It’s been awhile since we have given you a plain old situation post (a la this one, or this one). So we thought we’d break from our current methodology and focus once again on one of those real-life moments that test marriages. Like before, my comments will be normal and Paul’s will be bolded.
Any couple who has children recognizes the innate value of a date night. This phrase can mean different things to different people, but Paul and I have found such nights to contain great freedom. Not necessarily freedom from all responsibility, but the freedom to focus only on each other without any toddler-caused mishaps. It’s great : )
I particularly enjoy looking forward to these evenings. If I know that a date night awaits me at the conclusion of a long week, I begin to treat it like a beacon of light at the end of a tunnel. The closer we get to Friday or Saturday evening the happier I become. “Whoo-hoo! We’re going out! Can’t wait!”
Now imagine that Paul calls me on the afternoon of our date. During the conversation, he is not nearly as enthusiastic about the evening as I am. He sounds tired, distracted and not particularly excited. He says something like, “What’s happening tonight? What time should I be home?” As if he’s forgotten! I hang up the phone and feel as though a bucket of cold water has been dumped on me. Suddenly, I’m not nearly as eager to go out with Paul. In fact, if truth be told, I’m a little ticked off at him. “Seriously!? You’re going to act like it’s a chore to go out with me? That you probably much rather be sleeping!? Forget this!” These are the types of thoughts that run through my head as I sulkily complete the rest of my afternoon duties.
For me, date nights are a chance to just relax and talk to Liz. I want to reconnect with her. To me, she is the one person who cares about what’s happening and wants to help me deal with all that life throws at me.
But unlike Liz, I don’t spend my days in eager anticipation of our evening out. I know that it’s coming, that it will be nice, and that I want to get everything done before it arrives, but it just isn’t some type of grand motivator for me. And let’s face it, by Friday afternoon, I’m often pretty tired and worn out. Does this mean I don’t want to spend time with Liz? No. I Do! I just might not be “happy happy, joy joy” excited when the actual date night rolls around. I’m more of a “contented contented, relaxed relaxed” type of man.
Add to that, I usually forget to let Liz know that I am glad we’re going out. For me, that’s just assumed. A evening away from children, eating good food, with the woman I love? Of course I’m glad! It’s just…I’ll be glad when the time comes. Until then, I’m focused on getting my work done. Admittedly, I might have a vague sense that all is not well after hanging up the phone (after the conversation Liz described above) but I don’t think too much of it.
Has this ever happened to you? Ideally, what should happen next? How should we respond? We’ll work all that out in the next blog post : )