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At first, I felt nervous about having these candid conversations in such a structured, formal way, but once we shared our lists, I was more comfortable.We took turns answering trust-related questions like “How do you define trust?The Gottmans recommended having the fourth date in a location that made us “feel wealthy or rich in some way.” Luckily, it was restaurant week in New York, so we were able to book a table at an upscale restaurant and eat a three-course meal for a discounted price.For this date, we talked about more obvious money-related topics, like our spending habits and our fears regarding money.We walked around at the same park where we had our first date.Doing so made talking about a serious topic a little easier.So when a copy of “Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love,” crossed my desk, I was immediately interested.The authors, psychologists John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman, have researched relationships for over 40 years and created “Eight Dates” to help couples navigate difficult conversations with eight seemingly simple dates.
Now we live in New York City together and just celebrated our eight-year anniversary in February.
Whenever someone asks me the key to our relationship, my first instinct is to say “communication.” Whether it’s a minor disagreement, big life decision, or anything in between, talking about our thoughts openly and with as little judgment as possible has allowed Mike and me to keep our relationship strong and satisfying.
The premise of “Eight Dates” is for couples to talk about eight serious topics across eight different dates, outlined in each chapter.
They believe these topics are “crucial to a joyful relationship.” The date topics were things Mike and I had briefly discussed before: Trust and commitment; conflict and the way we fight; intimacy and sex; work and money; our relationships with our families; what fun and adventure mean to us; religion and spirituality; and our hopes and dreams.
According to the authors, the book is just as helpful for long-married couples as it is for couples who are only starting out.