Examine yourself from a separate perspective. What is your reaction towards whenever you hear someone mention the length of their relationship, and it completely exceeds your preconceived notion about the length of typical relationships. You hear scoffs in the crowd, claps and oohs of bafflement. Perhaps you hear a dismissive joke or cajoling. But what do you see in the clumsy, honest engagement of something that extensive? Something perhaps fragile, dwindling? No, they are firmly engaged and bonded with one another. How is this possible?
The study of this certain phenomena, of such an extensive relationship with seemingly no secrets to divulge is the primary focus for many counselors and researchers of the romantic bond between partners within a relationship. There are multitudes of supposed solutions to the eventual question within most individuals’ lives: how can one make it ‘work’? One of the most prominent solutions however, instinctively done by the happiest and most successful of couples is a certain action described by the Gottman Institute as “Love Mapping”. This art is the simple act of communication, and discussing with each other about one’s desires, goals, likes, dislikes, etc.
This seems off. Odd, and unnecessary, no? However this assessment is incorrect. Humans in the modern day instinctively close themselves off while in the normal routine, as it is a base desire for security and safety. Without consciously doing so, one may find themselves unable to emotionally connect with a partner, without a mere clue as to the reasons. It is because of a lack of communication, a lack of processing emotions and thoughts together. Love mapping is the practice of sitting down and taking it upon yourselves to open up to one another, to understand and empathize, and support each other. It is a necessity in any bond or relationship of significance, and is even recommended in meaningful friendships to nurture the bond the friends share.
Love mapping is unnerving, and leaves one feeling vulnerable. This is, however, a normal occurrence as it is the granting of permission for another to peer into yourself, and understand what your needs are, and what you desire to accomplish. The advantages of love mapping regularly are plenty. It allows one to develop better skills to cope and reach solutions in the midst of relationship conflict. It allows for a more significant bond to form, rather than superficial interaction such as “How’s the weather?”. The superior method to maintaining a relationship is the act of communication to little end, and to better understand one another so that everyone’s lives are enhanced by the bond, rather than limited by it.
It is the responsibility of the partners in the relationship to maintain the bond they share. It is truly important they communicate with each other in order to fully support and enhance each others’ lives. After all, how can you truly care for someone you do not truly understand? Sit down, open up, and maybe making a point to have a deeper conversation with someone may lead to a better, more honest relationship.