“What do I do when my husband doesn’t see eye-to-eye with me on cultivating our marriage?”
A friend asked me this question recently, but after further discussion, I realized what she really wanted to know was, how can I get my husband to plan and prioritize date night?
She was home with young children all day and craved time away, just the two of them. He’d been romantic and creative when they were dating – homemade desserts, hikes, galas, long chats on long walks – but now he was working on a demanding post-graduate degree, and that side of him had completely disappeared. How could she get it back?
Her husband was still very devoted. He helped out around the house. He was a wonderful father. He even cooked dinner occasionally. But he didn’t plan dates and seemed oblivious to her not-so-subtle hinting that she wished he would.
The situation left her feeling frustrated and resentful. I could almost hear the toxic thoughts that had begun to ricochet around in her head:
- “If my husband really loved me, he’d understand why this is so important to me.”
- “If he really cared, he would see how desperately I need a break.”
- “Our relationship is obviously more of a priority to me than it is to him, otherwise, he’d want to nurture it, too.”
- “Planning dates is really my husband’s responsibility. It won’t mean as much if I do it.”
- “A real man would want to romance his wife after marriage as enthusiastically as he did before.”
- “If I give in and start planning our dates myself, he’ll lose all initiative and never plan another.”
Yet these were just lies Satan was whispering in her ears. The devil loves to blind us to the blessings we have by focusing our attention on something we lack. When we fall prey to his trick, minor grievances grow and fester until we are blighted by enough bitterness and discontent to destroy our relationships and make everyone around us miserable.
My advice to my friend? Stop hinting and start acting. If she were desperate for a date night with her husband, she should go ahead and plan one herself. “Tell him it’s important to you, but that you know he’s busy with school and are more than happy to make the necessary arrangements, so which day would work best for his schedule?”
I urged her to let herself enjoy the date just as thoroughly as if he had planned it instead of her: “Your carefree smile — with no undertones of resentment or disappointment — will remind your husband of the girl he pursued so creatively when you were dating. And that will be good for your marriage.”
She took the advice to heart, bartered for free babysitting with a friend, and made it a night to remember. Other dates followed. She wrote me later to tell me how grateful she was for what now seems like such a simple solution.
She and her husband have continued to enjoy their “date nights.” They both know setting aside this regular time together is important for the health of their marriage. And they’ve realized that – in the long run – it doesn’t really matter who makes the reservations.
Jennifer Flanders has been enjoying “date nights” with her husband for over 30 years, but neither of them keeps tabs on who plans them. For more marriage ideas and encouragement, visit https://lovinglifeathome.com