There can be a lot of suspense leading up to a date night, along with expectations. Expectations can make or break any experience, which is why it is important to lay down any expectations before your date night.
I have heard from people whom I love that do not yet have kids say things like "Whatever you do on your date night, do NOT talk about your kids." or "Try not to discuss work, kids, finances, and politics." I can count one too many times where we have tried not to talk about the kids or Nick was trying not to talk about work, and we ended up having extending moments of silence. We set this expectation of what we could not do and as a result ended up not being able to talk much about anything in fear of breaking that expectation we set. After thinking about this more, I came to realize that it is important and even OK to talk about anything and everything with your spouse on a date night. These precious, uninterrupted moments together are invaluable. The time could be mundane or spontaneous, but the fact that you are together conversing and spending time together is what's important.
From experience, Nick and I will start talking about the kids or what his newest project is and it almost always leads to a more exciting or new conversation for us. Often we'll read the same article or blog post that will lead part of our discussion for the evening. The reality is that spending time together over a meal and a drink means more to me than the content of our discussions.
One of my friends shared THIS great article from the New York Times that gave me a great idea and challenged me to step out of the box. Nick and I usually pick from a handful of the same restaurants for our date nights. We order the same meal every time because we know it will be delicious (Karl Strauss' Boneless buffalo wings, crispy brussel sprouts, and an IPA beer at the top of the list). Molly writes in her NYT article that she and her husband would send their kids off to the grandparents and would go on a new adventure once in a while. The act of doing something altogether new helped spark new conversations and make memorable adventures.
Although, I love talking about my kids (because let's face it, I don't have much else to talk about since I stay at home with them everyday, all day!), I do love the idea of trying something entirely new with my husband. For the rest of the summer we are going to make a list of things we would like to try together and visit some new restaurants to test out and see where the conversation leads. If we end up at one of our usual spots again talking about our kids or about theology, then I will continue to be thankful for simply being together and having a foundation to spur our conversations. It is better to make the time to be together than to push it to the back-burner out of inconvenience.
Do you have a hard time talking with your spouse during date nights? Do you try to avoid certain conversation topics? What is your favorite type of date night?