There seems to be so much out there talking about how to fall in love, how to find the right person, how to know if you’re with the right person, how to know when you’re ready for love, etc. Truly at the heart of it, we are all wired for connection. But I think, quite possibly, the most important connection is the one you have with yourself.
The activities I have couples do in therapy could often be applied to individuals. It’s just as important for each person to know their own answers to “How well do you know your partner?” activities as it is to know their partner’s. Some clients find it helpful to start with the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. These types of quizzes and personality categorizations help us to make sense of the things we know about ourselves and give us tools and language to communicate that information to others. Knowing what makes you feel fulfilled and connected can help you communicate your needs to others. Nobody is a mindreader, so we all could use help in understanding how to best help each other.
Sometimes we get swept up in the heat of the moment and throw ourselves into overdrive when it comes to meeting our partners’ needs; especially on a holiday that was meant for expressing our love! Once the adrenaline of the holiday crashes and the pendulum swings back to normal, these moments of connection still require effort. Completing activities together on a regular basis creates opportunities to have shared experiences. Activities can be as simple as accompanying one another on errands or as complicated as planning an entire date night. Shared experiences create shared memories, which can reinforce the connection between partners.
An activity I often have couples complete in session or after sessions as homework is the Love Maps activity from the Gottman Institute’s The Sound Relationship House. This activity is a low-pressure way for partners to check in with one another and see how well they know each other at any stage of the relationship. The questions are simple and straightforward, and they leave much room for creativity. Anyone could go through these questions and create their own individual Love Map. You can find more information about the activity as well as a sample list of questions here.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
An Thai, MS, provides couple, family, and individual therapy in our Sterling, VA office. Call or email today to set up your first appointment or a complimentary telephone consultation with An.