This blog exceprt was originally published in an article by Amy Gabriel titled “Move over Zoom and Facetime, Date Night is Back” for New Orleans Magainze, September 2022. You can read the digital article here.
The kids are happy at home with the babysitter, and you are out on the town with your significant other. How to get the most out of your one-on-one time? We sat down with Matt Morris, PhD, LPC-S, LMFT-S, relationship expert and professor of family therapy at the University of Holy Cross, for his dos and don’ts words of wisdom on the topic.
Do be prepared. Make a plan, dress up, and remind yourself that the goal is to connect. That’s it. Everything else is lagniappe.
Don’t expect perfection. A good time with good conversation is good enough. Now put away your phones and dial into each other. You deserve it.
Do laugh together. It reduces stress and builds connection. Prepare some new material. Share funny stories. And by all means laugh about the challenges of parenting, and feel free to poke fun at the kids (wink).
Don’t spend your date planning carpool, balancing the budget, or debating upcoming decisions. It’s a kid-free date, not a business meeting. It’s OK to take a break from the tough parts of life and enjoy an evening of lighter and brighter.
Do reminisce together. Remind each other of a great night, or a great vacation, or “that time when we…” Remember and talk about the good times you’ve had together. Then look at each other, smile, compliment one another, and enjoy this moment together.
Don’t bring up controversial or painful memories. Be mindful of each other’s sensitivities and buttons. Avoid the topics that lead to disconnection.
Do discuss aspirations. Ask questions like – What excites you these days? What big things are you planning to do next? What’s inspiring you? If you could plan a big trip for us anywhere together, where would you take us? If you had $1,000,000 to use to relieve suffering in the world, how would you spend it?” You fell in love with each other, in part because of your big ideas. Share those again.