Today, let’s talk about technology. One common complaint for couples coming in for couples therapy is that their partner is always on their phone (or watching TV or playing video games or on the computer), which can leave the other partner feeling as though they don’t matter, or that they are not as important as whatever their partner is watching. Although there are many ways that technology has made our lives easier (how convenient is it that we can send someone a text and hear back from them in seconds instead of writing a letter and possibly waiting weeks to hear back from them), there are also ways that technology has contributed to relationship strain, stress, and disconnection.
1 – Gottman Card Decks
Has it been a long time since you and your partner have had a “real conversation”, or a conversation that consisted of more than what to have for dinner or who’s picking up the kids after school? Are you dating someone and want some conversation starters to help you learn more about each other? Do you know your partner’s hopes and goals for the future? Gottman Card Decks, created by The Gottman Institute, uses the research and principles of Gottman Method Couples Therapy to help couples build a stronger connection in various dimensions of their relationship. This app has categories like “Open-Ended Questions,” “Date Questions,” and “Sex Questions” where you will find examples of questions you can ask your partner to help deepen your relationship. Other categories, such as “Give Appreciation,” “Expressing Needs,” “Expressing Empathy,” and “Salsa (Mild, Medium, Hot)” will provide you examples of how to express yourself to your partner in a way they can hear, understand, and respond to positively. This free app is available for both iOS (download here) and Android (download here).
2 – Love Nudge
Many of you may be familiar with the concept of the 5 Love Languages. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, marriage counselor and creator of the concept of Love Languages (you can read more here), we all have different ways of expressing and receiving love. These ways we give and receive love often fall into five different categories, or Love Languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Love Nudge is a free newly released app created by Dr. Gary Chapman to help you practically put the concepts of the 5 Love Languages into practice. When you download this app, you will be able to take the 5 Love Languages quiz, link your account to your partner’s, set goals for connecting with your partner, and send each other nudges. This free app is also available for iOS in the Apple store and for Android in the Google Play store.
3 – Couply
Do you wish there was one app that can help you plan date nights, give you reminders about important relationship dates (e.g., anniversaries, birthdays), and help you learn more about yourself and your partner? If so, then Couply may be the app for you! This app has several research-based quizzes (e.g., Attachment Style, Love Language, Communication Style, Conflict Style), and provides relationship suggestions, date ideas, and gift recommendations based on the quiz results. Like Love Nudge, Couply also allows you to link your account with your partner, where you can share quiz scores, schedule date nights with each other, and receive customized relationship advice based on your personalities and quiz scores. Like Gottman Card Decks and Love Nudge, Couply is also available for free for iOS in the Apple store or for Android in the Google Play Store.
4 – In Love While Parenting – Couples App
Have you and your partner recently had a baby? Do you have young children and find yourself constantly exhausted at the end of the day with no energy left for your relationship with your partner? Have you found that having teenagers in the house has changed your relationship with your partner in ways you had not anticipated? Are you wondering about research-based strategies to help you and your partner grow closer to each other among the demands of raising children? In Love While Parenting – Couples App provides you with customizable research-based daily insights and lessons about relationships, emotions, love, and how to stay connected in your relationship. The content is presented via short videos, questionnaires, and daily tips designed to provide you with information and tools for building a stronger bond to your partner. Like the other apps mentioned above, In Love While Parenting – Couples App is available for free for iOS in the Apple store or for Android in the Google Play Store.
Please remember that an app is often not a replacement for therapy. If you find that using a relationship app like the ones listed above only adds to your disconnection or only scratches the surface of the challenges you and your partner are experiencing, please reach out to us here at Estes Therapy and schedule an appointment with one of our therapists. Our therapists are trained in evidence-based couples therapy models, and would love to work with you to help you and your partner learn more about each other and your relationship patterns, and help you build a stronger connection to each other.
Article by Heather Frick, AMFT#116509 (supervised by Jennine Estes, LMFT#47653)