Just stop. Stop making plans around dinner. Stop talking about nothing. Stop sitting opposite each other on your phones. Stop talking about the weather. Stop talking about items on the menu. This kind of conversation is not helping your marriage.
If you get a night off from your children, or if you don’t have children and go out with your significant other, don’t make your plans “dinner”. There are a million other things you could be doing to improve your relationship. Even if you are perfectly happy with each other, dinner is a death sentence.
Why? Because no one bonds at dinner. Have you recollected in detail a conversation over dinner? No. No one ever remembers conversation at dinner unless there’s a proposal involved.
You’re not growing as a couple if all you’re doing is sitting there talking about a menu, what the kids did in school, work, the weather or some errand you need to run. This type of conversation isn’t allowing you both to connect.
So how do you connect?
You try a new activity together. You go out and learn something together. You do something challenging together. You put yourself in situations that give you something to talk about while making memories.
The first hobby my husband and I tried together was rock climbing. We went out on a guided climb with a bunch of newbies like ourselves. We came back smelling of the outdoors and covered in chalk. Who knew we needed that much chalk to climb a 70 foot slab of rock?
We ended up frequenting a climbing gym after that. We wanted to improve our outdoor climbs. Instead of just dinner, we’d spend our date nights at the climbing gym and then grabbing dinner and drinks. What was the difference? We had something to talk about at dinner, we were challenging and improving ourselves and we were growing together. It helped unite us.
Over the years, we have tried many activities together. Rock climbing, ice climbing, Cross Fit, running 5Ks, food and wine festivals, and lots and lots of hiking. Two years ago, I started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu after seeing how much fun he was having.
Enjoying the same hobby is very good for a marriage. It gives you things to talk about and work toward. As women and mothers, we tend to get consumed with our role of taking care of the house and children. We limit ourselves to activities around the house or our children’s activities and never take a step back and think about engaging in an activity for ourselves or for our marriage.
Children add complexity to a marriage. It’s easy to put them before yourselves. Your marriage requires time as well. Fully understanding that it’s difficult to find childcare, my husband and I often take a day off and do an activity together while the kids are in school. This allows us to get our alone time, engage in a challenging activity, bond and make memories. Our marriage is stronger because of it.
We also do Jiu Jitsu together. In fact, our children do it as well. This helps us bond as a family because we are often practicing at home together or talking about different techniques to improve. Our children see us sparring together during class and hear us talk about a technique and they chime in as well. Jiu Jitsu has given us a hobby to do together and has further united us.
If you’re in a rut or just tired of boring dinner dates, I strongly recommend trying a new activity together. It has worked wonders for us. We’ve grown as individuals because of our hobbies but the best effect has been on the mutual understanding we have gained as a couple. By focusing on challenges and overcoming them together, you’re strengthening your relationship, making memories and building a bond. So, ditch the dinner dates and go have some fun.