John Gottman has done decades of research on what makes marriages work and what doesn’t. He has published several books, both for professionals and laypeople. You can find them *here* and also check out www.gottman.com. This post is the first of several where we will discuss Gottman’s “Sound Relationship House.”
Gottman says the foundation of a strong marriage is “building love maps.” This means knowing your partner as you know a friend. His or her likes, tastes, preferences. Think of The Newlywed Game. What is your partners favorite dessert? What is his/her favorite season? What was his/her most embarrassing moment?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you might not really KNOW your partner. You might make it a priority to spend some time getting to know each other, as if you were dating. Gottman has a Love Maps app you can buy on your phone ($5) or a Love Maps card game you can find on Amazon. There are also several books of questions that accomplish the same goal.
These question games can be fun. We have taken books of questions on road trips and asked each other as a family. (Although I admit that this activity was more fun for me, the therapist of the family, than any one else.) It’s interesting to hear about where your loved one would most like to visit or what they would say to the President if they could.
This is a good activity to build any relationship: with your children, your parents, your best friend. I encourage you to try it and watch your relationship grow.