Diary of a Marriage: Date Night

Who knew dating your husband was so difficult?

iStockphoto courtesy of ThinkStock.com

J. and I spend lots of time together. We go out to dinner, we go to the movies, we do the things that, back before we lived together, I’d considered “dates.” Pre-marriage, J. picked me up at my place, and—even after we’d been together for a while—I’d still feel a little wave of excitement when I heard his knock, and I’d still glance in the mirror before opening the door. Even if we were running out to pick up a pizza, it still felt date-like. Now, it just feels like Friday night. Even the pizza seems different. It used to be a date-night treat. Now it’s more like greasy sustenance for the lazy.

Of course, J. still surprises me with dates on occasion. For my birthday, he took me to see the Mummies exhibition at the Franklin Institute (it was so wonderfully creepy); last year, he surprised me with a cozy dinner at Friday, Saturday, Sunday, where we ate too much and stayed nestled in our banquette for too long. We used to make a point of scheduling Date Nights a few times a month, but work and conflicting schedules foiled those plans. It’s much easier to veg out next to each other on the couch after a long week of work.

A few weeks ago, I announced that I was planning our next date. It would be a full-day affair. I’d plan the day, I’d drive, and I’d pay. Two weekends passed, and we were both too busy for my date. :ast weekend, we checked our calendars and settled on this Saturday. I was free to start planning.

My dad and I met for coffee one morning before I left for work.

“I’m planning a date for J. this weekend,” I announced.

“Oh, yeah? What are you guys doing?” he asked.

“It’s going to be a fall date. Like, a celebration of the season.”

He looked amused. I continued.

“Yes. I’m thinking a farm. Maybe apple-picking. And hot apple cider. And we’ll carve pumpkins afterwards. Maybe go on a hayride.” I imagined photos of us in cute puffy vests and jeans, like those black-and-white ones that come with picture frames. Our cheeks would be rosy and leaves would be falling in the background. It would be The Perfect Date.

Only I don’t typically wear jeans, and I hate puffy vests, and I don’t think J. likes hot apple cider. Also…

“So,” my dad asked. “Where are you actually going?”

Aha. The planning part. That part I hadn’t actually gotten around to yet. I know of a few places, of course, but I really haven’t looked into anything. Which is why, two days before, I’m slightly panicking.

Planning a date is tricky business, even when you’re married. You see one another every day, so it becomes unnecessary to carve out time to spend together. The romance fizzles. Instead of snuggling on the couch, you’re wrestling one other for more space. We’re both going to be tired on Saturday, and I’m sure we’ll rather hang around in pajamas than schlep out to a farm and carve pumpkins.

Even so, that’s what we’re doing. It will be a proper date. Maybe I’ll even make him wait downstairs while I get ready, so it feels more date-like. I’ll wow him with my planning and forethought, and we’ll promise each other to go on more real dates, where one person does the planning and the other just gets to enjoy the ride.

But first, I’ve got to nail down those pesky details. Farm suggestions welcome.

How do you and your husband or fiancé make sure you’re not just doing the same old thing over and over? Does one of you sometimes take the lead in planning something special, for no reason at all?


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