Couples who have detailed love maps—my term for that part of your brain where you store all the relevant information about your partner’s life—are far better prepared to cope with stressful events and conflict. When couples are already in the habit of keeping up to date and are intently aware of what each other is feeling and thinking, they aren’t thrown off course. But if couples don’t start off with a deep knowledge of each other, it’s easy for a marriage to lose its way when lives shift so suddenly and dramatically. Just the passage of time can do it as well. The more you know and understand about each other, the easier it is to keep connected as life swirls around you.
Love Map Questionnaire
By giving honest answers to the following questions, you will get a sense of the quality of your current love maps.
Read each statement, and select T for “true” or F for “false.”
1. I know my partner’s major current worries. T F
2. I know what my partner would want to do if he or she suddenly won the lottery. T F
3. My partner knows who my friends are. T F
4. I know the three most special times in my partner’s life. T F
5. I know the names of some of the people who have been irritating my partner lately. T F
6. Periodically I ask my partner about his or her world right now. T F
7. I can list the relatives my partner likes the least. T F
8. My partner is familiar with my hopes and aspirations. T F
9. I can tell you the most stressful things that happened to my partner as a child. T F
10. My partner is familiar with my current stresses. T F
Scoring [1 point for each “true” answer]
5 or higher: This is an area of strength for your marriage. You have a fairly detailed map of your spouse’s everyday life, hopes, fears and dreams. You know what makes your spouse tick. Try not to take for granted this knowledge and understanding of each other. Keeping in touch in this way ensures you’ll be well equipped to handle any problem areas that crop up in your relationship.
Below 5: Your relationship could stand some improvement in this area. Perhaps you never had the time or the tools to really get to know each other. Or perhaps your love maps have become outdated as your lives have changed over the years. In either case, by taking the time to learn more about your spouse now, you’ll find your relationship becomes stronger.
Reprinted from THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES FOR MAKING MARRIAGE WORK: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert Copyright © 2015 by John Gottman, Ph.D. and Nan Silver. Published by Harmony Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.