My last post was all about the importance of knowing yourself. Of understanding where you’ve come from to better understand where you are now so you can make healthier, more informed decisions about where you want to be. That’s absolutely the first step to more fulfilling relationships. But how well do you know your partner? Do you spend more time on your iPad or watching Netflix than inquiring about your partner’s day? Do you fully understand what your partner is most stressed about at this point in their life? Most passionate about? Couples who take the time to connect in some way every day have stronger bonds that can withstand even significant stressors better than couples who don’t.
Dr. John M. Gottman, a leading expert on romantic relationships, calls this kind of knowledge about your partner a “love map” and he defines it as being “intimately familiar with each other’s worlds”. Couples with very detailed love maps think about their partners a lot…and know a lot about them. They check in throughout the day or make time at the end of every day to listen to their partner’s stories. Bottom line: they make each other their number one priority. So where does your relationship stand in this regard? *Gottman offers this short quiz to find out:
- I can name my partner’s best friends T F
- I can tell you what stressors my partner is currently facing T F
- I know the names of some of the people who have been irritating my partner lately T F
- I can tell you some of my partner’s life dreams T F
- I am very familiar with my partner’s religious beliefs and ideas T F
- I can tell you about my partner’s basic life philosophy T F
- I can list the relatives my partner likes the least T F
- I know my partner’s favorite music T F
- I can list my partner’s three favorite movies T F
- My spouse is familiar with my stressors T F
- I know the three most special times in my partner’s life T F
- I can tell you the most stressful thing that happened to my partner as a child T F
- I can list my partner’s major aspirations and hopes in life T F
- I know my partern’s major current worries T F
- My spouse knows who my friends are T F
- I know what my partner would want to do if s/he suddenly won the lottery T F
- I can tell you in detail my first impressions of my partner T F
- Periodically I ask my partner about his or her world right now T F
- I feel that my partner knows me pretty well T F
- My spouse is familiar with my hopes and aspirations T F
Give yourself one point for each “true” answer. If you scored above a 10, congrats! You have a pretty good love map of your partner! If you scored below a 10, then it looks like you have some chatting with do with your partner J Don’t spend even a second beating up yourself or your partner for not getting the score you would’ve hoped and instead, ask them on a date pronto. There’s a lot of fun information for you to learn about your partner and knowledge isn’t only power…it’s love as well. Click here for more fun quizzes and exercises to do with your partner. Happy learning!
*Quiz taken from “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert” by John M. Gottman, Ph.D. and Nan Silver.
Colleen Cira, Psy.D. is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and practices at Michigan Avenue Neuropsychologists in the Chicago Loop. To schedule a free phone consultation with her, please call (872) 395-8091 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.