Love Maps are an internal guide to our partner’s inner world. A detailed Love map help to fill our human longing to know our loved one and to be known. The concept originated with sexologist John Money and is often used by relationship expert John Gottman. Yet, the two John’s use the phrase differently. For sexologist Money, love maps represent one’s ideal sexual preferences. Gottman, however, uses the world in a broader sense, to encapsulate one’s entire inner world.
The Power of Love Maps
One of the deepest desires of human beings is to know our loved one profoundly and to be deeply known ourselves. Love maps are formed early in the dating process when we ask about our date’s favorite foods, friends, hopes, fears, and future aspirations.
It’s important to understand that a love map is not a physical document. It’s more like a mental map, or a working understanding of who our loved one is. Love maps are important because they create intimacy or into-me-see. In other words, they allow us to see into our loved one’s inner world.
Love Maps and Marriage
Updating our love maps is important because love maps are a key ingredient to a happy marriage. Relationship expert John Gottman writes, “Emotionally intelligent couples are intimately familiar with each other’s world” and have a “richly detailed love map.”
The problem is that many married couples let their love maps go out of outdate. Couples forget that relationships are dynamic and that their partner is not that same as he or she was when they first met. For example, early in my relationship with Jenny, she told me one of her dreams is to swim with great white sharks. After seven years of marriage, six kids, and a far tamer lifestyle, I assumed Jenny’s dream of swimming with sharks was extinct.
While celebrating our anniversary, the two of us reminisced about our early dates. That’s when I brought up Jenny’s old dream. Much to my surprise, Jenny told me this wasn’t just an old dream, but something she still hoped to do. Because I took the time to ask, I have a much better internal map of my wonderful spouse. Under a calm and responsible demeanor, Jenny’s love for adventure continues to bubble. Although Jenny’s adventurous side is less prominent, it is still there!
How to Update Your Love Map
The easiest way to update your love maps is simply to ask. For fun, I created a love map quiz. You may want to print off a copy for each of you. Then, fill in each blank with how you think your loved one will answer. Grade your love map quizzes together, and see how many answers you got right.
Know that this quiz does not have a passing or a failing grade, and there is no right way to take it. As long as you and your spouse are drawing closer together, you are updating your love maps right.
Love Maps in Action
Once you’ve updated your love maps, take action. Use your updated mental map to speak your spouse’s love language. In relationships, little things are truly big things.
- Cooking a favorite meal
- Asking about best friends
- Watching a movie your spouse loves
- Buying him or her a favorite treat, solely out of love
- Pre-ordering a new book by your loved one’s favorite author
These little actions have the power to make a big difference. But, to get these loving actions right, you must have an updated love map. In other words, having a richly detailed love map is an excellent way for you and your spouse to fall in love over and over again!
Continue the Conversation
If you took the love map quiz, I’d love to know what you think? Did you learn something new about your spouse? Did your loved one discover something new about you? Because falling in love is an ongoing process and not a one-time event, love maps should be updated often.
If you’d like to dive deeper into your partner’s inner world, especially in regards to money, finances, and savings, then be sure to check out these creative conversation starters: Conversation Starters About Money, Finances, and Saving.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the love map quiz and to continuing the conversation in the comments below. Then, join our incredible, Joyfully Married tribe, and connect with other couples who are committed to personal growth and celebrating all that is right in their relationship!