When Chelsie and her husband Carlos got pregnant, their first reaction was joy, followed closely by fear. What if turning their attention to starting a family made them lose sight of their relationship? As a preventative measure, Chelsie began looking for tools to help them strengthen their relationship so they were ready for what the future held…

When I found out I was pregnant, a part of me was a little afraid of having a child and our marriage taking a back seat. We’ve always tried to keep our relationship as our number one priority and it’s important to both of us that we have a solid foundation. If we’re not strong, we can’t be strong for our family, right?

A friend told me about Relish and as soon as I downloaded it, I knew it was going to make a positive difference for us. It just regularly checks in with us, which is exactly what we were looking for. My coach will ask me how the week went, and then I get daily notifications to do different lessons and activities that are personalized for my needs. For instance, when we got Relish, we found out that I’m a rabbit and that Carlos is a labrador which is like incredibly fitting for us and explained a lot. I come from a family of dysfunction and there are a lot of difficult relationships that I’ve dealt with in my life and it was just sort of an “Aha” moment for me. I just loved seeing our strengths and weaknesses, seeing how they work together, and getting that actionable advice for us (and me) to start moving towards a healthy and secure place. It also gave Carlos more insight because since he’s a Labrador he doesn’t really understand why I don’t trust people because he just loves and trusts everyone immediately and I couldn’t be more different. When he read my summary of my attachment style, I felt like we went to a therapy session – it was just an immediate click.

Just being aware of my attachment type has made a huge change in my life. It’s made me realize like “oh this isn’t a normal reaction to this kind of thing” and sure, everyone has a different ‘normal,’ but I also hold on to a lot of trauma and toxicity other people didn’t go through, so it gives me so much perspective and I feel like I’ve already grown so much. It’s also helped me treat Carlos better because when I’m in fight-or-flight or when I feel uncomfortable I lash out, and I’ve had lessons on Relish that have helped me realize that Carlos doesn’t represent my mom or my dad or anyone else – that he’s someone who has only ever treated me with respect so I don’t have to keep my guard up with him and it’s been a hard but important lesson to learn.

I just like having something to check in with me. Every day, Relish checks in with me and gives me something to work on, it asks how we’re doing every week, and just touching base so often and thinking of our relationship has been really nice. Even though we live together and see each other every day we forget to really look at each other. So when we have a tool in our pocket that says hey how’s your relationship, what can you work on, how are you feeling about this, it’s just super helpful.

We have both gotten so much from taking the quizzes – they inform me on things I really didn’t know about Carlos (but assumed I did). Before I took them I’d read the quiz titles and think ‘well gosh who cares’ – not that I didn’t actually care, but I just felt like the answers wouldn’t really affect me or change anything because I already knew everything about us. I totally didn’t. And every week Carlos makes me take the quiz on the first day of our new lessons.

Even though we live together and see each other every day we forget to really look at each other.

The app itself just has a really supportive, uplifting presence. Like, I’ve been to counseling before and I know the environment, and I thought initially that an app wouldn’t be able to recreate the same atmosphere of no judgement and total support. But it’s actually better. It fulfilled what I got out of counseling plus there was lots of activities and homework-type things which made us accountable between lessons too. I really like the tasks because it’s fun to read about things and you learn a lot but it can’t be the *only* thing you do or you’ll never improve. And now that we do have a baby it’s nice because money’s tighter and Carlos is working extra hours so counseling wasn’t even an option anymore because of affordability and time investment. I think something people can forget is that a professional counselor is like $200 or $300 per session and the cost of the app is only $99 a year which is really crazy if you think about what you’re getting.

We’re really open when we talk to other couples cause they’ll say things like “Oh you guys have such a great marriage” or “You have the ideal relationship” and we always correct them and say “It takes work, these are all the tools we use…” and we tell them about Relish and the self-help books we read and the counseling we’ve done and everything else because it’s really important to be transparent and not give others an unrealistic or skewed view. It’s not like we wake up every morning and everything’s great, you know? Finding Relish at this time in our life, when our lifestyle is changing with our son and we’re trying to really strengthen the foundation of our relationship, has been the ultimate gift. Everyone focuses on the kid when you have a kid, and I mean it’s great to prioritize your kid, but if you’re not prioritizing your relationship too then your kid and your relationship will suffer.