Marinade is over, but we've built something new at Actually. Check it out :)

Hi, we're Marinade!

We send a free, weekly text with games and tools for couples. Everything is based on the best academic research and community advice.

Couples love that it’s a small, fun way to prioritize and grow their relationship. See the latest or sign up:

We never spam - you can expect 1 text per week. Text 'stop' at any time to opt out. Msg and data rates may apply. US and Canada only. Signing up means you agree to our Terms.

Some recent texts...

🥰 A Greatest Hits List or Michelin Guide for date night ideas.

💌 A souped-up way to leave a surprise note on their pillow.

🥳 A personalized holiday made literally just for you.

🤓 The Cliff Notes for Relationship Research 101.

THE MARINADE!

Flavoring for great relationships.

A free, weekly text with interesting, fun questions for couples.

  • We text you 1 question per week.

  • You and your partner talk about it.

  • You learn something new every time.

We never spam - you can expect 1 text per week. Text 'stop' at any time to opt out. Msg and data rates may apply. US and Canada only. Signing up means you agree to our Terms.

Wall of love...

“I always want to ask my wife a bunch of random questions and do games with her all the time, this is perfect.”

“We’ve been together 5 years and we still learn something new about each other every time.”

“It’s just a fun and engaging little thing that lets you marinate in the good times (pun intended).”

“It’s small, but I think it really enriches our relationship and creates little random moments of connection.”

Recent marinades...

What's one small thing your partner did recently that you appreciate?

What's a secret you used to keep that is no longer a secret?

What's something I can take off your plate today?

What’s something you love doing that most people hate doing?

As a couple, when are you happiest? What are you doing, who are you with, how does it start, etc.? How might you create more of these moments?

If your partner was a plant, what would they be? Why? What would you be?

Write the story of how you met in emojis. Now write it in a few sentences. How has this story shaped who you are together?

What’s something only I know about you?

PAST RELEASES

We keep a running list of our best drops here. Check them out and grab as many as you'd like.

Couples love Marinade the most when they both sign up. Send a link to your partner by clicking here.

THE SYLLABUS

📚 1 email every week with a best-in-class article or book on relationships + why you should read it.

FREE, UNSUBSCRIBE AT ANY TIME

FAVORITE DROPS

BEST SELLER
🥰 A Greatest Hits List or Michelin Guide for date night ideas.
Check it out here.


HIGHEST RATED
💌 A souped-up version of leaving a surprise note on their pillow.
Check it out here.


🥳 A personalized holiday made literally just for you.
Check it out here.


🤓 The Cliff Notes for Relationship Research 101.
Check it out here.


🦃 The custom build.
Let us know here.


If you haven't already, text us below to hear when we drop new things:

Or click here if you're on a computer

We never spam - you can expect 1 text per week. Text 'stop' at any time to opt out. Msg and data rates may apply. US and Canada only. Signing up means you agree to our Terms.

F.A.Q.

-What if I don't like it?
We'll give you a 100% refund if it was a paid product - just let us know via email within the first 2 weeks.

-What if my partner wants to sign up also?
You can both sign up for anything. We're not trying to price gauge you, if it's a paid product, just send us an email and we'll add your partner for free.

-What are other people saying?
You can check out some reviews here.

-Can you PowerPoint me in the right direction?
Yes we Excel at that.

FORM

Looks like something went wrong. Let us know below.

CUSTOM BUILD

Some of our best drops have come from people telling us something they love ("our favorite ritual is...") or asking us to build something for them ("do you have a schedule for a pre-wedding retreat").

Let us know below what you're interested in. We'll make it 💡👋🔨

SIGN UP

Great choice. You're going to love it!

Look out for an email with next steps and let us know if you have any questions.

🎉

ABOUT US

Hi there. We’re a small team of people who care a lot about our closest relationships.

Things like ‘family’ and ‘my significant other’ are typically #1 on our list of priorities. But most advice is either too corny, focused on repairing deep issues, or buried in dense books.

After spending 1000s of hours digging into the research and talking with couples, we realized that most of it could be summarized into 2 broad themes:

🔑 How you show up day-to-day is the most important thing, not the big gestures or expensive gifts.

