Love Maps

Love means many different things to different people. Our definitions of love are not all the same, and this can be a source of confusion and conflict in a relationship.

John Money, a world-famous sexologist, developed the concept of “love maps.”  A love map is a mental blueprint, of sorts, that we carry internally. It is our idea of the ideal love partner.

Draw your own “love map” on a blank sheet of paper. Create a diagram of how you envision your ideal love relationship.

Then turn your paper over.

Take a few minutes to jot down key attributes that you consider central or necessary for a committed love relationship to thrive (such as, trust, respect, sex, humor, etc.). Because love is a unique experience, your list will likely differ from others’ lists.

After you have your list complete, rank the order of importance of your chosen attributes, with 1 being the most important and 10 being the least important. For example, which is more important to you, humor or sex?

Then consider the twelve central features of love developed by a marriage and family researcher, Beverley Fehr. Fehr (1988) paid particular attention to how individuals assess or appraise the essential aspects of love, or what she termed love prototypes. The top twelve central features of love according to Fehr’s research, by order of importance are:

  1. Trust
  2. Care
  3. Honesty
  4. Friendship
  5. Respect
  6. Desire to promote the well-being of the other
  7. Loyalty
  8. Commitment
  9. Accepting the other without wanting to change the other
  10. Support
  11. A desire to be in the other’s company
  12. Consideration of / and interest in the other

Does your love prototype list include any attributes or characteristics of love that Fehr’s list does not? If so, why do you think that is? How does your list compare to Fehr’s findings?

It is interesting to do this activity with your partner to see how your “love maps” are similar or different. Extreme differences are typically those areas where your relationship experiences the most distress and conflict.

Check out this interesting video about love maps!

What’s a Love Map?

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Signs of Marital and Family Struggles

  • You refuse to accept the truth that someone you love (including yourself) is going through a difficult time.
  • During stressful times in your relationship, you remain ignorant about what needs to change in order to make the relationship better.
  • You try to cram as much activity and action into your life as possible. You live as thou you are afraid to slow down.
  • Your attitude is one of persistent hostility.
  • Following the onset of a stressful time, one or both of you show a prolonged exaggeration of some personality trait. For example: A typically orderly person may become compulsively neat, a typically quiet person may become withdrawn, or a typically cautious person may begin to act paranoid.
  • You discount the possibility that things can improve. You act pessimistic and defeatist.
  • Old relationship problems get worse under the strain of current stresses.
  • As you face your tasks, responsibilities, and emotional difficulties, you rigidly lock roles within the relationship.
  • You blame or shame each other.
  • You refuse to express emotion.
  • In your emotional dealings with each other, you are stingy rather than nurturing and generous.
  • You disagree about your definition of the tasks that face you. For example: One of you might define your current situation as a challenge and an opportunity to show strength of character, while the other sees it as a sign of defeat.
  • You refuse to open up to each other for fear of upsetting the other person.
  • You passively or indirectly fight back in power struggles with each other rather than directly dealing with your differences.
  • You turn to another (e.g., one of your children or siblings) to gossip about each other rather than dealing directly with each other about differences.
  • Your marriage is not sexually fulfilling.

Watch this fascinating video clip about one couple who helps other couples find better connection to each other… Share your thoughts with us!

Hedy & Yumi: Crossing the Bridge



Sotile, W. & Sotile, M. (1996). The Medical Marriage: A couple’s Survival Guide. Carol Publishing Group.

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Marriage is Like a Thunderstorm

Today we have yet another intense afternoon thunderstorm — the kind with the rolling thunder, strong winds, and heavy rain. Something hit the roof. Hope there is no significant damage, like a leak or damaged shingles…

But this sort of occurrence happens all the time, and usually we come through without too much trouble. The storms are actually expected. All part of nature… We know they will occur from time to time. Key to healthy survival is preparation for such events and how we deal with the effects… Adequate preparation, a good dose of resilience, plus a little humor may often see us though…

Marriage (and certainly all important relationships) has the potential for its own sorts of thunderstorms, sometimes complete with loud noises, harsh or hurtful words, and painful wounds that may leave us hurting. If we expect that close relationships will not be perfect, that they have their share of ups and downs, we are better able to move through the storms to a place of calm. If we accept these storms, work on ourselves and our relationships to put ourselves in a position of strength and preparation, laugh a little at ourselves and the situation when we can, hopefully we should ease back to a stable point that is comfortable and acceptable to all.

Check out this YouTube video of Adam Fields as he is wakeboarding on Lake Jordan in North Carolina during a nasty thunderstorm. Does seem like he can go with the flow and make the best of a storm. He doesn’t let the storm stop him from doing something he loves and doing it well.

Storm Rider

So, when a thunderstorm hits your important relationships…

  1. Anticipate that storms are a normal part of life
  2. Accept that they happen
  3. Take care to prevent unnecessary damage
  4. Work on yourself and your relationship to appropriately manage any damage that occurs
  5. Keep your focus on working as a team
  6. Laugh a little if you can
  7. Keep moving forward

Sometimes thunderstorms force us to re-evaluate where we are and what else we need to do to nurture and protect our home and family and those we love… It can force us to stop in our tracks and take inventory, checking and double-checking to see if everything is as it should be.

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