Marriage Maps

The Gottman Institute is a research based approach to relationships. The Gottmans and their psychology disciples promote practices of mindfulness that seek to promote healthy marriages. By striding the line between the art and science of love, the Gottman Institute seeks to help couples in a time when 50% of marriages fail to love, appreciate, honor, and problem-solve together. I was introduced to this group through a few sessions of marital counseling last year. David and I, as I shared previously, were struggling to navigate our different views on how large of a family we each wanted. Motherhood is amazing and I want to be covered in babies, but for David family-size is a little more practical. When weighing considerations like finances, energy, time, lifestyle, and our ability to create opportunities we both feel are foundational for our children, David felt like two children met those limits. On the other side now of many of those tensions, I still get a few positive reminders of the “work” that is needed to continue to have a healthy and loving relationship through these Gottman minutes I receive via email once a week. Often they are a bit cliche, but every now and again the little activity they suggest around have deeper or more playful conversations, makes me smile. Today’s for example asked do you know your basics:

What’s your partner’s favorite food?
Who does your partner hate having to deal with at work?
Who is their best friend?
What is their biggest life dream?

My understanding of David:

  • pizza truck Thursday, Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich, burgers, good BBQ, kale salad, apple honeycrisp; ******; ME!;  Traveling the world and living abroad and being together as a family.

David’s understanding of Me:

  • Pickles, sauerkraut, Thai food, sushi, coffee; *****;  me, Laura, Kaelin; to be a model of love, paid to learn pottery or cooking

Now is this the stuff that saves a marriage on the total verge of collapse? No. But was this fun and did it make us laugh on a raining, work morning totally. Did it make us take a minute to think of the other? Yes. And seeing that the other was so “spot on” felt good. They listen, see, know, and love. And that always feels good.