🔑 The easiest way to protect or improve your relationship is to be more intentional.

Of course there are tons of detail and expertise one level below these themes (which we love to talk about), but the core is really that simple.

That’s why we created Marinade. We take the best research and community advice and turn it into great content, products, and experiences.

We’ve spent the last few months building things for our pilot users. The response has been great so far. Every week or two we build and release something new. Sometimes it's a helpful tool, sometimes it's a cool experience, and sometimes it's interesting content.

Sign up:

We never spam - you can expect 1 text per week. Text 'stop' at any time to opt out. Msg and data rates may apply. US and Canada only. Signing up means you agree to our Terms.

CONTACT US

Oh hey there. Most people don't click this. Nice to see you.

You can reach us at:
✉️ adam@hellomarinade.com
📞📱 708.529.9366

REVIEWS

"I'm really busy and it's easy to prioritize work or school over everything else - this makes it fun to prioritize us."

"Idk, it just looked interesting. Why not?"

"I want to hear what other people are doing and share some of the things we're learning."

"Our relationship is great, we don't need 'help' and we're happy, but I wonder if there’s more we could be doing – to connect even better, to prepare for tough times in the future, etc."

"My marriage is one of the most important things in my life and I want to know what the research says is best."

"OMG I'm crying...like happy tears."

"I am SO excited to share my answers and I can't wait to read theirs."

"I loved the content. I had no idea there was so much research and this made it simple to understand."

"It was such a nice way to uncover all the little things we love about our relationship, but often forget."

"I really enjoyed this - it was great to take a few minutes each day to reflect on what we have in a positive way."

"I find myself getting so excited for the Marinade prompt to come in."

"We ended up talking for hours about what we read and our answers and it was so fun."

Or click here if you're on a computer

We never spam - you can expect 1 text per week. Text 'stop' at any time to opt out. Msg and data rates may apply. US and Canada only. Signing up means you agree to our Terms.

F.A.Q.

-What if I don't like it?
We'll give you a 100% refund if it was a paid product - just let us know via email within a week of finishing.

-What if my partner wants to sign up also?
You can always both sign up for anything. Also, we're not trying to price gauge you, if it's a paid product, just send us an email and we'll add your partner for free.

-What are other people saying?
You can check out some reviews here.

-Why so many drops instead of 1 big app or product?
For a few reasons. First, there is no secret sauce or magic bullet. Every couple is different. This allows us to build what you need, not what we say you should need. Second, this keeps us accountable to you. We’re not counting on you forgetting to cancel a $ subscription. We have to deliver every time.

-Can you PowerPoint me in the right direction?
Yes we Excel at that.

THE SYLLABUS

At Marinade, we became obsessed with the research and wisdom behind healthy, happy long-term relationships. Particularly for couples who have demanding careers.

Although we love talking and writing about this, it's helpful to read from a broad range of sources.

We’ve found thousands of amazing resources. This is just a snapshot. It’s meant to be a very short, non-comprehensive ‘syllabus’ on the research into couples wellness.

It’s not meant to be sequential. Pop around and dig into whatever seems interesting. It’s also not designed to be corrective. We focus on the upper right quadrant:

3 minute videos on powerful research concepts

Emotional bank account
An intuitive and interesting day-to-day approach

Emotional bids
A powerful and easy-to-apply concept that you can't unsee

History of marriage
Great summary of how relationships today are different than before

Great books to get started

The All or Nothing Marriage by Eli Finkel
A heavily researched and helpful look into how marriage has changed over time and what that means for couples today

8 Dates by John Gottman
An interactive guide through 8 ‘dates’ based on the core elements of a good, long-term relationship

Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love by Marcia Berger
A tactical guide to holding weekly marriage meetings (which sounds crazy at first, but everyone that tries it, loves it)

Modern Romance: An Investigation by Aziz Ansari
A light exploration of modern relationships with a surprising amount of research baked in

Personal perspectives

A Thread
Short and casual list of ideas that are surprisingly deep and backed by research

A Blog Post
Great deep dive into bringing greater intentionality to your relationship

Online communities

r/longdistance
A supportive and active community of couples in long-distance relationships

r/relationshipadvice
Crazy stuff...

