Relationships can be viewed like houses: in order for them to be weather the elements and be long-lasting, they must develop by establishing a strong foundation first. Without this, a house or relationship will experience cracks that can be detrimental (and expensive). Relationship researcher, author, and expert Dr. John Gottman, has found that relationships that have 7 levels built into their relationship, which he terms “the sound relationship house”, tend to be emotionally intelligent couples. So what does an emotionally intelligent couple look like? These types of couples are able to know and store the ins and outs of each partner’s world, which promotes friendship and intimacy and the ability to manage conflict and stress effectively. To be emotionally intelligent also means that partners have the ability to be attuned to changing thoughts and feelings of one another as time goes on.
Dr. Gottman has termed this detailed knowledge about each partner’s life as “love maps.” Love maps allow couples to learn about the inner life of each partner, which strengthens connection as well as provides insight into how to couples can best support and love one another. The more couples feel they know one another, the stronger their connection will be and thus they will experience their relationship as rewarding.
Love maps include significant events and memories, hopes and dreams, fears, preferences, dislikes, etc. Here are some examples of questions that elicits information that makes up a love map:
- What is your partner’s most embarrassing moment?
- Name your partner’s best friend.
- What current stressors is your partner experiencing?
- What is your partner’s greatest fear?
- Describe your partner’s day yesterday.
- What side of the bed does your partner prefer?
- How does your partner like to spend their free time?
- What is one thing your partner would change about their past?
- What are your partner’s career goals?
- What is your partner’s worst childhood memory?
The bottom line is this: get to know your partner! Couples who are friends tend to develop a deep bond, a strong level of intimacy, and the ability to handle stress and conflict in effective manners.