We read Eight Dates by John Gottman, PhD and Julie Schwartz Gottman, PhD

Doug Abrams and Rachel Carlton Abrams, MD.

The book promises to help you have intimate conversations that lead to love. It provides you with a program of eight conversation-based dates. The dates are promised to result in a lifetime of understanding and commitment, whether you’re newly in love or have been together for decades.

Why we chose it

The promise of the book is big and definitely sounds like something we would love to have. In addition, most online reviews of the book are very positive.

Key takeaways

After having done all the 8 dates we can say with confidence that this book – or rather it should be called a program – was great. The key takeaway from the book is to go on the 8 dates and beyond! Start having deep conversations with each other, be curious and ask questions, be introspective and open up, communicate well and listen to each other. We also learnt that having the mental preparation for these conversations and having a nice-set up are key to having great conversations on the 8 aspects.

The book also provides some troubleshooting tips in case things get heated. We never needed it on our 8 dates. Having the understanding that we are going to discuss a particular topic during a nice dinner sets the right expectations and a calmer heart. No surprise 😉

Actionable advice

1. Read the entire book to understand the flow of the eight dates and to familiarize yourself with the format, the topics, and the practical questions that will arise. You will need some time to do self-reflection before you start going for the dates.

2. Go for all of the 8 dates in consecutive weeks if possible. Some of the topics might feel more difficult to discuss than others, but follow the program consistently. We feel that consistency is critical in building and maintaining the momentum of having honest heart-to-heart conversations on these deep topics.

3. Re-read each chapter before the date to refresh your memories, set the right mindset, and select the right place / set-up for the date. It is also helpful to write down the questions for discussion on a paper so they’re easily available on the date itself.

How we liked it

We did the 8 dates in 8 consecutive weeks and found these dates to be not only more meaningful, but also very insightful. For such a compact book, it is packed with practical questions for discussion. Both of us enjoy having deep discussions on different aspects in life, but some of the topics and questions presented in this book did not cross our mind. They are thought-stimulating and provoking and helped us to understand each other better. This book is hands down the best couple book we have read so far.

Fun: 10/10 | Thought-provoking: 10/10 | Actionable: 10/10