Live Better. Love Better. Work Better.

What Are Love Maps and Why Are They Important?

Kyle Lawell, Licensed Professional Counselor

Your partner asks you to pick up some groceries on your way home from work: ice cream, paper towels, cereal, eggs, and flour. You go to the store, quickly breeze through the aisles and grab these groceries before making your way home. Upon putting the groceries away and settling down after a long day of work, your partner comes to you and expresses frustration about the groceries that you bought. While you checked off each item on the grocery list, the items you purchased were not the items your partner preferred. You bought vanilla ice cream, a classic and safe choice to make, but your partner hoped you would buy their favorite, mint chocolate chip. This frustration expressed by your partner is likely to pass without much need for discussion, but it may reflect a larger and more common issue that many relationships struggle with.

The issue previously described, while small, may represent a need for the couple to check in and refresh their “Love Maps,” the fundamental knowledge base of our partner’s interests, hobbies, major life events, daily stressors, etc. The Love Maps we develop and remember about our partners are incredibly important because it is truly the foundation of who our partner is and why we care about them so much. Love Maps, described in John M. Gottman’s renowned book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, provide us direction for how our partner navigates their life as well as how we can help assist and support them as they navigate their world.

While Love Maps are incredibly helpful when it comes to having an up-to-date understanding of our partner’s favorite movies, foods, bonding activities, and hobbies, they can also help us understand what our partner might need in different situations and environments. For instance, having a solid Love Map of our partner can be particularly helpful around the holidays. It is during this time that we see extended family members (some of which we may not be too fond of), buy presents for our partners, and engage in other holiday festivities, all of which can come with added stress for ourselves and our partners. When we are able to use our Love Map to remember that our partner is not currently getting along with a certain cousin, we can use that knowledge to avoid our partner’s cousin or comfort our partner if we do end up interacting with that person.

It is important to note that Love Maps should continuously be refreshed and enhanced throughout the relationship. Relationships that rely on outdated Love Maps are bound to run into problems because we may make decisions or do things for our partners that are no longer in accordance with what they need or who they are in the relationship today. If you find that you and your partner have slight moments of disconnection when it comes to knowing one another’s likes, dislikes, hobbies, stressors, and other small but crucially important characteristics of what makes each of you, you, one of our licensed clinicians at Symmetry Counseling would be more than happy to help you understand one another’s worlds more accurately and intimately.


Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work. New York: Three Rivers Press.

Symmetry Counseling Recent News Image 4
Recent Posts

When to Go to Couples Therapy? When You Notice These 3 Sign

Apr 30, 2024

Zoe Mittman, LSW If you’re asking the question “when to go to couples therapy”, you are in the right place. I am going to spend some time talking about 3 signs couples therapy may be a good fit for you.…

Read More

Healing the Heart – Tips for How to Get Over a Breakup

Apr 23, 2024

Breakups can be extremely difficult for both the heart and the mind. Grieving the loss of a relationship is taxing both mentally and emotionally. Whether you initiated the breakup or are the individual being broken up with, the pain and…

Read More

Surviving the Holidays: 5 Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

Apr 16, 2024

Paula Gonzalez MA, LPC, ADHD-CCSP, CIMHP                                                                                         The Christmas holiday season can be filled with “tidings of comfort and joy!.” It can also be filled with lots of invitations to holiday parties that will have you “rockin’ around the Christmas tree…

Read More