The 2 broad research / therapy-based approaches

John and Julie Gottman’s Gottman Method
The most well-known couples researchers

Sue Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Therapy
A pioneering new approach to couples research

We're always updating this, let us know if you have any comments or questions here and, if you haven't already, sign up to hear when we drop new products or experiences here.

THE CLIFF NOTES

This week's drop is The Cliff Notes.

It's one of our favorites and the number one request from people new to this space.

When we first started Marinade, we had no idea there was so much research and insight into relationships. When we dug in, we were blown away by the depth and breadth of content and ideas. The Cliff Notes is what we wish we had then - just the good stuff. 10 of the best supported, most actionable insights from research.

It's short, interesting, and valuable. We're confident you'll like it - get a 100% refund anytime in the first 2 weeks if you don't.

THE CLIFF NOTES

"I just want the high value stuff, to understand and apply the research."

🤓 Every week we'll send you 1 bite size summary of the latest and greatest research on long-term relationships + what you can do to bring them to life. Like the Cliffs Notes for Relationships 101.

$10, ONE TIME, 10 WEEKS OF MESSAGES

*Is it Cliff Notes? Or Cliff's Notes? Or Cliffs Notes?

Not interested? Just wait a week or two for our next drop or check out our old ones here.

THE DATE NIGHT

This is The Date Night.

It's pretty simple. Every week we send you 3 very unique ideas for date night. They're weird, refreshing, and great - almost everyone loves them.

If you don't like it, get a 100% refund after 2 weeks.

THE DATE NIGHT

"This is sick, I love this - I'm definitely doing the first one this week."

Every week you’ll get a calendar reminder with 3 unique ideas for date night:

🥰 1 idea from other couples like you
🥼 1 idea from researchers or therapists
🎥 1 idea from a show, book, or movie

See an example

$10, ONE TIME*, 10 WEEKS OF MESSAGES

*None of that “leave a reminder to cancel a subscription” bullshit

THE LETTER

This week's drop is The Letter.

It's free and one of our pilot group's all-time favorites (if you were in that group you may want to skip this one). It's kind of like a souped-up, surprise love letter.

This was designed for people working long hours or traveling, but we think you'll like it even if that's not the case.

It's really simple.

Hit the button below to text us and get started. We'll then ask you 7 quick, but meaningful questions. At the end you'll have a series of 7 mini-notes to gift your partner. It should take about 5-10 minutes. Almost everyone that does it, loves it. We've even seen some happy tears.

THE LETTER

"I wanted to surprise my partner with a thoughtful note. We loved the questions and ended up talking for hours about our answers."

💌 We text you 7 questions and compile your answers into a beautiful keepsake that is a great surprise gift and kickstarter for a much deeper conversation.

FREE

If you're on a computer, you'll need to grab your phone and text 'Go' to 914-380-3935 to get started.

We never spam - you can expect 7-10 texts over ~5-10 minutes, one-time. Text 'stop' at any time to stop receiving messages. Msg and data rates may apply. We don't read responses and won't ask for identifying information. Signing up means you agree to our Terms.

Not interested? Just wait a week or two for our next drop or check out our old ones here.

THE JOURNAL

This week’s drop is the smallest, shortest journal you’ve ever seen.

Most of our favorite research can be summarized as "ask yourself a simple question repeatedly." That's exactly what we're doing with The Journal.

For 6 days we’ll ask you 1 very simple question: What did you prioritize most today - Family, My Relationship, Fun, Work, Health, Spiritual, or Other? List your top 2 in order.

It doesn’t sound like much, but most people are surprised at their answers and some end up making fairly significant changes to their routine. Think of it as a quick way to check in on how aligned your high level priorities and day to day actions are.

It's also significantly better if you share this one with your partner. It's fun to compare answers and will make sure you're not lying to yourself.

THE JOURNAL

📔 Get the question for the next 5 days free.
Click here.

