Cognitive Room for the Relationship

In my Marriage class, my assignment for week was to go on a date with my husband. I thought sarcastically “That must be real hard.” But as I started thinking about it… we haven’t been on a real date, I mean something other than dinner or a movie, in… I don’t even know how long it has been! And that is really sad. I think we have gotten caught in a rut. We are both busy. Preston with work and I am busy being a stay at home Mom and night time student. Our time together is usually me on the couch doing homework while he stays up with me playing video games. (We have a “code”, we must always go to be at the same time. We rarely go do bed alone.) Between our busy schedules we don’t have much free time. So, if we want to have quality time, we are going to have to work for it.

In the book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Gottman, Ph, D. Discusses the importance of having a “love map” – “my term for that part of your brain where you store all the relevant information about your partner’s life.”

“From knowledge springs not only love but the fortitude to weather marital storms. Couples who have detailed love maps of each other’s world are far better prepared to cope with stressful events and conflict.”

So, that’s awesome! But how do we build our love maps? By dating! I really liked another example from a marriage counselor who wore the bugs bunny pin as a reminder to ask img_0329“What’s up doc? This is a lifetime commitment. I have to always remember to ask Preston about his goals, interests, work and REMEMBER what is important to him. It is an ever changing map.
This week for our date we took our boys on a train to a pumpkin patch. We were able to find pumpkins, play games, and spend quality family time. Next we went and grabbed a bite to eat at ‘Chick-donalds” (Jack’s name for Chick-fil-A) and went home to put the boys in bed. Then Preston told me he would plan the date for this week so he surprised me with the movie Me Before You. I read the book a while ago and wanted to see the movie. He was awesome and remembered that little detail (he must make cognitive room for me) to remind me that I am special to him.

Marriage Challenge:

This week I challenge YOU to try this exercise to nourish your fondness and admiration for your partner. This challenge comes from Gottman, Ph.D. and it is called “Exercise 3: Cherishing Your Partner”.

“Part one: Chose ten qualities that you cherish in your partner. For each, note one recent occasion when your partner displayed it. Then say to yourself, “I am really lucky to be with my partner.” Keep this list handy, and use it when you are alone to focus on your fond feelings toward your partner and trigger a sense of gratitude.

Part two: Write your partner a love note expressing how much you cherish him or her for these qualities. Read it aloud to your partner during a romantic date.”




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