Book Recommendation – ‘Eight Dates’ by John Gottman

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today I’d like to share a book with you that my husband and I finished reading through together a few weeks ago – Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by John and Julie Gottman.

I would HIGHLY recommend this book for anyone married or in a serious relationship – it doesn’t matter if you are newlyweds or have been married for a long time, you should check out this book! My husband and I have been married 11 years, and we found the book to be a great way to foster meaningful and intentional conversations about our relationship.

The book is organized into eight sections. The idea is that for each section you’ll read the chapter and answer some reflection questions on your own, then later go out on a date with your significant other to discuss your answers together. Your goal for the conversation is to listen to your partner, validate what they say, and ultimately “build respect, empathy, and a profound understanding of each other” (p. 5).

Ironically, since we read through this book in the middle of the pandemic, we did not “go out” for any of our dates. We had all of ours at home after we put our 4-year-old to bed. Even if you’re stuck at home, you can find ways to make the dates fun (cook a special meal or dessert, dress up in fancy clothes, sit outside in the backyard… be creative!)

The topics addressed in the eight sections include:

  • trust and commitment
  • conflict
  • sex
  • money
  • family
  • fun and adventure
  • spirituality
  • goals and dreams

There were so many things I loved about this book:

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Improving Relationships with Others through the Enneagram

This will be my final post about the Enneagram, rounding out a short three-part series. In my first post, I described how the Enneagram helped me understand myself better and fostered self-growth, after I figured out and accepted that I was a Type One. My second post shared how the Enneagram helped me appreciate my spouse more and navigate conflicts better in my marriage. 

This post will talk about how the Enneagram can improve your relationships with everyone else: coworkers, friends, family… anyone. 

After learning what another person’s Enneagram type is, I can begin to understand why they would think and act the way that they do (which is crucial if they think and act differently than me!) It’s easy to judge the actions of other people when they don’t line up with what we think we would do in a situation. We often assume the worst about others: they are simply being inconsiderate, they haven’t thought it through, they’re living in ignorance…

Instead of immediately judging others for doing things differently (I’m looking at you fellow Ones!) we can ask ourselves questions like:

What would motivate a person to do that or act like that?

Why is a particular issue so important to them?

What internal struggles could this person be facing at this moment that might be influencing their actions?

Motivation is a huge component of fully understanding the Enneagram. Two different types on the Enneagram could perform an identical action for very different reasons. This is why you aren’t supposed to identify another person’s type for them – only they will truly know their own motivation for doing or not doing something.

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