Renew Your Couple Friendship

Earlier this week, I gave you the deets on the first floor of what Gottman calls the Sound Relationship House, Love Maps. To recap, Love Maps are the spaces we reserve in our brain for our significant other. It’s the basis of all relationships and it’s a very important foundation that over time can start to get some cracks and need a bit of maintenance. So, how do you make sure your foundation is solid and up to code?

Have you ever found out that your partner’s favorite color has changed or that they suddenly are sick of that restaurant that you always thought they loved? Maybe you bought them a gift and upon presenting it found out that they’re not into that anymore? Kind of disappointing and shocking sometimes, right?

Tip #1: Update your Love Maps regularly. Stay in-the-know about your partner’s life, likes, dislikes, relationships, work day, hobbies, worries, dreams, goals, concerns, and wishes by making an effort to discuss these things on a regular basis. Healthy couples find ways to infuse their daily life with little mini-updates that keep their Love Maps fresh and accurate.

Practical Application: A great way to keep things current is to spend about 15 minutes each day, checking in on how things went during the day, any stresses or challenges faced, what’s new with each other, anything fun that happened or that they noticed.

Tip #2: Take time out to have deeper conversations.

Practical Application: Pick a topic and discuss it over coffee or dinner. Instead of Instagramming your food (guilty), put your phone away and ask their opinion on the latest thing happening in the world. Share your thoughts on something you’ve been struggling with or thinking about lately in detail and ask for their thoughts in reflection. Ask a fun question like, “If you had a million dollars and had to spend it all in one day, what would you do?”

Tip #3: Ask the questions and listen well to the answers non-judgmentally.

Practical Application: Reflect back what you’re hearing in an empathic way, paying attention to emotion and their opinion, rather than giving advice (unless requested) or your own opinion. Responses like, “It sounds like you feel <insert how they stated they felt> about <insert what they told you>, that must have been really <insert appropriate emotion>.” generally go over well. Joining and agreeing are nice sometimes, but it’s also ok just to let their experience or opinion exist on its own validity.

If you want more ways to update your Love Maps, sign up for my monthly newsletter and receive a free download of 25 Questions to Spruce Up Your Love Maps. Be sure to follow me via Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date on more great tips and info, as well as specials and events.

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