This Is Us ' Chrissy Metz and Boyfriend Bradley Collins Join Forces for New Children's Book, Album

Chrissy Metz children's book
Chrissy Metz children's book

Chrissy Metz knew she found love as soon as she found Bradley Collins.

"I think we had both been looking for somebody who appreciated music and art as much as the other person did," recalls Metz, 42, during a recent interview with PEOPLE about her relationship with the Nashville-based songwriter. "I don't think we had found that until we found each other."

And for nearly three years, the two have found nothing short of bliss while splitting their time between Los Angeles and Nashville. "It seems very seamless to meld our two lives together," explains the actress best known for her portrayal of Kate Pearson on the award-winning NBC television show This Is Us.

This bond has become even stronger through the years via the couple's shared faith and values, and it's this faith that the couple has long leaned on throughout their individual lives.

"When [we] were starting to get to know each other, I just realized we had a lot in common," says Collins. "And through those conversations, a lot of stuff came up for both of us. Trauma and tragedy doesn't have an age limit to it, unfortunately."

"Even though I went to church, I didn't understand at that age that I could pray to God for the little things that I wanted, like his health getting better or for my grandmother and my mom to not be so stressed during that time," adds Metz, who says that it was her grandmother that instilled in her "conscious contact" with God. "But soon, I realized that I could pray for anything."

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Chrissy Metz children's book
Chrissy Metz children's book

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And it's this little reminder that serves as the backbone to Metz and Collins' new book When I Talk to God, I Talk About You. The sweet, rhyming picture book, featuring illustrations by Lisa Fields, now serves as a way for Metz and Collins to share their feelings about faith and prayer with the youngest of generations.

"The book is a general introduction to prayer and a reminder that children can pray for anything that's on their heart and minds," says Metz, who became a New York Times bestselling author courtesy of her memoir, This Is Me: Learning to Love Yourself for Who You Are Today. "And hopefully this book will remind everyone who reads it that you don't have to pray just when something bad happens. You can pray when good things happen. It also talks about gratitude, and how being thankful is just as important as praying."

Certainly, as prayer becomes more and more a part of the national conversation going on in the country right now, Metz and Collins say the timing of the book release couldn't be better. "It's definitely in the hands of a higher power," says Metz. "Having a collective consciousness of energy, which I consider a prayer, is powerful."

Nevertheless, Metz knows that she will come across her share of naysayers when it comes to the validity of prayer in one's day-to-day life. "I think that prayer does sort of have a negative connotation," says Metz. "It's unfortunate. I hope that people will see that you don't have to always pray in a church, and you don't have to be religious to have positive outlooks and energy given to other people and to yourself."

Chrissy Metz children's book
Chrissy Metz children's book

Metz used her previous experience as a preschool teacher to not only direct the creation of the book but also the accompanying album Prayed for This Day.

"At first, we wanted to write a lullaby," explains Collins. "And then one song turned into three songs, and then two days turned into four songs. And then by the fourth day, we had 10 songs, all from the book and from the messages in the book."

And while Metz's voice, along with the background vocals of her nieces and nephews on two of the songs, are heard throughout the course of the album, Collins' voice is not.

"I'm not a singer, I'm a songwriter," laughs Collins.

No matter what, it's this creative partnership that looks to create so much more in the future, including Metz's upcoming debut album.

"Bradley has been songwriting up a storm," explains Metz. "It's so interesting because you can't really plan for creativity. It really just happens. I think it's sort of inevitable because, at the end of the day, we sit and talk about what we did that day. Our relationship has always been very collaborative in that way."