10 Date Conversation Starters That Have Nothing to Do with Your Kids
- Arlene Pellicane ArlenePellicane.com
- 2019 31 Jan
You sit down with your spouse for a long overdue Friday night dinner date. You finish ordering, and then start talking about the kids as if on autopilot. Tommy’s been acting up in school. Lexi wants to start ballet lessons but who’s going to drive her? There’s a school field trip coming up to Washington DC; should one of us chaperone?
Forty-five minutes later, dessert is served and you’re still talking about the kids. Now please don’t misunderstand. Talking about your kids and assessing what is working and what isn’t is important. Parents should have many conversations about how they want to raise their kids and what skills their kids need to learn next. However, your home cannot solely revolve around the children. Before baby made three (or many more), there were two – a happy couple with hopes and dreams, and plenty to talk about that had nothing to do with children.
How would your next date go if you couldn’t say one word about your kids? Would you stare blankly at one another in awkward silence? Maybe you picture yourself fidgeting with your phone, checking for texts or emails to fill the time. You shouldn’t get stuck talking about the weather when you’re out with your favorite person. Here are a few ideas to get your mind thinking of better conversations you can have with your mate on your next date.
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Conversation Starter #1: Let's plan a mini-getaway.Slide 1 of 10
Of course you can dream and plan a big trip away from the kids – a second honeymoon. But if that seems too expensive or not doable with child care, you can always plan a mini-getaway. Make plans to spend the night at a local hotel. Just 24 hours away from your normal responsibilities with the kids will work wonders in your marriage and your personal sanity.
In the Song of Solomon 1:15, Solomon declares, “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!” The Shulamite woman replies in the next verse, “How handsome you are, my beloved! Oh, how charming!” These kind of words are seldom exchanged while dropping kids off at soccer or doing dishes.
You need to schedule time away for romance. A dinner date is a great spot to start planning. Where will you stay? What new restaurant do you want to try? Is there a popular tourist spot in your city that you’ve been wanting to visit? Who can watch the kids? Start brainstorming and put a date on the calendar for your next mini-getaway.
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Conversation Starter #2: What books are you reading now?Slide 2 of 10
Charlie “Tremendous” Jones (1927-2008) was a leader in the personal and professional growth industry. He had a simple and powerful mission: to help people improve their lives through reading. Charlie said, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”
When you’ve been married for several years, it can seem like you know everything about your spouse. There’s not much that’s new or interesting in the conversation. Books can change all that. When you read books and share what you are learning, you instantly become more interesting. So ask your spouse, “What books are you reading now?” and answer the question for yourself. If you’re not reading anything currently, what book would you like to read next? If you’re stuck and you have no clue, make your next date a library date!
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Conversation Starter #3: If you had an extra hour every day, what would you do with it?Slide 3 of 10
We can often use the excuse “I just don’t have enough time.” You know you ought to exercise, but you don’t have enough time. You’d love to learn to cook Italian, but you don’t have enough time. Well, what if you magically gained an hour every day? How would you use it? Aren’t you curious to know what your spouse would say? You can dream of what you would do with that extra hour.
May I suggest that your spouse will not say, “I would watch TV for another hour” or, “I would scroll through Instagram.” Most of us want to do something productive and recharging with our time. Perhaps that magic extra hour isn’t so elusive. By cutting out time wasted online, that extra hour might be much more attainable than you think.
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Conversation Starter #4: Are we physically fit for our age?Slide 4 of 10
It’s never too soon or too late to consider your eating habits and assessing your physical fitness. As we age with our spouse, physical health will play a central role in quality of life. Will we be able to dance at our grandchild’s wedding? Can we walk up several flights of stairs to take in that breathtaking view? Have we gained weight since last year?
I know, these can be awkward and emotionally charged subjects between a husband and wife. But it’s important to be able to have frank discussions about health. Resources to help us eat healthier and exercise abound today perhaps more than ever before. Put a positive spin on this touchy topic by encouraging one another. What’s one thing you can go together to get healthier? What’s one physical activity such as a weekly 10-minute walk that you can start as a couple?
