According to renowned couples and family therapist Esther Perel, the quality of our lives ultimately depends on the quality of our relationships. Good relationships don’t just happen — they need to be nourished and tended to. Long-standing relationships can change as each person grows and evolves, and as the seasons and circumstances of our lives change. Whether you’re trying to keep or renew the spark in a long-term partnership, improve a friendship or a family relationship, or meet a new friend or partner, there are many great resources to help you along the way. Here are a few of our favorite books, games, podcasts and websites.
Why do we do the things we do, and better yet why the heck do others say and do what they do? The Enneagram of Personality is a model of the human psyche taught through nine interconnected personality types. Unlike other tests based on behavior, Enneagram types are based on motivations. It not only has the potential to help us know ourselves better, but also to understand the mystifying behavior and motivations of others, instead of judging them, which in turn can improve our relationships with partners, friends and co-workers.
First, you need to know which number you identify with, from 1 to 9. Good news! There are tests you can take. The Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator is the world’s most popular Enneagram-based test. Scientifically validated, it is a forced-choice personality test with 144 paired statements and takes about 40 minutes to complete. You can find a shorter, free sample of the RHETI test at 9types.com
Understanding how the different numbers/types relate to each other takes the Enneagram to a whole new level. One great resource is the book The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships by the “godmother of the Enneagram,” Suzanne Stabile, which focuses on the nine Enneagram types and how they each behave in and experience relationships.
Gottman Card Decks App
For over 40 years Drs. John and Julie Gottman of the Gottman Institute have been conducting ongoing research to help couples and couple’s therapists through programs and retreats. Inspired by the card decks from their The Art and Science of Love couples weekend workshops, this fun app offers helpful questions, statements, and ideas for improving your relationship. Check the Opportunity deck for new date night options, the Love Map to refresh your relationship with your partner, or the Salsa deck to add some spice! Visit your app store or gottman.com to learn more.
Bikes, beers or backgammon….whatever you’re into, chances are there’s a meetup group for that. For 20 years, Meetup.com has offered ways to connect with others who share your interests through online and in-person events. Connect with other seniors through groups targeted to those 50+, or don’t, and expand your intergenerational community.
Where Should We Begin Card Game
Belgian- born Perel is a practicing couples and family therapist that lives in New York City. A New York Times bestselling author of The State of Affairs and Mating in Captivity, Perel’s celebrated TED talks have garnered more than 20 million views and she also hosts the popular podcasts Where Should We Begin? and How’s Work?
At estherperel.com you can access resources, courses and the card game, Where Should We Begin — A Game of Stories, which has Story and Prompt cards to “inspire you to share the stories you rarely tell.”
This article is featured in the August 2022 issue of The Growing Bolder Digital Digest.