7 Questions To Ask Yourself And Your Partner To See How Well You Know Each Other
Finding ways to strengthen your relationship is the key to making it last. While there are so many different things you can do, building a love map for your relationship can be just the thing that will keep your connection strong for a long time. The best part is, creating a love map will help take your relationship to a much deeper, and more intimate level.
Love maps, which were created by Dr. John Gottman, are about knowing your partner's "inner world." As licensed marriage and family therapist, Elizabeth Earnshaw, tells Bustle, "The happiest and most successful couples have a foundation of friendship, and friendship means feeling known. Hence, our need for love maps."
According to her, having a map of your partner's inner world means that you are aware of three components: the life that brought them up to this point, their present, and their hopes for the future. "Getting to know your partner deeply means that you are drawing a map of their life in your mind and that you are continually updating this map as time goes by," Earnshaw says. This entails a "culture of turning towards each other in daily life," which includes responding to your partner's "bids" to connect or listening to them when they need to vent.
So here are some questions you can ask yourself or your partner to see how well you know each other, according to experts.
1. "If You Could Spend The Entire Day Doing One Thing, What Would It Be?"
The best approach to creating a love map is to draw one about yourself first. "Think about the paths you've taken, the choices you've made and the things that have made you who you are today," licensed marriage and family therapist, Emily Cosgrove, tells Bustle. Reflecting on your own life, like recognizing how you like to spend your time, can help you see what you find most important. Asking your partner this same question can also clue you in to the types of activities that make your partner feel happy.
2. "What Is The Biggest Source Of Stress In Your Life Right Now?"
"Stress is a major part of all of our lives," Earnshaw says. Being open with your partner about the stress in yours and allowing them the opportunity to vent to you can bring you closer together. You may not be able to solve each other's problems. But being an active listener and providing them a compassionate shoulder to lean on can go a long way in deepening your bond.
3. "How Do You Feel About ... ?"
Love maps are all about knowing your partner on a deeper level. When you've been with them for a long time, it's easy to believe that you know every single thing there is to know about them like their likes or dislikes. But as Earnshaw says, "People are constantly evolving and changing." So it's important to keep asking questions about their thoughts and feelings. Don't just assume that you know what your partner wants or doesn't want just because you feel like you already "know" them.
4. "What's Your Most Embarrassing Moment?"
If you could have any job in the world, what would it be? What legacy do you hope you leave the world with? What was your most embarrassing moment? According to Earnshaw, it's important to ask open-ended questions such as these to show your partner that you're curious about them. No matter how long you've been together, there's always something new to learn. Sharing fun stories from your past, or exchanging ideas on thought-provoking questions can really help you see other sides of your partner.
5. "What Is Your Fondest, Unrealized Dream?"
Reflecting on your unrealized dreams can help set you on a path towards the future. Besides that, Earnshaw says it's always important to express interest in your partner's goals. When you and your partner bond over your goals for the future, you can have a better idea of how to support each other to make those dreams a reality.
6. "Who Would You Say Are Your Closest Friends? What About Enemies?"
Who you choose to keep around you can say a lot about you. For instance, it can show you the type of qualities you value most in your friendships. According to Earnshaw, it's not only important to know who your partner's friends are, it's also a good idea to know about the people who give them trouble. "Show that you consider their friendships and also their more challenging relationships by being open to discussing them," she says.
7. "What Is Your Greatest Fear?"
Answers to questions about your greatest fear, your current goals, your favorite restaurant, or your dream vacation may change over time. So in order to keep up-to-date with your partner, it's OK to ask the same questions again. "Answers may change with time as your relationship progresses, so make it a point to do multiple love maps over time to stay current on each other's inner workings and heart thoughts," Cosgrove says.
Building love maps for your relationship is an ongoing thing. It's pretty impossible to say that you know everything there is to know about a person because people are constantly changing. If you manage to stay curious about your partner, you can keep learning new things about them for years to come.