We all know that after marriage and children, it becomes ever so important to schedule mommy/daddy (or in our case mommy/mommy) date nights. These dates are important for so many reasons – they keep our relationship alive.
You, Me, We
With that, my wife and I have a special tradition beyond date nights – we call it our 6-month check-in. In September we will be celebrating our 12th anniversary and our 24th check-in.
It is one of the many ways we live with intent. While our check-in may look much like a date night, meaning we get a babysitter, go out for dinner and order lavishly off the menu, these talks are much different. These talks are more like a solemn ritual that we are both invested in and they are sincere and heartfelt.
We talk honestly, courageously and listen deeply and we make every attempt to try to withhold judgment. We aren’t afraid of hard conversations and sometimes there are tears at our romantic table, but most times they are cleansing tears.
What makes these talks different is that they are founded in the paradigm of you, me and we.
You – asking how you feel, is an invitation from me that gives you the chance to reflect on how the question or topic is impacting you independent of me.
Me — asking me how I feel, is also an invitation that gives me the chance to personally reflect on how the question or topic is impacting me independent of you.
We – getting to the we gives us a chance to compare notes and weigh the conversation as a team, which can often look different than the above-mentioned.
Rules of engagement (not the ring)
Here are the things we try to keep in the forefront when having our 6-month check-in dinner dates:
- It is all about us – we make sure we pick a night that we don’t have to rush home to relieve the babysitter or that we have any early morning obligations.
- We take our time – we don’t rush dinner, or the conversation. We make time for each of us to share in the conversation and we listen deeply.
- We are in the moment – there is nothing more pleasurable and rewarding than being in the moment in the conversation with the most important person in your life.
- We validate each other – we make sure that we validate each other as individuals, but also as a couple. For us, often times we forget to remind ourselves of the great job we are doing as first time parents.
- We are courageous – it is not easy, no matter how long you have been together, to discuss hard topics that can be emotionally impactful. Our rules for this is to listen deeply, don’t judge and refrain from making the other person wrong.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
– Lao Tzu
Ronnie Tyler writes about the 10 conversations every couple should have:
- Talk about being happy – So easy to do and as individuals we don’t do it often enough.
- Talk about what is bothering you – I’ve learned the sooner you do this the simpler the conversation becomes.
- Talk about your dreams – Start dreaming! Have a dream date! You’d be surprised how fun it can become and it doesn’t cost a thing!
- Talk about your day – We model this in front of our son at the dinner table.
- Talk about being wrong – This is a hard one for me, but I keep trying. Lesson learned, the sooner you do it the easier it becomes.
- Talk about the kids – We talk about our son to others, especially when he is within earshot. It has been amazing to see how it builds his confidence.
- Talk about your finances – Check out Bari Tessler and her Art of Money Course. We are taking it as a couple and it has been an amazing experience.
- Talk about your next date – We take turns organizing date nights.
- Talk about your goals – We do this when we have our money dates. So fun!
Do you have a communication ritual with your spouse or significant other that you would like to share? We’d love to hear from you.