I’m a big believer in couples date night.  It’s very easy to stop looking at your partner as a friend/lover/person when you become enmeshed in household things.  Once you’ve seen a guy floss his teeth or scrub a toilet, a little bit of the macho allure is gone, so you need something to remind you why you fell in love with someone.

Enter date night.

Our goal is three date nights a week (though technically, we love date afternoons) There is usually one meal, one activity, and one outing with at least one other couple.  The meal is our time to talk – our rule is we do not talk about our daughter or anything household related, unless it’s something fun.  This is not the night for airing of the grievances or reminding each other to change a lightbulb.  The activity gives us a shared experience and lets us help each other if needed.  Or laugh at each other- we each have strengths and weaknesses, and I’m sorry, but it’s really funny to see my Husband try to shoot at arrow at archery.  And the couples outing is just fun because it gives us a chance to socialize with other adults.

Back in April, we were scheduled to go to an off-Broadway play.  Four days before the play, my Husband said:

“Can we invite my Father to the play with us?”

I was not amused.  First off, it was supposed to be our “date”, but the one for just the two of us.  You all know I don’t do well with change.  Secondly, I wasn’t up for a family outing.  My FIL is trying under the best of circumstances: bringing him to a tight 50 seat theater in Greenwich Village to see an Agatha Christie play was just not going to work.  Thirdly, even though it’s off Broadway, the tickets are still pricey, and I’m cheap.  There were other things I’d rather spend the money on.

But

How horrible do I look if I tell my Husband that I don’t want him to include his Father for an outing.

So I thought about it.

And I told Husband that I didn’t want him to include his Father.  I was honest in a situation I felt I needed to be honest in. Husband was not pleased. An then we were both annoyed with one another.

Were we honest with one another? Yes.

Did honesty help? Not really.

This is one of those relationship situations were we both wanted different things.  Was I wrong to not want my FIL included?  Ten people will give you ten different answers to that question.  All I can go by is how I felt, and I made that clear to him.

Was he wrong to ask to include his Father in our plans?  Again, ten people will answer that question differently.  But he told me what he wanted, and that’s the cornerstone of a relationship, communication.

Did communication help us in this situation?  Did honesty help us?

Unfortunately, relationships are going to have moments like this, where the participants are playing by the “rules”, but they’re sort of playing with the parameters of the rules.  They think they are “asking”, when really, they’re “telling”.  Though the words were “Can I ask my Father”, the message behind it was really “I’m asking my Father”.  I wasn’t expected to say no, so when I said “No” I switched the rules.  Yes, I’m supposed to be honest and tell him my feelings, but I wasn’t supposed to say no there (well, in his mind anyway)

Alas, there is no rule book for how to handle situations like this.  Couples muddle through the best they can.  They hope the fights and annoyances can be forgiven and forgotten, or at least put to the back burner. But you have to be careful how you recover.  Remember, in relationships, it not so much the transgression, it’s about how you recover.  Did Husband and I recover from this incident?

Well, the day of the play was the day I began my long journey into pneumonia, so maybe there will be a post or two about how those three weeks played out…

 

 

27 thoughts on “Date Night

  1. I believe in date night too and have tried to schedule them often, though not quite three times a week! More like every three months or so (except during concert season)! Our kids are all grown now but we still enjoy our date nights.

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  2. I think one of the issues with this isn’t so much honesty and communication as it is respecting the agreed upon scenario that is your date night between the two of you. In a sense, and probably on a more subconscious level, his asking to bring his father along disrespected that agreement and said to you “I don’t value this private time together”. If he had wanted an activity like the play with his father, he should have asked if there was a way to arrange something like that with him on a night that wasn’t date night. I doubt that suggestion would have bothered you nearly as much as him asking you to include him on what should have been your alone time together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re totally right. I was annoyed at breaking the contract so to say, and resentful that he wanted to bring his father in on it. But then there’s the my father is getting older guilt, and it all gets passive aggressive and then that’s where problems start…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think as we get older, our expectations change. I am there for my husband and he is there for me. We don’t have a date night but we share small and big celebrations and good weekend get aways. Since I am a step mom, I have never lived with children full-time so we never really needed that time alone but when we owned a business getting away for a 2 day trip was very important. We trust one another and we know we are there for each other. We used to go out with other couples when we first met. That was interesting! LOL. Enjoy the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The fil did not go, and I tried to explain to my husband why I was annoyed, which he really didn’t get. That’s the hard part…that he didn’t get it…

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  4. Strangely, we had this very scenario last night (arguing, following the “rules,” not specifically attending a date night and having the FIL wanting to come). In marriage counseling, our therapist keeps insisting that he and I can work through ANY difficulty/disagreement/polar opposite feeling on a matter. Instead, we have a few big issues that are like your situation. :/

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Relationships aren’t always easy, are they? John and I have a difference of opinion on a situation that happens several times a year. We avoid talking about it, which isn’t helpful. I’m glad you wrote this, because I suspect our being truthful would end up being hurtful. I still don’t know what the best solution would be.

    Liked by 1 person

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