Monday, October 26, 2009

Enhance your Love Maps

Gottman says a love map is the part of your brain where you store important information about your spouse. It's like a mental notebook where you write down unique traits of your spouse and things about him or her you want to remember. It includes your spouse's dreams, goals, joys, fears, likes, dislikes, frustrations, and worries. Things like your husband's favorite breakfast cereal or the name of your wife's best friend are important "points" on the map.

Why are thorough love maps so important? Because they strengthen marriages. Couples with extensive love maps remember important dates and events, and they stay aware of their partner's changing needs. They constantly seek updates on what the other person is doing, feeling, and thinking. Being known in this way is a gift each partner gives the other, bringing great happiness and satisfaction. It also makes couples better prepared to cope with stresses on their marriage.

For example, in one study Gottman interviewed couples around the time of the birth of their first child. For 67% of couples this stressful event was accompanied by a significant drop in marital satisfaction. But the other 33% did not see such a drop, and many felt their marriages had improved. The difference was the completeness of the couples' love maps. "The couples whose marriages thrived after the birth had detailed love maps from the get-go. . . ," says Gottman. "These love maps protected their marriages in the wake of this dramatic upheaval."

Couples who had established a habit of finding out about each other's thoughts and feelings were likely to continue doing so at a time of change. Their deep knowledge about each other and their practice of staying in touch protected their relationships from being thrown off course. They grew to love each other more deeply because there was more about each other to love.

Are you connected to your spouse on this level? If not, why not start talking to each other about how you've changed over the years, how you've stayed the same, what unrealized dreams you have and how you want to change.

What everything Gottman says boils down to about happiness in marriage is being best friends. May your spouse be your best friend.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Solvable and Perpetual

Gottman (see previous post) says all marital conflicts fall into one of two categories: Solvable and Perpetual. Unfortunately, most of the conflicts in marriage are perpetual, which means they are issues that probably aren't going to change. So what does a couple do?

Gottman says "Despite what many therapists will tell you, you don't have to resolve your major marital conflicts for your marriage to thrive." You can have a good, strong marriage even when perpetual conflicts exist. The key is finding ways to cope with those perpetual problems.

One way to cope is to uncover and share significant personal dreams you have in your life. Gottman believes that "urequited dreams are at the core of every gridlocked conflict."

When is the last time you talked to your spouse or significant other about they're hopes and dreams in life? If its been awhile, make it a point to catch up. Be open and honest, you might find that the perpetual conflict is easier to cope with if its connected to your partner's hopes and dreams.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Current Read

I'm reading an excellent book on marriage called The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman, PH.D. Normally, I do not like books with titles like that. I have a natural disdain for titles that offer a number and a promise, however, the reason I checked out this book is because of Gottman's research and the reviews on it from Amazon. Gottman is regarded by many as the nation's leading relationship expert. Just so you know, he is not writing this book from a Christian perspective. I actually like that, because it means his research does not have a Christian bias (or Christian agenda) it is based on observing marriage relationships (both new and old) unfolding before his very eyes.

Gottman has a "love lab" at the University of Washington where he observes married couples and develops his research and priniciples from those observations. The "love lab" is a series of apartments with cameras in them so they can film and observe willing married couples. He started researching marriages in 1972 and claims to follow 700 marriages from seven different studies.

I'll be writing some of the highlights of the book over the next couple of blogs, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Jesus at Creation

In Colossians 1:15-16 we learn that Jesus was not only present during the creation we read about in Genesis 1 and 2, but that he was the creator: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." (Col. 1:15-16)

We tend to think of Jesus only as a human. We must not forget that Jesus was, is and will always be. I know, its hard to get my mind around too, but that doesn't mean its not true.

So, next time you think about Jesus, remember, he was just as much fully divine as he was human. Jesus is worth giving our lives too , not just because of what he did on the cross, but because of what he did before that event and what he continues to do since that event.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I've seen this in an e-mail...

but wanted to share the video version. I couldn't figure out how to put it on the blog, so just click here.