🤝 Send this link to your partner.
Click here.

We never spam. You can expect ~1 text per day for 6 days. Text 'stop' at any time to stop receiving messages. Msg and data rates may apply. We never read responses and won't ask for your name or other identifying information. Signing up means you agree to our Terms.

Sent this by your partner or a friend? Sign up to get more cool stuff here.

Not interested? Just wait a week or two for our next drop or check out our old ones here.

UPDATE ON
THE JOURNAL

We had some text-delivery issues with this drop. We're rebuilding The Journal on a new platform to make it even better.

As a thank you, we want to give you free access to The Date Night drop (typically $10). Drop your email below and we’ll send it to you for free.

As a closing activity, you can scroll through your answers over the last 5-6 days. Do they align with your high level priorities? Are you surprised by anything? Is there anything you'd do differently?

Here’s what we’ve heard so far:

"I'd love a longer-term version of this. It really helped me see what I actually prioritize, not just what I intend to prioritize."

"It was interesting to see what I thought I had prioritized vs what my partner thought I had prioritized. It was often different."

"It was so small, but it made me realize how much I focus on work. This weekend I'm planning on calling my parents and spending more alone time together with my boyfriend."

We're working now on The Journal 2.0. It will offer a yearly subscription with:

  • 6 days of questions the first week of every quarter

  • Centralized answers in an online profile with insights

  • Ability to add additional questions

Drop your email below if you want to try it before the release date:

THE MEETING

We've had a ton of new people join this week, welcome!

The drop this week is The Meeting. It's different compared to our usual drops, but the world is crazy right now and this has been a big de-stressor for us.

When we asked 100s of couples for their favorite routine or tip, the most common answer was “Have a recurring, scheduled meeting to align calendars, connect, and discuss more important topics.”

Yes, it sounds a bit intense, but here's what they said about it:

  • It's fun, makes it easy for us to be on the same page, and prevents any issues from snowballing

  • Instead of stressing over something for days, I'll just drop it in my notes and know we’ll make time for it later

  • I love that it creates space to talk about the big or uncomfortable things we sometimes avoid

  • It helped us realize that certain chores often fell on me - now we split things more fairly

If you’re interested in trying this out, here’s a free, hyper-simple guide. Talk through your answers every 2-3 weeks on a long walk or chill night.

  • When’s our next date night or trip and what do we want to do?

  • What chores or other tasks need to be done and which of us will do them?

  • Are there any tough conversations we’re avoiding?

  • Is there anything we should celebrate? Any small wins?

Drop your email below and we'll send you 4 more questions and the research / reasoning behind them.

And if you feel too weird suggesting a meeting, then don’t. Just ask your partner some of the above questions the next time you’re on a walk.

We're also going to try something new - a personalized drop limited to 10 couples. It’s $10 per couple, but if you’re not happy with the results we’ll return 100% of your money, no questions asked.

THE CUSTOM MEETING

Here's what we'll do:

  • Customize your agenda based on our larger list of questions

  • Share the research and reasoning behind each question

  • Help you build a note-taking system, Slack instance, or custom app

  • Send you reminders for the first few meetings

  • Work through any obstacles and share common tips

  • Include our Date Night drop (typically $10)

$10, ONE TIME, LIMITED TO 10 COUPLES

Not interested? Just wait a week or two for our next drop or check out our old ones here.

MEETING QUESTIONS

After The Meeting drop last week, we received so many questions and ideas. As promised, here's our short list of the top 8 questions we love and why.

We recommend picking 3-5 of these and trying them out for a few weeks.

QuestionLink
When’s our next date night or trip and what do we want to do?Here
What chores or other tasks need to be done and which of us will do them?Here
Are there any tough conversations we’re avoiding?Here
Is there anything we should celebrate? Any small wins?Here
What's one thing your partner did recently that you appreciate?Here
How can I best support you this week?Here
How are we tracking towards our budget?Here
How were these last few weeks? Is there anything we need to change or adjust?Here

#1

When’s our next date night or trip and what do we want to do?


