How A Love Map Can Increase Intimacy In Your Relationship
By: Aesha Adams Roberts
My heart was pounding in my chest. I couldn't believe he agreed to meet with me again at Starbucks. It was our second date and I was excited. While we sipped on Carmel Macchiatos with extra caramel, I asked him to tell me stories about his experiences as a naval officer. He told me what it was like to travel in Japan, Thailand and the Philippines. I listened to him describe what the moon and stars looked like from a warship in the middle of the ocean. He told me stories about growing up as a preacher's kid, and what he learned from his three older sisters.
Before I knew it, three hours had passed and we were still talking! It wasn't until his student walked in the door, that the man I would eventually marry realized he had missed an appointment!
I fell in love with my husband and became his friend at the same time. This combination is key if you want to increase intimacy in your relationships. Dr. John Gottman, head researcher at The Gottman Institute and founder of the Love Lab, calls it creating a Love Map. The Love Map is like a GPS to your partner's inner world. It's knowing the little things about your partner’s life so that you create a strong foundation of intimacy in your relationship. The Love Map is how you get to your partner's heart!
The map includes:
- Knowing your partner's hopes and dreams
- Knowing what stresses or worries them
- Knowing the challenges they've overcome in life
- Knowing what brings them joy
- Knowing who they are on their best days and their worst days
Even if you feel you know your partner on an intimate level, there are things that will surprise you!
My hubby and I like to fill in our Love Maps on date nights. For instance, I know he and his brother made his niece, who was 3 years old at the time, do the dishes when they were supposed to be babysitting her. I know that he played football in high school and that he almost went to college on a partial football scholarship until his father convinced him to choose a Navy ROTC scholarship instead.
I know the name of his childhood best friend and I know that when he scratches his head and sighs that he's got something on his mind.
But there are also many things I don't know about him. So I want to spend the rest of my life discovering who he is. And I want to allow him to get to know me more intimately. I want to change and dream and grow with him.
I think this is what keeps a relationship from growing stale and keeps a sense of adventure and playfulness in a marriage.
Here's some love homework for you this weekend! Play a game together, with the main focus being creating a Love Map. (If you're going on a date with someone new, you could use these games as an icebreaker; this is also a great exercise for parents & kids)
You could play:
- 20 Questions
- Guess What's On My Bucket List (this will reveal dreams, goals and unfulfilled desires)
- 7 Things You Didn't Know About Me
Set aside some time, grab a cup of coffee and have fun building your Love Map!
You don't have to grow apart. You can grow together and increase the intimacy in your relationship starting today.
Question: Which game will you play to increase intimacy in your relationship? Please share your thoughts below 🙂