Remember when you fell in love for the first time? You may have spent countless hours getting to know the person that captured your heart. All that gained knowledge deepened the affection you shared while creating the foundational path that grew into a relationship.
The curiosity to know and be known paved a road to your heart, creating memories that endeared you to one another. Renowned relationship expert, Dr. John Gottman, calls this a “love map”. In his research on what makes couples tick, he coined this phrase to describe knowledge of your partner’s inner world. If you find that knowledge of your partner’s inner world has declined, or perhaps has never existed, here are some ideas for creating a map to your partner’s heart.
Ask questions…lots of them
Make time to talk about thoughts, dreams, and desires to discover more about your partner. Even if you have been together for many years, you are likely to learn something new. Test your present knowledge by answering questions like these:
– Who are my partner’s best friends?
– What stresses does my partner currently face?
– What are my partner’s life dreams?
Reminisce about days gone by
Keep talking! Reminisce about how you first met, what captured your attention, what it was like to be newly married. These memories allow you to explore the beginning foundation of your relationship. Talk about how has this foundation changed over time. What storms has it weathered? Are there cracks that have formed?
“Many rivers cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.” Song of Songs 8:7 NIV
Seek accountability, if necessary
If there are cracks that have formed, there are things you can do to help repair them. Try attending a marriage enrichment weekend or seeking out other couples who can help through accountability or mentoring. If the depth of the problem is beyond your reach, seek out a professional counselor that can work with you both to help strengthen your relationship. You can begin to fill the cracks in your foundation and stay on the path toward continued success.
With Valentine’s Day among us, why not give a gift that lasts longer than roses or a box of chocolates. Time and presence – two gifts with unlimited potential.