Couples’ therapists always say that when you and your significant other carve out couple time, there are three topics you should never discuss: Â work, kids, and finances. Â When I first heard that rule I wondered, “what else is there?” Â Our anniversary dinner last week proves we know what to talk about on date night.
My husband and I didn’t worry about couple time or schedule date nights before we had kids. Â We never had a problem talking and connecting regularly. Â When my son was born, new motherhood threatened to swallow me up whole and that’s when we started taking couple time seriously.
Of course, it was really hard for me to want to talk about anything else but the three forbidden topics. Â The moment I wasn’t attending to my son’s immediate needs, in a place that was relatively quiet (or at least scream-free) I wanted to talk about the bigger aspects of parenting. Â What are we going to do about sleep training? Â When should we transition him to a crib? Â When should we start solids? Â I wanted to talk about the parenting theory that I didn’t have the brain power or attention span to discuss while I was actually with the baby.
Second, I wasn’t working. Â Truth be told, I wasn’t doing anything but nursing and rocking the baby and trying to keep up with the calories required of those two constant activities. Â So I was desperate to hear what was going on at his job. Â Any detail reminded me of a life that felt so far away as a new mom.
Third, everything is tied up in money. Â How long can I stay home with our son? Â Can we afford another child? Â How much money can we put into their education (verses basic needs)? Â There’s a lot of pressure on new parents around money. Â We felt it as soon as I got pregnant.
So it took us a few dates to figure it out, but if we found ourselves ruminating on one of the three off-limit topics, we’d veer ourselves back in the direction of just talking, connecting and sharing.
I happened to marry a brilliant conversationalist so, I admit, he makes this task pretty easy. He’s always reading the coolest new research on the brain, or listening to a groundbreaking podcast on leadership in crisis. Â He always comes to the table with new information.
I, on the other hand, do my work on the inside. Â The topics I am interested in involve bringing conscious goal setting or my thoughts on the laws of attraction. Â Together we meld our information and analysis into some spirited debates.
It’s not always the stuff of rocket science at our dinners. Â Sometimes we remisce about the early days of our relationship, the amazing trips we’ve taken or laugh about our young and naive thoughts about how the world, marriage and parenthood worked before we experienced our own paths.
No matter what the occasion for some time alone, we always keep the pact we made for ourselves as a couple. Â No talk about work, kids, or money. Â No problem.