Dr. John Gottman has done some massive clinical research on marriage. In his bestselling book, The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work, one of his topics is called love maps. The concept of a love map is that you have a very detailed mental map of your spouse. You know their world and are constantly studying and learning more about them. Here are some easy ways to add detail to your love map and improve your marriage with your husband.
Love Map His Dreams & Aspirations
I feel like we do a really good job of sharing our dreams when we are dating yet when we get married we stop discussing our dreams and aspirations with each other. Maybe this is just because we are bogged down with the everyday details – the schedule, the meal plan, the TDL. Invite your husband to keep sharing his dreams and aspirations. After all, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs explains that men have a natural need to conquer. Ask questions to get to know how your husband envisions the future.
- What do you hope happens long term in your career?
- What do you hope this year looks like for us?
- Any ideal family vacations in mind for this year?
- What is one of your biggest dreams for us to accomplish in the future?
This is such an easy way to know your husband better! Knowing his likes and dislikes when it comes to food and drink is a basic but many times we get so busy we can overlook the simplest of things. For instance, my husband doesn’t like my homemade alfredo sauce (which is one of my absolute favs!) so that’s a food reserved for my work lunches or a potluck dinner. I know his favorite energy drink, salty snack, candy bar, etc. I can always give him a small gift by surprising him with one of his favs. What are your husband’s favorite dinner, drink, guilty pleasure, dessert, appetizers, etc? Take mental note on the map! 😉
One of a man’s biggest needs is to have side by side friendship with his wife. In other words, he wants his wife to also be his partner in play. Do you know your husband’s hobbies? Know his favorite sports and the basic rules. Does he like any retro video games? Is he a hunter or a gearhead? Know what he likes to do for fun and add this to his love map to improve your marriage. Continue to learn about his hobbies and all his different likes and dislikes when it comes to recreational play.
This is another aspect of my spouse that I learned a lot about when we were dating. It takes effort now that we’ve been together for twenty years to continue learning about his past. I love collecting stories from him and his relatives when we go to visit family. I take note and add this to my love map. After all, you can always gather more and more information depending on how many generations you want to go back!
Adding information about your husband’s family to his love map is akin to knowing his past. It differs in that this information is going to be more how your husband feels about his family. Know what family members push his buttons. Know what habits annoy him and which qualities he is proud of. After all, adding information about his family to the love map will help you better understand his qualities and idiosyncrasies and where they come from.
Going deeper into the love map, do you know what opinions you’re husband holds on the deeper issues? Many couples dive into deep conversations on a regular basis, discussing theology, politics, and world peace but many don’t. My husband and I fall into the latter. It takes effort on my part to add this information to his love map. I mean, it’s not so easy to have in depth conversations on the major issues in the world while we’re simultaneously making dinner, helping with homework, and refereeing the children! Getting in bed early together helps give us time to have meaningful conversations, improve our love maps, and bond.
Do you know what your hubs worries about? I’ll never forget when I learned that my husband worries about being a failure to our family. I would’ve never guessed. He’s a good provider, involved father, and he even washes dishes! He’s always been so confident that had we not heard someone else say something about it and then had our own discussion about it, I never would’ve known. Many times men won’t want to burden their wives with their worries. Women seem to have enough of their own! But Dr. Gottman suggests I ask my husband, “Is there anything that keeps you awake at night that you haven’t share with me?”. Knowing the worries of your spouse enables you to offer support, encouragement and empathy.
Mapping Him Out
Having a detailed love map of your husband in your brain will help you better understand your spouse. It will improve your marriage by equipping you to be better able to show admiration and foster fondness. Plus you really will have a blast getting to know more and more about your husband! Never stop asking questions and studying your spouse.
Ciao for now!!