  • Easy way to kick off the conversation on a positive note

  • Important to always have something to look forward to

  • Otherwise too easy to delay when you're busy

  • Improves the quality and novelty of the time you spend together

Resources and Research: NY Times Article on Research, More Research on the Effects of Novelty

#2

What chores need to be done and which of us will do them?


  • Prevents the workload from being unfairly distributed (often unknowingly)

  • Ensures things don't fall through the cracks

Resources and Research: Article on 4 Big Topics Including Chores

#3

Are there any big or tough conversations we’re avoiding?


  • Creates a safe and calm space to discuss important topics

  • Prevents you from 'waiting for the right time' and unknowingly avoiding a topic for months

  • Gives you an opportunity to talk about the high level stuff that can get lost in the day-to-day

Resources and Research: Book Recommendation, Another Book Recommendation, Research on Starting Tough Conversations

#4

Is there anything we should celebrate? Any small wins?


  • How you celebrate the good times is often more important than what you do in the bad times

  • Builds appreciation and gratitude

Resources and Research: Research on Capitalization, More Research, Even More Research

#5

What's one thing your partner did recently that you appreciate?


  • Builds appreciation and gratitude

  • Creates a habit in your mind of looking for the positive

Resources and Research: Research on Gratitude and Appreciation in Couples, More Research, Video on Positive Psychology and Gratitude in General

#6

How can I best support you this week?


  • It's just a nice thing to do 😊

  • Provides a good window into your states of mind and the upcoming week

Resources and Research: Research on the Power of Noticing When Your Partner Invests in the Relationship

#7

How are we tracking towards our budget?


  • Typically the #1 thing couples fight about

  • Increases transparency and awareness

Resources and Research: Couples Finance App, Another Couples Finance App

#8

How were these last few weeks? Is there anything we need to change or adjust?


  • A slightly different take on #3 that focuses more on small or recent things

  • Builds open communication

Resources and Research: Research on Starting Tough Conversations

If you want to level this up, we're going to add 5 more couples to our personalized meeting program. It’s $10 per couple, but if you’re not happy with the results we’ll return 100% of your money, no questions asked.

THE CUSTOM MEETING

Here's what we'll do:

  • Customize your agenda based on our larger list of questions

  • Share the research and reasoning behind each question

  • Help you build a note-taking system, Slack instance, or custom app

  • Send you reminders for the first few meetings

  • Work through any obstacles and share common tips

  • Include our Date Night drop (typically $10)

$10, ONE TIME

THE MACHINE

One of our favorite pieces of research is a bit counter-intuitive. It’s a process called Capitalization that essentially says:

How you handle the small, good times may be more important than how you handle the bad times.

Researchers found that couples were happier, more intimate, and more trusting when they were instructed to share and respond to small good things in their day (sources below).

So this week we made a Capitalization Machine. Here’s how it works - look closely because it’s really, really complicated 😉

  1. We text you every night this week with 1 question: What's one, small good thing that happened to you today?

  2. You reply via text.

  3. You turn and ask your partner the same question.

  4. You celebrate your small wins - a smile, glass of wine, etc.

After a week you’ll be a capitalization expert. You’ll be quicker to notice and celebrate small wins in the future, leaving you happier, more positive, and more resilient.

THE MACHINE

📔 Get the question for the next 6 days free.
Click here.

🤝 This one's better together, send this link to your partner so they can join too.
Click here.

We never spam. You can expect ~1 text per day for 6 days. Text 'stop' at any time to opt out. Msg and data rates may apply. Signing up means you agree to our Terms.

If you found Capitalization research interesting, you can check out the studies we referenced here: Study 1, 2, 3.

Or just check out our Cliff Notes drop here. It’s a favorite where we dig into 10 different pieces of relationship research (like Capitalization) and how to apply them.

UPDATE ON
THE MACHINE

As a closing activity, grab your phone and scroll through your answers over the last 5-6 days.

Is there anything you've already forgotten? Do you remember anything your partner shared? Is this a routine you'll keep?

If you have a minute, we'd love to hear what you thought of this drop or Marinade in general. And leave your email if you'd be ok with us following up with more questions!

