Relationship expert, John Gottman, first introduced me to the idea of a “love map.” Basically, your love map is how well you know your partner, colleague, friend, or loved one.
Early on in my relationship with Tresa, I learned that her favorite candy was Twizzlers. Oftentimes on my way home from work, I would stop at a gas station or a grocery store and pick up some Twizzlers for her as a small gift or an evening treat. A time or two of doing this, I asked, “So I’m curious, what makes Twizzlers your favorite snack?”
Tresa then told me that when she was growing up, anytime she went over to her grandmother’s house, she would always be sure to have stocked the “Twizzlers cabinet” with every type of Twizzlers there are. Eating Twizzlers then became a “good luck” charm for her before taking exams. Even now, three years later, my wife and I are constantly working to enhance our love maps of one another, exploring each other’s backgrounds and values.
Another example of knowing one’s love maps comes from my grandparents. Like many couples who successfully make it to the 50-year mark and beyond, my grandparents were amazing at knowing each other’s love maps. In fact, there would be times when my grandpa would look to my grandma to recall something about his own past and she would remind him. It’s crazy for me to think how well they knew each other. I hope someday Tresa and I will know each other as well as my grandparents did.
Whether it’s a spouse, partner, client, best friend, or a family member, better knowing their “map” – their background, experiences, dreams, and values – will help you to build trust and rapport and improve your relationships.