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8 Must-Have Conversations for Couples

Connect and fall in love all over again... by talking.
By Julie Baumgardner
February 11, 2019

How do you know if love will last? Some say you don’t, that it’s just the luck of the draw. Many believe that the more a couple has in common, the more likely they will be compatible over time. Others say, not so fast. With more than 40 years of love and relationship research under their belt, The Gottman Institute says that whether love will endure is about how couples address their differences and support one another’s needs and dreams. And it all starts with these 8 conversations for couples.

By studying thriving couple relationships, The Gottman Institute found that people connect and fall in love by talking

John and Julie Gottman and their co-authors, Doug Abrams and Rachel Carlton Abrams, MD, discovered eight crucial conversations that couples need to have. These must-have conversations can help couples know that love will last or help rekindle a “lukewarm” passion. The authors made the topics into dates for the book, Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love.

These conversation-based dates can potentially help couples increase understanding and commitment. It doesn’t matter how long they have been together.

The topics:

Trust and Commitment. 

Trust is cherishing each other and showing your partner you’re reliable. Choosing commitment means accepting your partner as he or she is, despite their flaws. I mean, we’re all flawed in some way, right?

Conflict. 

Like it or not, conflict is a part of every healthy relationship. There is a purpose behind it. And it’s a chance to take your relationship to a deeper level. 

Sex and Intimacy. 

Romantic, intimate rituals of connection keep a relationship happy and passionate. Couples who talk about sex have more sex. (Want to find out more? Read this: How to Have More Sex in Marriage.)

Work and Money. 

Money issues usually aren’t about money at all. Instead, they are about what money means to each person. Who knew? Learning what money means to each person can help take your relationship to a totally different place.

Family. 

It’s common for relationship satisfaction to decrease after you have a baby. And the more kids you have, the more that can happen. But it doesn’t have to! Couples who maintain their sexual relationship and learn how to manage conflict in a way that builds up their relationship can avoid this drop in relationship happiness. So, do what you can to keep sex healthy in your marriage.

Fun and Adventure. 

People are often so busy “adulting” that they underestimate the importance of play and adventure in their relationships. They are vital components of a successful and joyful relationship. While couples may not agree on what constitutes play and adventure, learning more about the one you love can be part of the fun. Couples who play together really do have more fun.

Growth and Spirituality. 

The only constant in a relationship is change. How each person supports the other partner is key. Relationships can be more than just two individuals coming together. They can be stories of transformation and great contribution and meaning to the world.

Dreams. 

Honoring each other’s dreams is the secret ingredient to creating love for a lifetime. When dreams are honored, everything else in the relationship gets easier.

The Gottmans say that every strong relationship results from a never-ending conversation between partners.

This book about must-have conversations will guide you through how to talk and listen to each other well.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

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