One of the characteristics of "master" couples identified by Dr. John Gottman in his research on couples relationships is strong "lovemaps". What he means by a lovemap is the cognitive space or internal map that each partner has of their partner's world. A lovemap includes knowledge of things like one's partner's best friends, worst fears, favorite things, hopes and dreams, nightmare scenarios, most embarrassing moments, etc... A couple with strong lovemaps would be all stars on The Newly Wed Game, and more importantly they are likely to be well connected to each other emotionally.
It seems to be the case that early in a relationship most couples develop their lovemaps by asking open-ended questions (like: What kind of music do you like? What led you into your career? or What parts of the world do you want to see?). Open-ended questions open up space for introspection, exploration, and discussion. It also seems to be the case that as time goes by couples ask fewer and fewer open-ended questions, and more close-ended ones (such as Are you going to pick up the kids? Did you pay that bill? or When are you coming to bed?) Close-ended questions require a one word answer and have less power to develop strong lovemaps. Counter to this trend towards close-ended questions, the "master" couples from Gottman's research tend to regularly update their lovemaps through asking open-ended questions and by being curious about each other's worlds.
I have been a committed Golden State Warriors fan since long before they were called Golden State, and certainly before they won the NBA Championship with their star point guard, Stephen Curry. I just happened to be looking at something Warriors related on the internet and ran into this video of Steph and his wife, Ayesha, playfully answering questions about each other. This reminded me of the Lovemap exercise that we have our couples do in the Art and Science of Love Workshop. I am impressed with the Currys' knowledge of each other (although frankly Step is answering most of the questions in the video), and with how playful they are with each other. They demonstrate that you do not have to be together for 30 years to have the characteristics of a master couple.
Michael Basta, LCSW, Certified Gottman Therapist and Master Trainer, and Golden State Warriors fan.