Some people are shocked to find that I have couples come in to see me for couple’s therapy who have been married for 30 plus years. “Why would they have problems now?” You see, because of my training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, it is of no surprise that this occurs and at a rate which is most likely more significant than most realize. Gottman introduced the Sound Relationship House Theory to explain the foundation and walls that support a healthy relationship. The walls are comprised of Trust and Commitment and the very foundation the levels of the house are built on are called “Love Maps.” Love maps are the ways in which you know your partner and the inner workings of their world. It is knowing the simple things from your partners favorite food to understanding the deeper meaning of your partner’s insecurities. “Love Mapping” is about knowing the intricacies of your partners life.
Most of us feel that we know our partners well, however, over time things can change. Couples go through many personal and relational life transitions… living together for the first time, having a child, figuring out roles, life with children, life with teens, empty nesting, sickness, death, job loss, moving homes, and the list goes on. Life transitions have a way of potentially changing one’s beliefs. What is important to someone at the age of 60 years old may not be the same thing that was of importance at the age of 25. When we experience life, things change, we change, and is the natural response to what we are presented with over time. The issue we find with couples, is that most couples do not continually update their love maps as they should. Perhaps you asked each other those “must know” questions early on but haven’t bothered to continue asking these questions to see if things have changed over time.
Couples get caught up in life, especially in today’s world. Everything is faster, everyone is distracted, and texting has become the way of communication. We don’t actually TALK to one another anymore. What I have also found is that people have become increasingly negative. When things are discussed, it is mostly about what we don’t like or don’t need or don’t want. Our focus has become about discussing others more than we talk about our own wants, needs, dreams, and desires. How can we possibly know one another when we are so focused on gossip and how others are behaving? What about you? What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of life do you want to lead? What is important to you?
Distraction leads to loneliness. It’s time we put the phones down, shut the television off, tell our children to go to another room, and get to know one another again. For ways to better connect, download the Gottman Card Decks app for free. If you are going to be on your phone, at least put it to good use!
For more ways to connect with one another, check out this article in the NY Times “The 36 Questions that Lead to Love.” https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/style/36-questions-that-lead-to-love.html