John and I have had a regular date night for many years. It started as a little accident. We had signed up for a class at our church on Thursday nights. After the class we wanted to discuss what we had learned but realized we wouldn't have time to sit down together again until the next class. So we decided to get a snack before going home. Once the class was over we just couldn't give it up. Here we are about 7 years later still loving date night.
The first few months we had plenty to discuss with our class. We had taken Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and had to decide how to work his ideas into our life. After the class we still talked budget and other family issues during our date night. Often other topics would come up but we broke the dating rules by talking about kids and finances quite often. Yes, there have been fights on date night. You get through.
We also talk about work. For a while every date night seemed to end with a conversation about the crazy guy John was working for, then I started working and it became the crazy lady at my office, then back to John again. There are no shortage of crazy people in our lives to contribute to date night conversations.
Since John is a talk radio fan and I get all my news from facebook, John often ends up filling me in on the details of whatever hot topic I only vaguely caught in a friend's post.
Once John started school we had a whole shift in date night conversations. Suddenly we went from talking about our children, our jobs, our lives, to more intellectual topics. He was taking a history class and so there we are discussing the finer points of war and social structures in the first few centuries. Then there was psychology discussions about human behavior. Plus conversations about books and articles he was writing papers on and the scientific understandings of chemistry, biology and the human body.
It is fun to sit and talk about our life, check our budget, dream dreams, make plans, and get frustrations about the people we work with off our chest on date night. I love those nights. But, I must admit that adding conversations about history, science and current events has actually deepened our relationship and made our date night conversations even more productive. We have gotten to know and understand each other on another level and solidified the path we are walking on together.
This summer we have been busy with the events of our life. When we have managed to get away for a few hours we have been all business. Where will we live, what do we need to do, will any money be coming in soon, what is happening with our children? Last week with Isabelle at camp and Jake working we got away for dinner alone. That day I had read an article which led to an entire evening conversation on the topic of late 20-something culture. It was refreshing to get off the topic of our life and engage each other in a fun social topic instead. I had forgotten how important it is to occasionally not talk about your own life.
I have read dozens of date night articles which suggest you should not talk about kids, work, schedules, etc while on a date night. And I often think, well then what do we talk about? And if not then, when do I get to talk about those things? Frankly that was the whole reason I wanted a date night! There is no other time to cover it. So I say, go out to dinner and discuss your life, you need it. But then linger over a cup of coffee and share something you have learned or read or heard recently.
I have come to realize that as we work to improve ourselves, read books, take classes, even reading blogs, we enrich our relationships with others as well. I can't just go about my day to day life reacting and surviving and think my marriage will take care of itself. As John and I continue to learn about ourselves and share our interests we are able to grow and strengthen our relationship during this very busy and rarely together school/career/family stage of our life.
Some day instead of getting just a few minutes together between jobs and a couple hours a week on a date night, we will spend our days sitting in the sun room reading our ipads while worship music plays in the background (this is just a for instance, it isn't like this is what my retired parents spent the day doing.) Until then I am cherishing the short spurts of time we have together and all the things there is to talk about.