Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"I thought you had the map?"

No two people in a relationship experience or express their love in exactly the same ways. And to complicate things even more, you can love the same person in different ways at different times. This is because as you grow from infancy through old age, your concept of "love" is under construction, continuously developing over time. Ultimately, you develop your own, unique "definition" of love.

Experience after experience—from the parent-child relationship, to friendships, to boyfriends and girlfriends (and ex's), to sexual hookups, to marriages that work and marriages that don't/didn't—you create a love map, or a playbook. This map is then internalized and made a part of you.   

Your love map is kind of like a mental blueprint. It's your one-of-a-kind image of what love is and isn't. Whether you realize it or not, you use this love map to help you determine who you want to date or to marry. You use it when you begin to question if you're "in love" with someone.

And just as important, you use the love map to determine if a relationship is over, because if elements in your love map are violated (such as trust or respect) or not fulfilled (like humor or sex), you eventually “fall out” of love.  

Because your love map is an integral part of who you are, it almost always directs each and every aspect of your intimate relationships. Your love map also drives the motives behind your relationship patterns and interactions.

For example, a wife could certainly do something for her husband, she can do an unexpected act of kindness like making a cup of coffee for him in the morning—but what if her love map is written in such a way that if she gives something to her partner, she expects something in return?  And what if he doesn’t know what’s written on her love map, that she expects something back?

The first important step in divorce-proofing a marriage is to identify your love map, and to have an understanding of your partner’s love map.    

Big. Huge. Important.

Are you ready to take your marriage to a level that few couples experience?

Create a love list:  Take a few minutes to jot down 10 key attributes that you consider central for a committed love relationship to thrive (such as, trust, respect, humor, support, sex, etc). 

Rank the order of importance of your chosen attributes, with 1 being the most important.

How does your list compare to your partner's?  Do each of you share identical lists with identical rankings? In what ways does this help you to better understand your partner?

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