The Family Wellness Ministry and the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries from the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco are pleased to the announce their much-anticipated relationship series, Eight Dates, based on the book Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by John Gottman, PhD, and Julie Schwartz Gottman, PhD. This will be held bi-monthly on Thursday evenings via Zoom, beginning on October 14 and is offered free of charge to all interested couples.

The series is separated into biweekly Zoom gatherings where the members of the Family Wellness Ministry team cover a specific relationship topic through prayer, reflection, interactive questions, video presentations, break-out groups, and closing remarks. Homework for each attending couple is to read the corresponding chapter from Eight Dates, and to plan a date night to discuss and put into practice the advice from both the session and the book.

Topics include: Trust and Commitment, Conflict, Sex and Intimacy, Work and Money, Family, Fun and Adventure, Growth and Spirituality, and Dreams, all with an Orthodox Christian context.

“Recognizing the many challenges people face in life and in their marriages, it is of the utmost importance to the Metropolis of San Francisco that we provide useful tools and resources to strengthen couples as they grow in their relationships with each other and grow closer to Christ,” stated His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco. “Whether you are newly married or have been together for decades, this is a wonderful opportunity to enhance your relationship and build a stronger bond of unity as a couple.”

“Eight Dates is a way for us to connect with couples both young and old,” says Family Wellness Ministry Assistant Director, Presvytera Pat Tsagalakis. “We look forward to continuing this wonderful marriage enrichment program to strengthen the connection between couples--including those of our beloved clergy--in parishes throughout our Metropolis and the Archdiocese.”

The Fall 2021 series will include a special new section designed specifically for clergy couples. “We realized that the clergy relationship is often ignored or dismissed in favor of focusing on helping parishioners,” says Presvytera Pat Tsagalakis. “While, of course, our parishioners remain our highest priority, we’ve created something for this session that we hope will address some of the very unique challenges many clergy couples face.”

The Family Wellness Ministry launched their inaugural sessions of Eight Dates in the fall of 2020, with over 200 couples, many who had high praise for the series, including calling it “crucial to our marriage,” “exactly what we needed as we plan our wedding,” and “the most important thing my husband and I have done for our marriage in 25 years.”

Eight Dates draws on rigorous scientific and psychological research about how we fall in love, using case studies of real-life couples whose relationships have improved after committing time to each other and following the dates. Drs. John and Julie Gottman have spent over three decades studying the habits of 3,000 couples and are bestselling authors and the founders of The Gottman Institute, which uses an extensive research-based approach to improving family relationships.

For more information and to register for this free program, please visit the Family Wellness website.