8 dates chasing brighter book club


8 dates chasing brighter book club
“Eight Dates: Essential Conversations For A Lifetime of Love” is our February Book Club pick

Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman are world-renowned researchers and clinical psychologists and have revolutionized the study of marriage. For nearly five decades they have conducted research on all facets of relationships, including parenting issues. At the Gottman Institute, they developed an approach that not only supports and repairs troubled marriages and committed relationships, but strengthens happy ones. The Gottman Institute provides live workshops and take-home training materials for couples, while The Gottman Referral Network provides therapy referrals to couples.  They have published over 200 academic journal articles and written 46 books that have sold over a million copies. Their 2018 book, “Eight Dates: Essential Conversations For A Lifetime of Love” is our February Book Club pick. 
Though it may seem like the tiny, positive things done often make the least difference in a relationship, it’s actually the small, positive things done regularly that build a lifetime of love. Just as your body needs regular check-ups and preventive care to stay healthy, your relationship needs regular care to stay strong and vital. 
Couples who are busy raising children and working hard to pay the bills often find it hard to find time to connect with each other. They may feel like they don’t have anything to talk about, or they’re just too tired to talk. It’s important for couples to prioritize date night and make time for regular conversations.  The small, simple moments you share each day are essential to a lifetime of love. 
“Eight Dates” is full of tips that will guide you and your partner to improved conversations.  We will share those tips as well as briefly describe each date. Each date chapter shares a case example of a couple, gives a rationale about the date, has activities, then outlines the actual date including the conversation topic, the recommended location of the date, how to prepare, what to bring and suggested open ended questions.  The book emphasizes that date nights are always doable, even if we have to get a little creative when it comes to getting alone time.  

The Four Skills of Intimate Conversation: 

  1. Put into words what you are feeling.  I feel ________ when ___________.
  2. Ask your partner open-ended questions.
    • What are your feelings?
    • How did this happen? 
    • What are your goals?
  3. Make exploratory statements to help open your partner’s feelings and needs.
    1. Tell me a story about your situation. 
    2. Talk to me, I am listening. 
    3. Tell me what you are most concerned about. 
  4. Express tolerance, empathy, and understanding toward your partner.
    1. You’re making total sense. 
    2. That must have been really frustrating. 
    3. I totally agree with you. 

The Art of Listening

  • Be attentive: put any distractions away
  • Be present: just listen
  • Ask questions: if you do not understand something, ask questions
  • Tune in: your only goal is to listen and try to understand
  • Witness: repeat what you are hearing
  • Avoid judgment: do not be critical and do not give advice
  • Magnify acceptance: try to understand how difficult vulnerability can be

The Dates
Each of these chapters is filled with interactive activities and prompts provide motivation to stay open, stay curious, and, most of all, stay talking to each other.  The chapters tackle topics focused on the biggest make-or-break issues every couple facts with eight fun, easy, and profoundly rewarding dates:

  1. Trust and Commitment
  2. Addressing Conflict
  3. Sex and Intimacy
  4. Work and Money
  5. Family
  6. Fun and Adventure
  7. Growth and Spirituality
  8. Dreams

The 8 Dates book by John and Julie Gottman is a great resource for couples who want to improve their relationship. In our latest podcast episode, we review the book and discuss its key takeaways. If you’re looking for some tips on how to improve your relationship, be sure to check out our latest podcast episode.

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