My husband Adam usually plans our once-a-month date nights. But to celebrate Adam’s birthday I decided to plan the perfect evening together because I really wanted to do something special.
Driving downtown that evening I could tell Adam was upset—not a great start.
“What’s bothering you?” I asked.
“I was really looking forward to this date,” he said. “I thought it was going to be special, but while we were at home you made it seem like you haven’t done much planning and don’t really know what we’re going to do.”
My heart sank. He was right. I told him that I would plan the date, but I hadn’t entirely lived up to my promise. Between keeping up with our three little kids, completing some side work projects, and trying to make sure the house didn’t fall into complete disarray, I had not spent as much time planning as I should have.
Even when I did spend some time scouring menus online, my biggest obstacle to choosing a restaurant and post-dinner activity was that I wanted to pick the perfect thing that Adam would enjoy. I didn’t need something fancy or expensive, just something that would really tell him I was thinking of him and love him. I began putting myself under a lot of pressure to wow him and surprise him.
As our date drew near I kept debating between different options. Sometimes I thought I had a really good idea, but then I would suddenly worried that he’d already been to the restaurant before. When I asked him, it ruined the surprise, and I felt like I had to start all over again. By the time we left for our date, I was basically relying on Adam to plan the date because I doubted myself and how well I knew my husband.
As we drove, I explained everything to him. I told him I got so caught up in making it “just right” that I really didn’t make any plans at all.
He kind of snickered and with a look of disbelief said, “It doesn’t really matter what we do—I could do just about anything. As long as it’s with you, I have a good time. Besides, seeing you having a good time makes me happy.”
I smiled, but then said that for once I wanted to make sure he was the one doing something he loved. Then we both laughed.
It turns out the pub I chose didn’t take reservations. There was an almost hour-long wait when we arrived, so we went to a different place for sushi. Adam was a little under the weather, confessing later that he didn’t really feel like bar food that night anyway. So even though nothing worked out as planned, everything worked out!
There have been date nights in the past when I’ve been hard on Adam because I felt like he had dropped the ball in planning. My adventure in date planning served as a lesson on how easily that can happen, so I am now a lot more understanding.
I also realized that I had underestimated the power of just being together. It doesn’t matter what we do or where we do it because just having the opportunity to spend some time to reconnect is valuable in itself. Even when all your plans fall apart, it can still be the perfect date night because you are spending it together.