Today I’m introducing a weekly feature called “Tech Tuesday”. I’ll be talking about technology related to mental health and wellness that could include apps, websites, videos, products or other resources. The technology I share will cover a broad range of subjects, including self-care, psychology, relationships, monitoring mood, staying grounded, mindfulness and general wellness.
Have you and your partner updated your love maps recently? Alright, you might be wondering what’s a love map or this sounds strange. Hear me out. John Gottman and The Gottman Institute research the science behind successful couples and use those principals to help save and strengthen relationships and many therapists (including me) use his work and principles regularly in couples therapy. I wanted to highlight a key starting principal of his called “Love Maps.”
Love maps mean that you and your partner intimately know each other’s world including each persons goals, worries, hopes and dreams. Love maps may include the small details like how does your partner like their sandwich made, what’s the TV show they can’t wait to watch this week and what is the most stressful thing happening at work right now. What would be the first thing you partner does if they win the Powerball lottery tomorrow?
It’s important that you are always updating one another’s love maps as feelings, interests and experiences change over time. Often times couples get to know each other’s love maps in complete detail early in the relationship as you are dating but then as time goes on, life gets busy and you don’t take the time to talk about all those details or you just assume you already know them not realizing things have changed.
This “updating” of the love maps helps build connection but is also a key way of how couples will be able to cope and have the fortitude to make it through stressful events, conflict and challenges in the relationship.
Gottman has a list of questions that are now in app form that can be used to help update your love maps with your partner. It can be a fun and intentional way to talk, learn and reconnect with your partner. The app is called “Love Maps” by The Gottman Institute.
Using the app take turns reading the questions and guess your partner’s answers, then give them a chance to respond by maybe adding more details to what you said, giving you an update or confirming you got it all. Then switch.
This exercise is meant to be a time of connection so if you don’t get each others answers right at first, that’s ok and give one another grace knowing that this is why you are taking the time to update your love maps.
This app is a great way to start broadly updating your love maps and what’s happening currently in your lives. Love maps also go deeper exploring your inner emotional worlds including knowing life triumphs, strengths, deep pain, difficult periods and who you want to become in the future. It’s an ongoing and life-long process and you’ll never know everything, but by trying you will enhance your relationship and strengthen it for the future.
If you are looking for more ways to strengthen your relationship and reconnect with your partner or have been thinking about starting couples counseling in San Francisco, I encourage you to reach out and contact me for a consultation.