The Foundation of a Sound Relationship: Friendship

The Gottman Method of couples therapy is an evidence-based approach that has grown out of the four decades of research involving more than 3 000 couples.  Through their research Drs. John and Julie Gottman have identified the key factors involved in relationships that work and have developed the metaphor of The Sound Relationship House to conceptualize these factors.  

The Sound Relationship House, The Gottman Institute. 

The Sound Relationship House, The Gottman Institute. 

This post is aimed at providing an explanation of the first level of the house “Build Love Maps”.  This is the foundation of the friendship quadrant of the house and has to do with how well a couple knows one anothers’ inner worlds. This includes knowing significant details of your partner’s history, values, hopes and dreams. It also includes keeping up-to-date on your partner’s daily life, and periodically adjusting the map as his/her feelings and opinions change. 

In his research, Dr. John Gottman found that emotionally intelligent couples are very familiar with the intimate details of their partner’s world. They create richly detailed Love Maps, which form a strong foundation for love and intimacy. 

To create and strengthen their love map couples can ask one another open ended questions like the ones that follow. 

  • Name my two closest friends.  
  • What was I wearing when we first met? 
  • Name one of my hobbies. 
  • What stresses am I facing right now? 
  • Describe in detail what I did today, or yesterday.
  • What medical problems do I worry about? 
  • What was my most embarrassing moment?

Asking open ended questions like these will help couples develop more detailed map of each other’s inner worlds. However, it’s important to remember that we are always changing and evolving so getting to know your partner better and sharing your inner self with them is an ongoing process. 

If you are interested in strengthening aspects of your relationship to create more connection, resilience and intimacy, get in touch with one of our Gottman trained therapists.  You can reach us by phone at 780-860-7338 or email us at