News of the recent launch of Tokii, an online community designed to help busy couples stay connected, has me fascinated. Can anything online help couples maintain healthy relationships in the real world? Isn’t the fact that we spend too much time interacting with technology and not even relating to one another as humans part of the problem?
Of course I contemplate my own failed relationship and whether anything could have saved us. We tried counseling, I went on a self-improvement binge and, in the end, when we had ultimately stopped rehashing our problems, we stopped communicating about anything. Sure, there were moments of brightness, during which we might share a laugh, but we couldn’t sustain it.
And that’s why I look at this concept and think it’s positively genius! Two people already in a relationship connect on Tokii (it’s not an online dating site) and use simple tools to help them communicate:
- LoveZones is where you can complete a quiz that helps you and your partner understand how you like to receive love. While I haven’t joined and tried it (because I’m not part of a couple), this sounds a lot like Gary Chapman’s approach in his brilliant book The Five Love Languages, and I cannot say enough about how enlightening this could be for couples! Merely understanding how you and your partner innately prefer to give and receive love could solve many communication challenges for those not feeling loved in their relationship.
- MoodMeter simply allows users to update their moods, letting their partner know how their day is going (and perhaps what challenges one may encounter when one gets home).
- Finally, the TradingPost allows couples to make a playful game of negotiating for what they want, whether those wants involve chores, activities (think getting him to take ballroom dancing lessons with you) or sexual fantasies.
I believe there could be tremendous value in Tokii for one simple reason: Sometimes it’s easier to be honest with an intermediary, even if the intermediary is technology.
Having been in a number of long-distance relationships, I can attest that it can sometimes be easier to be completely honest over the phone or via email than face-to-face. And how many stories have we all heard of people who drag a spouse to a counselor’s office only to notify them (in a safe environment, with an intermediary) that their relationship is over? I can readily see how, during those times when it seemed impossible to communicate with my husband, we might have maintained some small thread of connection if we’d already been playfully sharing our moods and expressing our desires via an online “trading post.”
I don’t know that this tool or anything else can save a relationship that’s abusive or otherwise truly doomed, but I genuinely envision Tokii as a giant leap forward in our collective relationship consciousness. There are computer programs, websites, and online and mobile applications for nearly everything these days — it’s about time our primary relationships, which most of us would say are a top priority, have an app of their own!