We’ve all been there. You and your partner finally get a night out without the kids. There’s the initial excitement of swapping your athleisure for something fancier and of driving to a restaurant where they don’t serve chicken fingers or juice boxes. The thrill of being escorted to a table that bears no remnants of last night’s spaghetti dinner and where no one has set out crayons to entertain you. The ecstasy of everyone in the dining room using their inside voice and no one watching Paw Patrol on their iPhone.
Giddy with freedom, you order cocktails and toast to successfully getting out of the house and away from the kids…and then you spend the rest of the night talking about them.
After one of these nights, it’s easy to drive home thinking, Wow, remember when we used to be fun and interesting? When we could talk for hours about a million different things? Is our relationship doomed now that we only talk about the kids?
The good news is, no, you’re not doomed. During the years of active parenting, there’s so much to do and so little time that it’s easy to fall into “housekeeping” mode when you have a moment alone with your partner. And, you love your kids! It’s OK to talk about them. It is, however, also important to talk about things that help you and your partner stay connected beyond your roles as a parenting team.
To get the ball rolling, here are some ideas for what to talk about instead of your kids.
Laugh Together (the Appetizer)
A key ingredient of any good relationship is FUN. Being able to relax and laugh with your partner is important. If you’re looking to ease into things or keep the conversation light, here are some ideas.
1. What was the first concert you went to? The best concert?
2. What’s your favorite childhood memory? Earliest memory?
3. If you had to live in another country for a year, which one would you choose and why?
4. Which other era would you live in?
5. What’s your favorite memory of us dating?
6. Which three people would you invite to your dream dinner party?
7. What’s one thing you’re really good at?
8. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
9. What’s something you’re glad you’ll never have to do again?
10. What was your first job? Worst job? Best job?
11. If you were famous, what would you want it to be for?
12. If you could be insanely talented at one thing, what would you choose?
13. What was your bedroom like as a teenager?
14. What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?
15. What’s the biggest trouble you’ve ever been in?
Dig Deeper (the Main Course)
Even if you’ve been together for years, there’s always more to learn about each other. Sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper or peel back some layers. These topics can help jumpstart more reflective conversations.
16. What’s the best thing you learned from your parents? The worst thing?
17. What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten? The worst advice?
18. What’s something you’ve always wanted to try?
19. What’s the status of your friendships? Who do you consider to be your best friend?
20. What movie or book has had the most impact on you and why?
21. What would your current self tell your teenage self?
22. How could we improve our sex life?
23. If you had a spare $10,000 right now, what would you do with it?
24. What do you wish you’d known about money when you were younger?
25. What turns you on most?
26. What makes you feel overwhelmed?
27. Who do you most look up to?
28. Are there any parts of your life you’d do over?
29. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
30. What’s something important that you’ve changed your mind on?
31. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
32. What’s the most life-changing event you’ve ever experienced?
Dream Together (Dessert)
Relationships flourish where you have a shared vision of what a meaningful life together looks like. Here are some topics to help you dream about your future together.
33. If you had one piece of advice to live by, what would it be?
34. What’s your dream vacation?
35. Where do you want to retire?
36. Do you have any dreams or things that you want to accomplish that you’ve put on the back burner? How can we bring them to life?
37. What excites you most about our future?
38. What’s your biggest fear about the future?
39. What’s one thing you still want to accomplish?
40. Is there anyone you’d want to switch lives with?
41. What do you want your legacy to be?
This is a starter list and not every question will resonate with you. Hopefully, though, they’ll spark ideas for even more that do. Like parenting, relationships are a journey. They deserve our attention, just like we deserve to feel fun and interesting outside of our roles as mothers. So go ahead, change the conversation. You’ll be glad you did.