Date Night: An Overlooked Relationship Essential

Date Night: An Overlooked Relationship Essential

If you’re too busy for date night, you’re too busy.

John & Julie Gottman

Date night.

Does it have a priority place in your calendar? Or is it a once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence?

Leading relationship experts John Gottman, PhD, and Julie Schwartz Gottman, PhD contend that consistent date nights are key to maintaining the health of a relationship… no matter how long you’ve been together.  

And in their book, Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, they provide a framework for strengthening and deepening any relationship through a series of eight meaningful conversations.

Curious to learn more?

Read on for an overview of these 8 essential date night topics of conversation:

Date Night #1:
Lean on Me | Trust & Commitment

“As relationships progress, each person gets more real, more transparent, and therefore more vulnerable.”

From committing fully, to healing when trust has been breached, to learning to truly cherish one another, this date focuses on the question: What do trust and commitment look like in our relationship?

Date Night #2:
Agree to Disagree | Addressing Conflict

“One of the great marriage myths is that if you never fight then that means you have a “good” relationship.”

Learning to manage conflict and “fight like grownups” is well worth your time and energy. This date walks couples through the process of uncovering their own conflict styles and helping build mutual respect and acceptance of differences.

Date Night #3:
Let’s Get It On | Sex & Intimacy

“Kissing passionately for no reason at all is one universal key to a great sex life.”

Romance, sex, and physical intimacy. They’re related, but separate entities. This date helps facilitate the challenging, sometimes awkward, and rewarding conversation about this side of your relationship.

Date Night #4:
The Cost of Love | Work & Money

“Money has different symbolic meanings.”

A top contributor to relationship conflict, money is a topic many of us simply would rather avoid. This date helps couples navigate their individual and joint histories, fears, and values around work and money.

Date Night #5:
Room to Grow | Family

“Family can be defined as wherever and with whomever you feel love, belonging, and a sense of home.”

Whether you’re raising children (or plan to raise them) or not, the concept of “family” is central to your relationship. This date helps you get clear on what family means to each of you, and how you wish to cultivate a sense of home and belonging as a couple.

Date Night #6:
Play with Me | Fun & Adventure

“You don’t have to play in the same ways to be a happy couple or to keep the fun alive in your relationship.”

Believe it or not, the ability to share your enjoyment of fun activities with one another is more important than having identical ideas of “fun”. In this date, you’ll explore those interests that light you up individually, as well as the shared experiences you can create through joint adventures.

Date Night #7:
Something to Believe In | Growth & Spirituality

“Relationships can be more than just two individuals coming together. They can be stories of transformation, contribution, and meaning in the world.”

Growth and change is essential to a healthy, sustainable relationship. Whether or not you identify as religious, this date helps facilitate discussion around the meaning you’re creating within your relationship, as well as how it fits within the grander scheme of things.

Date Night #8:
A Lifetime of Love | Dreams

“Every year, they imagine and reimagine their future.”

Being firmly rooted in your relationship while maintaining a solid grasp of your dreams is a balance any member of a couple should aim to strike. This date guides couples through a conversation of personal dreams and goals, how to support these in a partner, and how to continue dreaming together, throughout the life of the relationship.


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Think you and your partner could benefit from a date night? Want to learn more skills to support your relationship?