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Eight Dates

Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

By John Gottman PhD, Julie Schwartz Gottman PhD, Doug Abrams, Rachel Carlton Abrams MD
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Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by John Gottman PhD, Julie Schwartz Gottman PhD, Doug Abrams, Rachel Carlton Abrams MD

Eight Dates (2019) helps couples navigate the ups and downs of a relationship. Whether you’ve been married for years or have just met the love of your life, the bedrock of any relationship is quality conversation. Uncover your partner’s innermost needs and desires by going out on the eight themed dates set out by the authors in this book. But don’t stop there – the wisdom from these eight recommended dates can be applied to any date you and your partner go on.

Key idea 1 of 9

Trust and commitment are the cornerstones of any successful long-term relationship.

Every relationship comes to a point where commitment begins to waver. Maybe you met an interesting person, and you begin to consider how your life might be with them instead of your partner. It’s one thing to briefly fantasize about that alternate universe. It’s another thing to do so regularly. If this is the case, you may be experiencing a lack of commitment in your current relationship.

Commitment means being there for your partner, no matter what. Instead of allowing yourself to get involved in situations that might lead to infidelity, you avoid these situations altogether, as you know they will negatively impact the trust in your relationship. And instead of seeking out others who might not have the flaws your partner does, you talk about your feelings and needs with your partner openly. That’s true commitment, and all long-lasting relationships are built on it.

The bedrock of commitment is trust. Trust is the oxygen that helps every relationship breathe. Trust isn’t something that happens overnight, but over months and years of helping a relationship grow. It’s built by being on time, keeping one’s promises and always being there for your partner when they’re in need. Conversely, trust is damaged when one does the opposite of these things or engages in deceitful behavior.

One of the most important ways to build trust in a relationship is through conversation. This leads us to the first of the eight dates, which is all about trust and commitment. Before the date, identify what trust and commitment mean to you personally. It can be helpful to think about your parents, and how trust and commitment affected your family life growing up. Also, try to come up with a few examples of how your partner has shown their commitment to you recently.

When date night arrives, it’s time to have a conversation. Take turns asking and answering questions like, “When was the last time you didn’t trust me and what could I have done differently?” Or perhaps “What can I do to prove that I am committed to you and our relationship?” And finally, “What are the differences between our definitions of trust and commitment – and how can we resolve them?”

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