In Part One, we discussed how to communicate about the positive aspects of you and your relationships. We may pride ourselves in knowing our partners to the point where it becomes second nature or the norm to know different aspects of your partner. However, it can be easy to not actively learn more. Some things you may learn about your partner through experience. For example, you and your partner are watching tv and your partner reacts to a scene by sharing that they believe perseverance is what makes a relationship. You may have not gained this knowledge unless through an experience or by asking your partner a detailed question to understand this. As previously, whether you are getting to know a potential partner or want to rediscover more, the goal of this article is to look at different activities that may introduce these conversations about you and your partner.
Everyone has their own standards, principles, or beliefs they live by, or wish to live by. These are personal qualities they believe are important to their lives, and as partners they can be important to you as well. You and your partner may write down a list of values, but if you need assistance, you could use a list such as this one from ScottJeffrey.com. I suggest working alone to choose 10 principles that are important to you, then narrow that list down to 5. Afterwards, share your list with your partner and discuss with each other what each value means, what surprised you, how similar and how different you are. By communicating your values, you can gain a deeper understanding of your partner and their internal ideals that may not always be verbally expressed. Though it is possible your values do not align, that does not mean anything terrible. It means you can commit to making space for each other’s differences by supporting and/or participating in the differing beliefs.
Building Love Maps
Love Maps are a part of Dr. John Gottman’s, a well-renowned researcher of marital relationships, “Sound Relationship House.” A love map is the first level of this house built on trust and commitment. This map is focusing on the small things that make your partner who they are and establishes a deeper friendship for you and your partner. To build a love map is to ask and answer questions about your partner. It is that simple! You will try to answer questions about each other to learn more about one another as well as find out how much you know. These questions can include naming your partner’s ideal vacation spot, their biggest fears, how they like to relax after a long day, or what is currently stressing them out. The list of questions goes on as you work to build a connection with your partner through gaining insight. Do not worry about getting questions wrong or trying to test each other on what your partner knows because knowing your partner is a nonstop process.
Using Love Languages
Love Languages are somewhat common now that most people understand what they need from relationships. If you do not know your love language, here is the quiz from the official site. Here, you can discover your love language, as well as your partners. There are five possibilities, so you and your partner may have differing love languages. By learning each other’s love languages, it offers you the chance to perform small acts of your partner’s language to give them what they need. Here are some examples of to connect with your partner’s language based on each:
- Words of Affirmation – Listening actively, compliments, and saying, “I love you.”
- Quality Time – Going on walks together, watching movies, and taking trips.
- Receiving Gifts – Thoughtful gifts, giving time and remembering special occasions.
- Physical Touch – Kisses, hugs, and cuddles.
- Acts of Service – Getting them a snack, making the bed, offering and helping to lighten their load.
If you would like to get to know your partner more by practicing these activities or would like some guidance in getting to know your partner better, many of our therapists would be more than happy to work with you both. Couples are welcome to explore more opportunities and gain support from our therapists around building connections with your partner. Call today to book your first appointment!
Written by therapist Bria McCalpin
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