I double checked myself in the mirror before walking back out. Murmurs of friends, families and couples drifted through the walls. I tucked loose strands of hair behind my ears, wiped away mascara smudges, took a deep breath and set myself to walk back out with a different mindset.
Husband and I were on a date.
I had been looking forward to the date all week. It had been quite some time since we went out while someone else put the kids to bed for us. We talked about going out to eat, maybe watching a movie or seeing what events might be happening around us. Nothing solidly set other than we knew we were getting out of the house without the kids, by ourselves, as a couple.
What a precious opportunity for us to reconnect as we let the busyness of life distance us.
And there I was in the bathroom giving myself a pep talk like a teenage girl.
I had started the evening out a little sour. I don’t know what I had really expected but for some reason I expected the evening to be some kind of spectacular. I had wine, flowers and music dancing in my mind.
But when we left the house and had our run of the mill discussion about where to eat, my imagination went cold and I found myself running in that cycle where I start thinking about how my husband isn’t enough.
Immediately Husband sensed my change of mood and initiated where we should eat. A small step towards rectifying my disappointment but I was too self-absorbed to really notice at the time.
As we parked I took a deep breath and whispered to my heart, “just have some fun and focus on what is going right”. Husband grabbed my hand once we started making our way inside the restaurant. A gesture that went unnoticed until the later bathroom pep talk.
I’m learning that Satan likes to constantly peck at our hearts with little lies that grow into festering wounds. Little lies that try to ruin a date night to keep the marriage from moving forward. They seem small and trivial at times, but the trivial whisper can become an immovable mountain if we let it.
So there I was in the bathroom of the restaurant realizing that this evening was not what I had expected but was becoming a lovely date night because I let it.
I realized there are things we do, maybe without even realizing, that Satan uses to try to ruin date night. Date nights are the oil changes we keep in our marriage to keep things running smoothly. The more footholds he can get in there, the more damage he can try to slowly bring about.
Here are few things that can ruin date night with your husband. While I’m learning that this doesn’t mean these conflicts don’t need to be addressed, resolving them on a date with your husband might not be the best opportunity. In fact, if I need to address conflicts with my husband, we are better served talking about them after the kids are in bed on a typical evening at home; not on a special opportunity when we can try to reconnect in a setting out of the norm.
The list seems so obvious but if you’re like me, sometimes you need a nice swift kick in the heart to remember these simple truths.
1| Compare your marriage to others
As I was sitting in the restaurant, it was hard not to notice other couples around us and analyze their behavior. One husband had his hand on his wife’s leg as they sat at the bar. Another was sharing a plate of food. Maybe you notice a couple sitting on the same side of the booth. Before you know it, you’ve already labeled them as a better couple than you. Watch out for that. We can easily project ourselves onto strangers and before we know, we’ve let that couple we’ve never seen before in our life dictate our mood at dinner.
2| Criticize your husband about the date
I used to do this so easily (before we even had kids!)! Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m being critical but if I’m being attuned to him, I can see it on his face when I’ve made a mistake. Unfortunately, I’ve even done it on purpose thinking that would make the next date night better (but that’s another post friends!). Instead, I try to notice the nice things about the night and make it a point to share those thoughts with my husband. Things like, “Thanks for holding my hand as we walked in. That made me feel special” or “I’m glad you picked this restaurant, I love their dessert.”
3| Bring up past arguments and resentment
I can easily do this if I’m still holding on to that sour mood after the bathroom pep talk. It’s easy to do when we’re wrestling with unforgiveness. Learning that I am responsible for my emotions and reactions is a constant daily process for me. Again, another post for another time. When I get the urge to bring up a past problem I have to say to myself, “Now is not the time” because most the time it isn’t on a date night. We’ve had a few where we needed the time alone to talk through some things but we also needed the freedom to do so. Out in public usually isn’t the space for that.
What else can we add to our list? I would love to know more to add here. Let me know in the comments.