Marriage, relationship skills

Love Map Series Part 3


Today we move on to the next part of love mapping. How did it go last week? If you missed our first or second post on enhancing our love maps, click here or here

Love Maps Part 3

Just the other day my husband and I were reminiscing. We were reminiscing when we first met and started talking. When we met, we were both attending the same church and met there. We did not want people to watch us begin our dating experience because we did not want to be constantly asked by others how it was going. With his busy travel and work schedule and me being a full time mom it left really odd times to talk, therefore we would communicate through Facebook Messenger. (Now, I am not advocating this to be a great way to get to know someone, but it happened to work for our situation.) We went back and read our likes our dislikes, our hopes, our dreams, and just about our life in general. So much had changed in such a short time, 4 years. How was this even possible? It’s possible because people change; life changes us. We develop different interests, hobbies, and ideas. How do we ensure that we constantly get to know our spouse through the changes that we experience? We do this through love mapping, more specifically though figuring out ‘Who I am’?

The more you know about your partner and their world the more rewarding your relationship can and will be. Dr. John Gottman has developed five categories to help us learn more about our partners and ourselves. As you go through the following sections reflect upon how you really feel, take the time to ponder and think. It is okay if your answers have changed from a year ago, that is all part of growing. Work on this part of Love Mapping slowly, over time. Really explore those feelings with another.
John Gottman in his book, Seven Principles for Making a Marriage Work said, “Many of the questions in this exercise are powerful. Please make sure you have enough time and privacy to do them justice.” These questions should be answered when there are no distractions and should be broken up into multiple sittings,  don’t try to conquer them in one sitting.
As you answer the questions, write the answers down in a notebook or journal.  Answer the questions that are most pertinent in your life, you don’t have to answer all the questions. Writing down your answers is important to your success in this activity. After you have written down your answers exchange notebooks with your spouse, read what they wrote, discuss with them the knowledge that you discovered about one another. What if your spouse doesn’t want to do this activity? I encourage you to still take part and do it, it will help you grow as a person and potentially it will help your spouse to understand you better.
Happy Reflecting and Pondering!

Who Am I?

My Triumphs and Strivings
  1. What has happened in your life that you are particularly proud of? Write about your physiological triumphs, times when things went even better than you expected, periods when you came through trials and tribulations even better off. Include periods of stress and duress that you survived and mastered, small events that may still be of great importance to you, events from your childhood or the recent past, self-created challenges you met, periods when you felt powerful, glories and victories, wonderful friendships you maintained and so on.
  2. How have these successes shaped your life? How have they affected the way you think of yourself and your capabilities? How have the affected your goals and the things you strive for?
  3. What role has pride (that is, feeling proud, being praised, expressing praise for others) played in your life? Did your parents show you that they were proud of you when you were a child? How? How have other people responded to your accomplishments?
  4. Did your parents show you that they loved you? How? Was affection readily expressed in your family? If not, what are the effects and implications of this for your marriage?
  5. What role does pride in your accomplishments play in your marriage? What role do your own strivings have in your marriage? What do you want your partner to know and understand about these aspects of your self, your past, present, and plans for the future? How do you show pride in one another?
My Injuries and Healings
  1. What difficult event or periods have you gone through? Write about any significant psychological insults and injuries you have sustained, your losses, disappointments, trials, and tribulations. Including periods of stress and duress, as well as any quieter periods of despair, hopelessness, and loneliness. Also include any deep traumas you have undergone as a child or adult. For example, harmful relationships, humiliating events, even molestation, rape, or torture.
  2. How have you survived these traumas? What are their lasting effects on you?
  3. How did you strengthen and heal yourself? How did you redress your grievances? How did you revive and restore yourself?
  4. How did you gird and protect yourself against this ever happening again?
  5. How do these injuries and the ways you protect and heal yourself affect your marriage today? What do you want your partner to know and understand about these aspects of your self?
My Emotional World
  1. How did your family express the following when you were a child:
    1. Anger
    2. Sadness
    3. Fear
    4. Affection
    5. Interest in One Another
    6. Pride in One Another
  2. During your childhood did your family have to cope with a particular emotional problem, such as aggression between parents, a depressed parent, or a parent who was somewhat emotionally wounded? What implications does this have for your marriage and your other close relationships (friendships, relationships with your parents, your siblings, your children)?
  3. What is your own philosophy about expressing feelings, particularly sadness, anger, fear, pride, and love? Are any of these difficult for you to express or to see expressed by your partner? What is the basis of your perspective of this?
  4. What differences exist between you and your partner in the area of expressing emotions? What is behind these differences? What are the implications of these differences for you?
My Mission and Legacy
  1. Imagine that you are standing in a graveyard looking at your own tombstone. Now write the epitaph you would like to see there. Begin with the words: “Here lies…”
  2. Write your own obituary. (It does not have to be brief.) How do you want people to think of your life, to remember you?
  3. Now you’re ready to write a mission statement for your own life. What is the purpose of your life? What is its meaning? What are you trying to accomplish? What is your larger struggle?
  4. What legacy would you like to leave when you die?
  5. What significant goals have you yet to realize? This can be creating something, or having a particular experience. Minor examples are learning to play the banjo, climbing a mountain, and so on.
Who I Want to Become
Take a moment to reflect on what you have just written. We are all involved in becoming the person we most want to be. In that struggle we all have demons to fight and overcome.
  1. Describe the person you want to become.
  2. How can you best help yourself become that person?
  3. What struggles have you already faced in trying to become that person?
  4. What demons in yourself have you had to fight? Or still have to fight?
  5. What would you most like to change about yourself?
  6. What dreams have you denied yourself or failed to develop?
  7. What do you want your life to be like in five years?
  8. What is the story of the kind of person you would like to be?
To finish off our series of love mapping posts click here
Blog Post inspired by John Gottman’s Bestseller, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.
Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (2015). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work : A Practical Guide From the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert. New York: Harmony.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning by clicking on these links and purchasing a product, we receive a commission at no extra cost to you. If you choose to support our blog in this way we would be very grateful! For more details visit our disclosure page.


Leave a Reply