Resources for Couples
The single most important communication skill is empathy. Hands down. Empathy is the glue that bonds relationships.
This course, Empathy Made Easy (written and recorded by Laura Silverstein) will teach you exactly what to say and what not to say when one of you is upset. It’s a video series course that you can watch on your own, but ideally recommend you both sit down together and watch this together.
The Date Forever Podcast is a weekly relationship podcast that broadcasts out of Australia. Sammi and Nathan Jaeger chat with couples and experts about the tips and tricks they’ve found to keep a relationship “fuelled up.” They suggest approaching your long-term relationship with the same kind of enthusiastic energy as when you first started dating.
Sammi and Nate are funny and honest and very good at normalizing the challenges of love and marriage. Laura has had the opportunity to appear on their show twice!
Laura created a Mini Relationship Toolkit as a fun, non-threatening way to assess your relationship wellness and give you some quick tips to start implementing right away. It’s a 6-page PDF that includes a relationship fitness test, a workout calendar, and a printable empathy cheat sheet.
These worksheets are based on the research of Dr. John Gottman (famous for being able to predict divorce with 90% accuracy), Sue Johnson (famous for applying Attachment Theory to adult couples, and Daniel Goleman (often described as the Father of Emotional Intelligence).
Gary Chapman introduced the idea of the 5 Love Languages, helping us understand that we all have our own preferences regarding how we like to give or receive love.
Similarly, we have unique preferences regarding how we like to feel close and connected. There are three kinds of intimacy: emotional intimacy, physical intimacy, and intellectual intimacy.
This free relationship quiz will take you less than 10 minutes, and it’s a quick way to learn what your intimacy love language is. After each of you takes the test, we recommend forwarding it to you partner and then comparing your answers and talking about them.
Progressive Relaxation Exercise (7 Minutes)
Healthy relationships are made up of individuals who take care of themselves. It’s crucial to practice self-care so that you both can feel grounded, relaxed and happy.
When you take care of your mind, your heart, and your body, you will be better able to accept the love that is offered to you, and giving to others will likely come from a place of generosity rather than resentment.
Take seven minutes out of your day to relax, put your feet up, and remind yourself you are a beautiful human. Click HERE.
Low-Cost Resources for Couples on a Budget
Create Your Own Communication-Building Relationship Retreat
A communication retreat can provide numerous benefits for your relationship.
First and foremost, it can help you and your partner learn new communication skills that can be applied in your everyday life. These skills can include active listening, conflict resolution, and expressing emotions effectively.
Additionally, a retreat can provide a safe and supportive structure for you two to work through any issues or challenges they may be facing. This can lead to a deeper understanding and connection between partners, ultimately strengthening the relationship.
The problem with couples retreats is that they are incredibly expensive. You have to purchase air fare and lodging as well as the cost of the retreat itself which will run you well over $2,000. This might be worth it for a relationship that is hanging on by a thread, but doesn’t make sense for couples who want to prioritize their relationships, have some fun, learn some skills along the way.
The good news is that you can save a boatload of money by creating your own communication relationship retreat in your backyard. You’ll need to carve out a weekend and expect to pay up to $50 for a quality communication workbook written by a qualified relationship expert.
Love Is an Action Verb, Couples Therapy Workbook is available for $16.99 at the time of this writing.
Read a Relationship Book, Together
Reading relationship books together can be a beneficial activity for couples for several reasons.
First, you have a shared learning experience that allows you to hear professional perspectives on relationship health and then reflect on how the concepts apply to your specific situation. Also, better communication can result from the insights and strategies you’ll learn from the texts. Here are some of our favorites.
- “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by John Gottman and Nan Silver. This book is based on decades of research by the renowned relationship expert John Gottman, and provides practical advice and exercises for improving communication, resolving conflicts, and deepening emotional intimacy in your marriage.
- “Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love” by Dr. Sue Johnson. This book is based on the emotionally focused therapy approach, and offers seven conversations that couples can have to build a stronger and more loving relationship
- “Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find–and Keep–Love” by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. This book explores how our attachment styles affect our romantic relationships, and offers practical advice for creating a more secure and fulfilling partnership.
- “Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples” by Harville Hendrix. This book is based on the Imago Relationship Therapy approach, and offers practical tools and exercises for improving communication, healing old wounds, and building a more loving and fulfilling relationship.
- “Love is an Action Verb” by Laura Silverstein. This book is an updated and inclusive relationship book designed to be read just by one partner, or together. It is based on my 30 years of experience as a couples therapist and advanced training in The Gottman Method of Couples Therapy.
3. Go On Regular Date Nights (Free Date Night Planner)
It’s no secret that date nights are a great way to prioritize your relationship and strengthen your emotional bond. Once you carve out time and dedicate space to connect, communicate and have fun, the sky is the limit regarding what kind of memories you can create together.
This free couples workbook: 52 Dates in 52 Weeks is an interactive planner for you and your partner to explore 145 date night ideas, and choose the ones you like. It includes weekly free date night ideas as well as once-in-a-lifetime bucket list ideas. But most couples don’t take the extra step of turning their dreams into reality by scheduling them and setting up all the logistics required to take action.
This workbook includes a scheduling calendar and templates to decide who is in charge of implementing the planning task. Click here for your copy.
We Hope these Ideas Will Bring Some Fun and Save You Some Money
Relationship improvement doesn’t have to hurt your bank account. Couples therapy can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be the only option for couples looking to strengthen their relationship.
We hope these ideas provided you and your sweetheart with some inspiration to plan some inexpensive or free activities to deepen your connection and rediscover your spark.