Jul 16, 2024

Love Maps and Soft Start Up: How to Deepen Your Friendship with Your Partner

Soft Start Up  

One of the most powerful pieces of information that I have learned from research (particularly John Gottman’s research) is that one of the key indicators of a troubled relationship is a ‘Harsh Start Up’.  

This means that if you start an interaction negatively (i.e. with Criticism or Sarcasm) then it will end badly, even if you try to fix it along the way. The statistics are that 96% of the time you can predict the outcome of a conversation based on the first 3 minutes of the interaction.  

THAT’S POWERFUL! So basically, how you start an interaction is how it will finish.  

By using a Soft Start Up, you're describing what is happening without the judgment/blame or criticism of your partner.  It is unrealistic to think that you will never have a complaint in a relationship. However, the key is to ‘Complain’ without the 'Blame’. Describe your own feelings using ‘I’ statements instead of the dreaded ‘You’ statements. See the handout below for more tips on how to use Soft Start Up's.

Building Love Maps - How to do it and what it means

Firstly, Love Maps simply means how well you know your partner. It’s like your ‘Road Map’ that tells you everything you need to know about your partner. Their likes, dislikes, dreams, challenges, friendships, family issues (good and bad), childhood experiences the major life events that changed them in some way. It’s the confidence that you know each other deeply AND you are staying up to date with your partners current life events and feelings.    

This deep and meaningful knowledge of each other allows you to tolerate the rocky roads within the relationship. John Gottman’s main finding in his research about Masters vs Disasters in Relationships indicated that Happy Relationships are based on Deep Friendship. Put simply, this is the couple’s ability to treat each other with shared mutual respect and knowledge that you enjoy each other’s company.  This concept is almost a moot point and appears obvious - however, I can assure you that a large percentage of relationships forget about this very crucial step in their relationships.  

To find out more about how to use these skills to deepen your connection and friendship within your relationships, join me in my upcoming Virtual Workshop on ‘The Gottman Seven Principles Program'  

Continue reading