We decide to go on vacation, we get the suitcases out, grab our keys and then what? Where are we going? What have we done in the past and how does that effect our plans for the future? Often we will map out our ideas, and use that map to plan where we are going and how we are getting there.
Our relationships are just the same and having Love Maps will help guide our relationships through good times and times of struggles.
So, what is a Love Map?
John Gottman Calls Love Maps those parts of our brain where we store all the relevant information about our partner’s life.
Love Maps can include their past difficulties, successes, family history, career journey, aspirations, values and fun information like their favorite type of ice cream or sports team. By exploring these areas with each other, we begin to learn about them, to know why they react/respond the way they do and what makes them.. them. This will help in our responses to bids, it will help connect in personal ways and help with empathy and love.
To start the process of putting Love Maps in your own relationship, play the 20 questions game! Take 15 minutes a few times a week and sit down with your partner and play the “20 question” game. Ask them about their favorite foods, their dreams and passions. Even if you think you already know them, use this time to reconnect and maybe discover something new!
Adding to the Love Maps, is Love Banks…
Love Banks can be “tangible” or “virtual”.
Imagine It’s pay day… your paycheck goes directly into your bank account. The money sits there, and when there is a need, (paying a bill, going to the store or going to the movies) you draw money out of your bank to do it. But, what happens if you don’t put your next pay check into your account? What happens if you use up all of your money and then a bill needs to be paid, and there is no more money left to pay it. Then the trouble starts. You have needs and there is nothing in your account to pay for them.
Love Banks work the same way. In a “virtual” bank we remember all the little things, all the times our partner has turned towards us, all the special moments in our relationship. These “good times” are important to purposefully hold onto, so when hard times come along, we can “withdraw” the memories and use them to help us move past the struggle. We remember all the good moments, the little things, the love. These moments help counter the tough ones.
I like to suggest a “tangible” love bank. You can use a vase, jar or any item like that. Go get a different colored note pad for each person who is involved. Keep the vase in an area that is seen by all. When someone does something nice for us, (plans a special night, rubs our feet, puts away the laundry, makes us feel special, ect..) write down what they did on their colored piece of paper. Fold the paper and put it in the jar. When there is a struggle or fight, take a moment and pull the notes out of the jar, and read what you wrote about the other person.
(Here is a picture of our Love Bank!!)
When we fight it can be easy to forget all the good in your relationship. This will give you a tangible memory to read and remember, to help in your repairing process. This will be a way to “withdraw” the good memories to help you remember that your partner loves you, has good intent and this struggle will pass.
Using Love Maps and Love Banks in your relationship can be a wonderful start to making memories, using those memories to helping you through times of struggle and for being apart of your partners dreams and passions! Make the decision today to take your relationship to the next level!