference: The Sound Relationship House: Build Love Maps