Relationship apps work. Yes, they’re filled with chatbots, creeps, and people who don’t know how to frame a photo. But they work: more than 40 percent of couples in the U.S. say they met online. Now, there is a growing number of relationship apps built to help couples in long-term relationships handle everything from bill-splitting to emotional vulnerability. While it might sound strange, there are a number of apps that are genuinely useful tools that help couples share, connect, and just handle shit faster. Here’s the thing: Modern marriage is hard. Couples are held to more expectations and forced to wrestle with more issues than ever before. As intimacy, communication, and emotional connection are bedrocks of a good marriage, why not look to an app that could help facilitate conversations or teach you to become more financially intimate? If you’re interested, here are five modern apps that do just that.
We admit: the name of this app is a bit unsettling. It sounds like a lyric in a KISS song or a term for sex devised by a clever sixth grader. But Love Nudge has quite the pedigree: It’s the official app of Dr. Gary Chapman’s “5 Love Languages” — you know, the system that catalogues the different ways we express and experience love into five distinct groups: receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service (devotion), and physical touch. Couples separately take a quiz to determine their love language and then the app links them together so they can better understand the expressions of love and intimacy their partner most prefers. From then on out, each partner is asked to suggest activities and engage in ways that align specifically with the other’s love language. Basically, the app makes sure couples are dialed into the right emotional frequency. Couples can also send nudges to one another because, well, it’s an app. It’s a little cheesy, sure. But so are the Love Languages. That doesn’t make understanding them any less important.
We know what you’re going to think: Another scheduling app? I already have three at work and two at home. My life’s going to be nothing but dings and dates. But trust us, you want Raft. The smartly designed calendar app lets you sync calendars with your partner so that you can view their schedule and know precisely who is doing what and by when shit needs to get done. (You can also keep plans private so as to not spoil surprises). Users can share events, personalize notifications, and set countdown timers to plans they’re excited about. It’s a genuinely simple way to set up a headache-free personal calendar — and avoid any blow-out arguments about not remembering plans or pick-ups.
Honesty and intimacy are well understood as bedrocks of a healthy relationship. But without complete transparency around finances, they may not be possible. It also may not be possible to not want to smother one another when staring at a confusing Excel spreadsheet of weekly expenses. Honeydue, a shared finance app, provides couples with a holistic look at everything from spending and savings to bills and budgets. It also features a Venmo-ish bill-splitting function, reminds you of upcoming payments, and, thanks to a simple chat feature, lets you have conversations directly in the app about higher-than-usual bills, changes to budgets, or the fact that one of you went to Boston Market and never brought the other any of that sweet, sweet cornbread. Hey, financial intimacy is important — but it has some downsides.
Based on the Gottman method of marital therapy and informed by considerable research — creators looked at 126 different research studies conducted by 202 different researchers — Lasting is basically a couple’s therapist that lives in your pocket. After getting the low-down on your relationship from a series of starter questions, the app creates a “personal marriage health program” that focuses on three areas that form the basis of strong relationships (emotional connection, your “inner world”, and self-less “we-inspired” actions) and helps make sure you’re both paying attention to them. The app features daily five-minute relationship exercises to play with and without your partner that present relationship areas that might need extra work. There are also notifications: During the day, Lasting will, say, remind you to send your partner an expression of gratitude for something they did or a simple “I love you.” The app also has resources that help walk you through the steps of a proper apology, or how to have tough conversations.
Listen: It sounds a bit silly to have an app that tells you to tell your partner you’re thinking of them. But Lasting is smartly designed and provokes genuinely thoughtful responses. While there’s no third-party to grill you, the app, which costs $12 per month, is a cost-effective way to afford couples therapy and improve your relationship a ding at a time
As we’ve explored, certain couples like to keep tabs on one another. Location sharing is an act of efficiency — and even intimacy. Despite the NSA-ness of the whole thing, husbands and wives who track one another told us the apps mainly serve to ease everyday communications and logistics. If that’s your thing, give Pathshare a shot. The GPS app lets you share real-time locations with your partner and anyone else you want to invite into the fray so they can track you. The app lets users view precise locations, estimate time of arrivals, and more. If locations sharing is caring, Pathshare is an excellent option.