Have you ever put together furniture from IKEA? Their furniture is fantastic and upholds for many, many years. However, the beginning pieces of the furniture assembly is the toughest. IKEA offers furniture at a reasonable price, because they do not have employees that go out and assemble the furniture for you. Instead, you receive a box full of multiple boards, screws, nails and instructions only in picture format. Your goal: duplicate the amazing item that you saw on display via following the pictures. Back in 2012, that was definitely the litmus test for my husband (fiance back then) and I and our relationship.
The assembly process took a good 3 hours to complete. During that time, we had our fair share of frustrations, soreness and accomplishments. The accomplishments outweighed the other two for sure, because we worked as a team and envisioned the same end product. The same goes for developing an intimate relationship. Gottman, a well noted researcher on marital stability, discovered that building an intimate foundation with a relationship includes three components: love maps, fondness and admiration, and turning towards.
Do you know your partner’s likes/dislikes, aspirations and/or stressors? If so, you are in tune with knowing your partner’s love map. Gottman noted that in the beginning of the relationship, couples are highly aware of each others love map. However, over time love maps may be neglected. Be aware when you need to update your partner’s love map by acknowledging their growth and changes.
Fondness and admiration can take you a long way in an intimate relationship. This too can decrease with time if you are not careful. Praise and appreciate your loved one by expressing your love periodically and spontaneously. Make sure the praise is specific, timely and recent. For example, if your significant other received a new hair do today, compliment them the moment you notice them and their new hair style!
Do you and your significant other fill each others “emotional bank account”? You can start filling up your partner’s “emotional bank account” by turning towards him/her. Turning towards means paying attention to your partner and their words, actions and desires. Being there for them and listening to their needs will help your relationship connection.
Keep the love alive in your relationship today by applying these three simple components! If you are in need of assistance in accomplishing these building blocks, contact Family First Counseling. We are here to help you and your significant other in discovering ways to improve your relationship!