DIY Relationship Improvement- Cheap! From free to $175
DIY Relationship Improvement- Cheap! From free to $175.
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- sometimes pop psychology works, often, it doesn’t. I personally stick to advice that has been carefully researched over decades. I will tell you about inexpensive resources from the two researchers that I think are the best regarding improving your relationship- John Gottman and Sue Johnson.
Free! – 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 they provide links to several other resources.
$2.99 – If you are in a serious intimate relationship and want to make it stronger, deeper, and more secure, get Relationship Guides: Exercises to Improve Relationships [Kindle Edition] and do what it says. It works and it is simple to do (Not easy, but simple.) This is a bargain- only $2.99! Buy this Kindle version of John Gottman’s 45 page mini-book on effective relationship exercises. You don’t have to have an actual Kindle- all major consumer operating systems work. There’s a free Kindle Reader App for Android, Apple devices, Windows, and Chromebooks. Just click and pay 2.99 and you can be reading it in a minute or two.
$8-$20 or so. There are a lot of good books that can help you and your partner improve your relationship. My current favorites are Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage: America’s Love Lab Experts Share Their Strategies for Strengthening Your Relationship by John and Julie Gottman and Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Sue Johnson.
$49 – 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.
$49 – The Gottman Institute recently released a cool board game called The Gottman Couples Retreat Board Game. This is a fun, lightweight way to address some critical relationship issues. The structure of the game helps make opening up and talking a lot less intimidating for partners who have trouble sharing openly. It’s a great way to get closer while, at the same time, fixing some potholes in your relationship.
$175 – John Gottman charges about $750 per couple for an intensive large group relationship workshop. However, you can get a 12-hour home 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 Amazon or visit Gottman’s website.
$80 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.
I put this document together so that I don’t have to create it again 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.
Note: This is an update to an article I wrote in February, 2014.