In an earlier episode of “Thrive Tried It,” my partner of five years, Brian, and I tried building a Love Map, a term coined by Dr. John Gottman, the co-founder of the Gottman Institute, who has conducted over 40 years of research on love and marriage. (Check out Asking For a Friend, Thrive’s Q&A column in partnership with the Gottman Institute, for a ton of great advice.)
Unlike how it sounds, a Love Map isn’t a tangible thing. It’s a conversation that consists of a series of questions, and it allows you to dive deeper into the other’s world, Karen Bridbord, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and Certified Gottman Therapist, explained to us at the time.
In the four months since our first Love Map experience, Brian and I have gotten engaged. It’s been a magical, carefree time — but we’re both well aware that wedding planning can cause stress, and we’ve seen glimpses of that stress already. Since we had such a positive experience working with Bridbord the first time around, we were eager to find out if there are specific Love Map questions tailored to wedding planning that can help us (and other couples!) thrive and manage stress levels throughout the process.
Lo and behold, there are! Here, Brian and I build a “Wedding Planning” Love Map — and the questions were just as thought-provoking as the first time around. Watch the full video above to see how our conversation went, and if you’re in the middle of planning a wedding yourself, these 17 questions will set you up for success.
- What are the goal(s) of our wedding? Who are we really trying to satisfy besides ourselves?
- What would make it a meaningful event that reflects our lifestyle and values?
- What do you envision for our wedding ceremony?
- What do you envision for our wedding celebration?
- What is most important to you in the planning process? In the wedding ceremony? In the celebration?
- What is least important to you in the planning process? In the wedding ceremony? In the celebration?
- What’s the best way to organize ourselves in planning the wedding? How involved do you want to be with the planning process?
- How do we integrate family and friends in the planning process? In the wedding ceremony? In the celebration?
- How do we manage pre-existing family conflicts in the wedding planning/ceremony/celebration?
- What’s the best way to communicate with you when you are feeling overwhelmed?
- If things get heated, what’s the best way to help you reset and bring you back to the real reason that we are getting married?
- What skillset(s) do you have that will be useful to the wedding planning process?
- What is our budget (how much money do we actually have to spend)?
- Where do we get married?
- How many people do we invite?
- Who are those people that we don’t want to get married without?
- What vendors do we need (flowers, videographer, music, rabbi/priest, etc). Which areas are you interested in taking a lead role (finding venues, etc.)
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