Do It Yourself Relationship Improvement
If you can learn new communication skills and you are willing to read, you can likely do a lot on your own to improve your relationship without hiring a therapist. It usually works better if you and your partner are willing to work together, but you can usually change things for the better even if you are alone in your efforts.
Since I am a psychologist I favor relationship improvement techniques that have been subjected to behavioral science research. Everybody and his brother will give you relationship advice. I personally stick to advice that has been carefully researched over decades. I will tell you about resources from the two researchers that I think are the best regarding improving your relationship- John Gottman and Sue Johnson.
The cheapest and fastest thing you can do is read the free stuff available on the internet. I like the articles and videos available for free at http://www.gottman.com/ and http://www.drsuejohnson.com/ . Those sites have great info and links to several other resources.
There are a lot of good books that can help you and your partner improve your relationship. My current favorites are Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Sue Johnson and Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage: America’s Love Lab Experts Share Their Strategies for Strengthening Your Relationship by John and Julie Gottman.
If you want a little more than a book can offer and you are willing to spend a little more money, there are a couple of great options for you. Sue Johnson has a nice DVD called Hold Me Tight®: Conversations for Connections that you can buy on her website- I highly recommend it especially if you like her book Hold Me Tight. I think her DVD is selling for $49 at the moment.
John Gottman charges about $750 per couple for an intensive in-person relationship workshop. However, you can buy a 12-hour version of his workshop for around $175. It has workbooks, 4 DVDs, handouts, worksheets, and a lot more. It has been shown to help 86% of the couples who use the workshop. You can get the Art & Science Of Love Home DVD Workshop on Dr. Gottman’s website.
If sex is the primary problem in your relationship, there is a great home-study course offered by John & Julie Gottman. You can get all the material online. I think it is around $80 for everything. Visit http://gottsex.com/ for more information.
I have no financial interest in any of the above products or people. I put this document together so that I don’t have to rewrite it every week or two when another person with a relationship problem shows up in my therapy room.
Try doing it yourself. If it fails, you can always hire a professional to help you sort through the difficult areas.