DATE TEXT UPDATE

We're working on a few exciting new things right now. So last week we tried something a little different and asked everyone a question instead of our typical drop.

LAST WEEK'S DROP

This week we have something a little different! Ask your partner: "What was your favorite date or moment together over the last month? Why?"

Then reply here with your answers. We will anonymize and send out the best dates in a few days.

Date night is more than just fun. Research has shown that when couples spend time together doing novel activities, they’re more satisfied with their relationship.

Below we’ve gathered a few of our favorite replies from last week’s question. Scroll through and pick one that sounds completely random or novel and give it a try this week.

SPONTANEOUS

💭 "Dinner on Thursday with the kids, where everyone was laughing for no obvious reason."

💭 "Sitting in bed just talking about how our day was. Nothing fancy just real."

💭 "Front chairs, post nap. Beautiful weather. Summersaults.
Watching Frozen 2 together randomly."

ACTIVE

⛵ "Everytime we go for a run together and feel the accomplishment of completing the run. "

⛵ "Bike ride through the arboretum (socially distant!)."

⛵ "When we played football, when we went to Mae Asian eatery and got food there, and when we made fox and knife pasta."

HEARTY

🍗 "Steak night and music."

🍗 "We cooked a Mediterranean themed dinner together."

🍗 "Me and my girlfriend made Thai food and cocktails together before going for a walk on the waterfront."

You can also check out our Date Night product here. We send out 3 date ideas every week (one inspired by research, one by other couples, and one by a movie or show).

SECRET TRICKS

If there was an easy, proven way to protect your relationship and make it better, would you do it? Of course.

Although it’s rarely easy, there are a few, research-backed ways to improve your marriage - things that seem to unambiguously increase relationship satisfaction and reduce divorce rates.

One of them is premarital counseling. Studies have shown that when couples complete some form of premarital counseling, they have 30% higher marital satisfaction compared to those who didn’t do any sort of preparation.

That seems pretty cut and dry! If that’s true, why don’t more couples do it?

The problem is that most premarital counseling was designed decades ago, is closely associated with the Church, and feels like work. So it’s a great resource, wrapped in a terrible package.

At Actually, we decided to re-design premarital counseling to make it secular, expert-led, research-backed, fun, and for all couples (not just those getting married). If you’re interested, we’d love for you to check it out (use code BOND for 25% off).

So what makes premarital counseling so effective? When we dug in, we found that a lot of it comes down to simply having the right conversations in the right way - talking about the big stuff with expert guidance and actionable frameworks.

But conversations are only as good as the questions you ask.

So let’s try one out real quick. Take 1-2 minutes to think of your answer to the below question and then share and discuss with your partner. We know it’s easy to just scroll on by, but push past that! Do it now :)

What do you love about your parent’s relationship and want to copy? What do you want to do differently?

How did that feel? You probably learned something about yourself, your partner, and your relationship. Exercises like these make it easy to see why premarital counseling can be so healthy and fun for any couple, regardless of whether they are getting married or not.

If you liked that, check out our latest offering - Paths. It’s modern, improved premarital counseling designed for couples of all stages, not just those getting married. We're seeing huge demand and couples have loved it. If you’re still reading, you probably will too.

MARINADE

Hello again! Many of you have reached out to ask about couples therapy or advice on how to proactively strengthen your relationship. The hardest part is usually figuring out where to start.

We’ve made that a lot easier. We partnered with some incredible couples therapists and coaches to build a new type of couples therapy experience. Something you'll both actually want to do.

We handle all of the logistics - from finding you the perfect therapist to checking if it’s covered by your insurance. We also throw in a little bit of surprise and magic for good measure.

We’re offering 3 different experiences. Send us a text, we'd love to help.

EXPERIENCES

🛠️ We’re dealing with something.
Click here.

💪 We’re looking to proactively strengthen our relationship.
Click here.

💒 We’re about to get married.
Click here.

You can expect 4-5 questions via text. Text 'stop' at any time to opt out. Msg and data rates may apply. Replying is opting into our Terms.

This looks interesting, but now's not a good time.