late summer sunrise with purple grasses in the foreground
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New Rule: No Crying on Date Night

Peter and I have a new rule: No crying on date night.

We’ve been married for close to a quarter of a century, and we’ve been pretty religiously going out to dinner once a week for most of those many years. But it’s only recently that we’ve realized there are certain topics that just should not be addressed on date night.

It doesn’t happen often, but there are just those times where one of us triggers the other one with an old wound, or with a question that pokes at an insecurity, and we each start to get defensive in our own way, and usually that means that he clenches his jaw and flares his nostrils and I get all teary and my voice shakes. And we try to push through and end up mad at each other and despondent and with no better resolution.

What we finally realized is that these are really important conversations. But they aren’t conversations for date night. So we made a new rule. If we find ourselves on the brink of tears (or anger, defensiveness, etc.), we have permission to interrupt ourselves or each other. The deal is that we need to commit to a walk where we will continue this conversation. So we aren’t ignoring or denying the topic. We are just putting it in its proper place. 

Walks are a good place to get mad and cry and work through the ongoing issues that inevitably come up between two imperfect humans trying to make a life together. Date nights are for checking in about our weeks, bringing up ideas we’re curious about, sharing the good stuff and the hard stuff about our days, and enjoying time together. 

We’ve been together for decades, and we are still learning. No crying on date night.

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