What are your husband’s painful and happy childhood memories? What are the things that make him happy or stressed right now? What are his dreams and aspirations for the future? These are just some of the things about your partner which you store in your love map.
Love map defined
According to John Gottman, a renowned relationship scientist and therapist in US, love Map is the term he used for that part of your brain where you store all the relevant information about your partner’s life.
This relevant information pertains to remembering your partner’s important history, his present emotional states, his preferences, etc.
You know he wants his sunny-side-up egg intact and half-cooked yolk, his bacon and fries crunchy, his coffee brewed. You know he’s looking forward to that upcoming Reru Kenshin and Christopher Nolan movies, you know he feels stressed and overwhelmed of too many projects, you know he’s suffering from his perfectionist inner critic. Ok wait, I think I just described my hubby. But anyway, I know you got the picture.
Why is it important in marriage?
On a study about marital dissatisfaction during the birth of the first baby, the researcher found out that Sixty-seven percent of the fifty newly wed couples underwent a swift decline in marital satisfaction the first time they became parents. The remaining 33 percent did not experience this drop—in fact, about half of them saw their marriages improve.
What made these two groups different? You guessed it right: The couples whose marriages thrived after the birth had detailed love maps. The love maps protected their marriages in the wake of this dramatic upheaval.
Couples who have detailed love maps are in touch not just with the outlines of each other’s lives–their favorite hobbies, sports, and so on–but with each other’s deepest longings, beliefs, and fears. No matter how busy they were, they made each other their priority—always making sure they had time to catch up on each other’s day. And at least once a week they’d go out for dinner and just talk—sometimes about politics, sometimes about the weather, sometimes about their own marriage.
Have you ever heard or seen some married couples gone estranged? Or maybe some couples who spiralled down to becoming roommates only? One grieving woman said, “I don’t know who my husband is anymore.” Perhaps these happened because the couples failed to update their love maps regularly.
As they said, “change is the only constant thing,” and it holds true for us and our spouses. As years go by, we experience many things in life, and these experiences change us, mold us, hone us. Updating our love maps deliberately will keep us on-the-know of who our partners are in the present, and what they will become in the future. Getting to know each other don’t just happen in the pre-relationship, the stage before you were boyfriend-girlfriend, it must happen too during the entire life of the marriage.
7 Principles in Making Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman