Love Maps to Reconnect While Social Distancing

It is is easy to imagine how, in the current era of social distancing, we can become agitated and annoyed with and by the ones we love. It is a lot of time to spend together in very close quarters with less (or more) to do! However, couples (and the rest of us) could also use this time to be really intentional about being “with” and “getting to know” our partners or other loved ones. Marriage Researcher John Gottman, whose research helps predict whether a partnership will last or fail, suggests that Love Map exercises can enhance closeness by helping couples really get to know one another (and by showing that we care to bother) — something we often take for granted in lives filled with task-based, stressed out, day to day living. Here is another Love Map-like exercise I would encourage couples (and even in families with some adjustments) to use in these long days together. These questions, were successfully lab tested to see if such “getting to know” questions, coupled with four minutes of sustained eye contact, could enhance intimacy. When I assign couples to this Love Maps kind of task, I suggest they do it at a time where they are not rushed and in a location, where they can enjoy themselves (over a dinner out, or a bottle of wine, pot of tea, over Facetime, Skype, etc.). They often report finding the idea uncomfortably self-conscious. This is often because they are already distressed by the time they come to couples therapy. However, many do report, enjoying the exercise and feeling more connected following the exercise — even if they knew some of the answers related to their partners. So…we have the time. Now is the time to take it…and see if you can improve your connection with people you care about or, as the article suggests, fall in love or fall back in love with your partner.