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Conversation Starter #5: How would your high school friends describe you?Slide 5 of 10
We get used to seeing ourselves as parents. It’s fun once in a while to remember ourselves as kids. As an added bonus, it might even help us build bridges to our kids.
Ask your spouse, “What were you like in high school? Were you into sports, rock music, a nerd, a fashionista? How would your best friends describe you? What impressions did most of your classmates have of you? If social media existed then, would you have gobs of followers or just two best friends? Do you think you would have cared about social media?” Assume the role of a journalist and ask questions about the past. It’s fun to rekindle the curiosity that came so naturally to us when we were dating.
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Conversation Starter #6: Who's your favorite preacher, teacher, radio, or podcast host?Slide 6 of 10
Even if you think you already know the answer to this question, it’s illuminating to talk about the influencers in our lives. Maybe there is a podcast your spouse is listening to that you would find interesting too. That common podcast could provide material for many interesting future conversations.
My husband James and I have radio shows that we like in common. It’s neat when I share a cool idea that I heard on my commute and James says, “Yeah, I heard that too on the way home.” Share your mentors and favorite thought leaders. Technology can bring the best preaching and teaching right into your living room, car, and conversation.
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Conversation Starter #7: What is something specific I can do to make you feel more respected and loved?Slide 7 of 10
Here’s a question we don’t want to ask. It’s much easier to answer! Well, we can begin this conversation by focusing on how we can serve instead of how we can be served. It’s not natural to think this way, but it is the way of our Savior. Philippians 2:5, 7 says, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant.”
It might come as a surprise to find out that your husband or wife feels disrespected or unloved. But when you frame the question like this, it creates a safe place to communicate needs. Encourage specific, doable answers like, “I’d really love a daily kiss” or, “When you disagree with me, please wait until the children aren’t present to hash it out.”
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Conversation Starter #8: What's your biggest work challenge?Slide 8 of 10
Your spouse may be facing a lot of work stress. Maybe there’s an unreasonable boss, toxic co-worker, financial difficulties, or endless tasks. Ask your spouse what he or she is facing at work and ask how you can pray. Maybe your spouse is a stay-at-home parent. That’s a challenging environment that you can’t walk away from at the end of the day.
Be sensitive to one another, listening to each other’s burdens. On the other hand, if your spouse needs to decompress from work and doesn’t want to discuss work even more with you, feel free to move quickly to another non-work related topic!
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Conversation Starter #9: When we retire, where would you like to live?Slide 9 of 10
Some of us are closer to this conversation than others. It’s healthy to talk about what life will be like when the kids are grown and out of the house. If you’ve had conversations about the empty nest, it’s not such a shock to the system when the kids actually move out.
Where would you like to live ideally? Until what age would you like to work? What would you like retirement to look like? How can you save money now in order to make this happen? Maybe you are already retired. You can talk about your expectations of retirement compared to the realities of retirement. Are you too busy or not busy enough? We all do better when we have purpose and direction.
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Conversation Starter #10: You are channel surfing and you stop to watch a movie you've seen a dozen times. What is that movie?Slide 10 of 10
You probably know what movies your spouse likes (and the movies you like which your spouse doesn’t quite appreciate). But this is a fun question to get to know your spouse a little bit better. Once you know this favorite movie, you can memorize quotes from it and use the quotes to make a point or score laughs during discussions. You can cheer your spouse up by playing this movie at home with popcorn.
Those are just 10 conversation starters for your next date. There are hundreds more. Think of a few questions of your own before your next dinner out or remember to use a few of these. Be curious about your spouse, and find common interests in addition to parenting.
And don’t forget to put your phone away on date night. It can vibrate in your pocket to alert you of anything your child may need when you’re away. Otherwise, let it be just you and your spouse on a date… talking and dreaming once again.
Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to a Happy Husband and Parents Rising: 8 Strategies for Raising Kids Who Love God, Respect Authority, and Value What’s Right. She has been a guest on the Today Show, Focus on the Family, Family Life Today, The 700 Club and Turning Point with David Jeremiah. Arlene and her husband James live in San Diego with their three children. Visit Arlene’s website at www.ArlenePellicane.com.
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