A Couple Improvement Plan
Updated: Aug 15, 2022
You make plans to improve all aspects of life, why not your most important relationship?
Whether a self-improvement plan, or part of Hope Focused Couple Counseling, an intentional couple improvement plan is a key to success. We encourage couples to complete the Couple Improvement Plan each week when in couple therapy.
“The daily and weekly work of improving the relationship was really the key to getting our relationship back on track.”
There is considerable evidence that a grateful mindset distinguishes between a healthy happy life and home. In comparison, unhappy partners tend to ruminate about the shortcoming, negative behaviors, and injustices in the relationship. While negative things shouldn't be ignored, most people get stuck in ruminating about the negative things. This depletes people from the energy and work to improve. Gratitude to God, to each other, to yourself, to the people who love and support you are all important parts of healthy living.
The Big Date and 5-minute Date
Each week plan a big date doing something enjoyable together. This is not a time to solve your problems as a couple but to encourage, pour into each other, love, laugh, and play together.
Each day plan a 5-minute date together. This is a daily check-in on the details of each others lives. Ask about work, the kids, your hopes, fears, worries, anything that it is your mind. Listen to each other for a few minutes and stay connected.
Dr. Ripley discusses the 5-minute date for Loveology.org
Couples should enjoy time together and time on your own. Self-care is any way that you are taking care of your own needs and wants in life. A healthy partnership involves leaning on each other and also being able to stand on your own too.
This is the reason you are improving your relationship. Why is this relationship important to you? Why is it important to your children or others in your life? What dynamics and processes are you improving? What is the eternal or existential meaning of your marriage or relationship? Where is God in your relationship?
Prayers of blessings for your partner, your relationship, family, home, ministry, friends, and your work. Lament the things that have been lost or are struggling. Ask God for strength and wisdom. Praise God for the good things. Pray on your own, or pray together. Pray often. When you pray, avoid ruminating about your partner's faults or problems. Put the struggles on the altar and let God care for your partner and you in areas of pain or struggle. Want to have a strong focus on prayer? Try our prayer journal for marriage.
Notes from Therapy
Therapy "moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it" (Ferris Bueller quote). The things you are learning in couple therapy can be captured here so you can ponder and reflect on what you are learning. You can also return to these notes in the future when you might find remembrance helpful.
This intervention is homework applicable to all units within Hope Focused Couple Counseling. It is intended to be a weekly home exercise for couples.
Hope Focused Counseling
Intake and Feedback/ Conceptualization
Stabilization of conflict cycles (if needed)
Increasing bond by exploring patterns
Increasing bond by communication and conflict resolution skill building
Increasing bond by repair, forgiving and reconciling
Consolidating gains and planning for long-term future