Relationship App Challenge: How learning about my partner helped me learn about myself

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The Gottman Card Deck App is a mobile app created by The Gottman Institute to help improve relationships with conversation starters, date night ideas, sexy activities, and more. My boyfriend and I are working through the app to see how it improves our own relationship. This is the Gottman Mobile App Challenge.

Read John Gottman’s best-selling book: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert

I’m not much into science. I used to love it as a kid, then someone put a novel in front of me and I realized I’m much more suited for a right-brained life. But I’ve always appreciated science and the way it can change lives. My favorite kinds of science are psychology and sociology — essentially, the study of people and society and relationships. I’m fascinated by the research on happy vs. unhappy marriages, what makes people attracted to each other, the foundation of healthy friendships, and all the other beneficial things we can learn from research.

Which is why I’m obsessed with The Gottman Institute and everything they’ve learned about relationships. In a 1992 study, Dr. Gottman studied married couples and after observing them, could predict with 93% accuracy which ones ended up divorcing. This and other studies, including groundbreaking research which finally doesn’t exclude same-sex couples, are used to improve relationships and save the human family from “crisis.”

The Gottman Mobile App offers virtual card decks that are used to improve relationships.

Always staying on top of the curve, The Gottman Institute recently released an app called Gottman Card Decks. This app is basically a series of themed flash cards that are designed to help you improve your relationship. The themes include “Open-Ended Questions” intended to foster deeper communication in couples, “Opportunity” cards which offer date-night ideas, and even “Salsa” cards (spiciness level 1-3) that help couples light a fire in their relationship.

Learn more about the Gottman Institute’s new app and download here.

Always a sucker for relationship-improving tactics, I asked my boyfriend, Bosch, if he’d like to work through some of the card decks with me. And always a sucker for not wanting to disappoint me, he agreed.

The first card deck we tried: Love Maps. These cards are basically trivia for your relationship. You take turns answering questions about each other, seeing what you know about your partner, and learning things you don’t. Some example questions include:

  • What’s your partner’s favorite holiday?
  • What is your partner most sad about right now?
  • What is your partner’s greatest fear?

The Love Maps were a great way to start the Gottman Card Decks, especially for Bosch, who is always a little apprehensive to delve too deep into feelings. We kept our answers light as we went through the deck over dinner one night, not going too deep, but just having fun.

We went through only a handful of cards, but I’ve already learned a lot about this man that I’ve known since we were 16. For instance, he prefers Fantasy over Sci-Fi novels. Who knew?

Gottman Card Decks app
Some of the card decks in the Gottman Mobile App include ways to Give Appreciation, share your feelings, and even spice up your intimacy.

What was most thought-provoking about this exercise though, was what it taught me about myself as I got a glimpse into my personality and quirks through my boyfriend’s eyes. Bosch guessed that my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, which I hadn’t realized was true until he said it. And when asked what my ideal job would be, Bosch described an aspect of my potential career that I had never thought of, but would actually be a perfect fit for me.

It’s amazing to think that this other person could know me better than myself. As a young adult, I’m always trying to get to know myself better — or “find myself” as some would say — but it’s easier said than done. Turns out I’ve got a loving guy in my life who can help me learn more about myself, and in turn, become the best version of myself. And I love that I can be that person for him, as well. As we’re both on this weird journey of adulthood, what a comfort it is to have the other to stumble along with.

While we ate chili on a normal Wednesday evening, we found a simple, yet profound, way to reconnect in a way we hadn’t before as we got to know each other, and ourselves, a little better. I can only imagine how the rest of the cards in the deck are going to improve our relationship.

Stay tuned for more posts about the Gottman Card Decks as Bosch and I explore the app and all the relationship-building activities it offers.

Read Post #2 in this series.

Have you heard of The Gottman Institute? Have you used this app? What has your experience been?

Let’s have a conversation in the comments, or find us on Instagram and Facebook at @AsOneLoves.

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