Re-Draw the Map
“Goodnight, love” I said a few nights ago, rolling over and getting in position to get into REM as quickly as possible. “Wait,” my husband said. “We really need to re-draw the map. We haven’t talked for more than a few minutes in days.”
I used to hate this expression — “re-drawing the map.” Knowing that he learned it in a grad school course focused on managing work and family, it felt awkwardly clinical and forced every time my husband said it, like we were animated characters in a textbook study guide. But over the years, as we’ve had to become more intentional about how we stay connected to each other, it’s grown on me. I like having language that triggers a different sort of a conversation with my husband, or with my mom, or with my best friend — a set of words that put me in a different, more patient, more open state of mind.
“Re-drawing the map” is about tracing the footsteps the other person has taken during the last few days or weeks. It’s about asking questions and listening to the details — the funny and surprising anecdotes that so often fall by the wayside of the big takeaways or the logistical details. “Re-drawing the map” is about holding a state of true curiosity — directing energy toward the other person and ultimately, to the space you both share. It’s about investing in our emotional health in the same way we commit to our physical health.
It’s easy to make sure we’re running the miles we plan to and eating the diet we’ve committed to — these things are black and white and easy to track. But it’s tougher to keep track of whether we’re taking care of our relationships in the way they deserve to be nurtured. So if you do one thing this weekend, find some time to re-draw the map with someone you love (maybe your mom)!
Photo by Torley Linden, via Flickr Creative Commons.