Date Night Under the Influence of Marriage



By Brian Murray and Christine Hammond

Sitting on the couch at home on a Friday night watching television when a jewelry commercial offering a Valentine’s Day special appears.

Her.  I bet that even with this commercial he still will “forget” about Valentine’s Day.  I should know better than to expect anything from him because I just wind up getting my feelings hurt and disappointed.  Look at him, he’s not even making any signs that this ad is even on.  Boy do I love that necklace, not that he would get it for me.  Maybe I just have to buy it for myself.  “Would you like more chips dear?”

Him.  Wow here we go again, another season of having to put up with these manipulators.  “Can you believe these people, every year they play on emotional heart strings.  What a crock!”

Her.  I knew it.  He’s so complete devoid of any emotion that it just tears me apart.  It’s not really about emotional heart strings like he says; it’s really about the money.  He just doesn’t want to part with his money and that’s why he says that junk.  Look at him eating that chip with salsa dripping on his shirt, what a slob!  I can’t believe I married this.  “Oh what a nice necklace but it probably cost too much.”

Him.  How disgusting, I can’t believe how she is getting sucked in by these gravy sucking pigs.  “Look at these guys, they double the price and then tell you it’s half off.”

Her.  How the heck would he know if it’s half off, it’s not like he’s ever put one foot into a jewelry store.  He even bought our wedding rings from a friend and my engagement ring on-line.  So what does he know about the cost of jewelry.  Oh well, it’s not as if I will ever get it so I just have to let it go but it would be nice if he would actually take me out on Valentine’s Day.  “Honey, I would be happy if we could just go out for dinner on Valentine’s.”

Him.  I hate it when she does this.  She always makes it all about her.  “Gee for once why can’t we go fishing instead of waiting three hours for a table?”

Her.  Fishing, are you kidding!  The only fresh fish I want to see on Valentine’s is sushi.  I can just hear the comments now.  “So where did you go for Valentine’s?”  “We went fishing, like all the other hicks.”  No thank you, I’d rather be dead.  I bet he’s just saying that cause he knows how much I hate fishing and won’t want to go so he throws this out to get me to back down from the dinner thing.  Not playing.  “I’d rather go out and have fish served instead of catching our own.”

Him. Ha, she doesn’t know what she is missing, this whole Valentine thing is nothing more than a scam by women to force men to take them out and spend money. Okay, well, you figure out what you really want you let me know, fish or jewelry.”

 

 Where is this going? Often in a marriage there are two perspectives in a situation and coming to an understanding of the other person’s point of view can be a challenging process especially when what is thought is often not what is said.  It’s kind of like shooting at a moving target, just when you think have your aim, the target moves.  Let’s explore how each spouse could have better handled the situation before, during and after.

Before.  Instead of ambushing your spouse on the spot about something you really want to do, mention to your spouse in advance and make a plan so that it is not an impulsive idea. Continue with gentle reminders about the event, and in this case a date night. Make sure that both of you are in agreement of how the date is going to transpire. Accurate communication can reduce anxious moments such as this.  

During.  Pay attention to how your spouse reacts to your comments with non-verbal body language.  If they are stressed by your comments, agree to table the discussion for another time when tempers are not so likely to flare up.  When you know that there is a special occasion that the other spouse will likely want to participate in, be proactive and involved instead of letting one spouse make all of the decisions.  When you feel out of control or that you are being controlled by others, strong intense feelings of anxiety are likely to occur. 

After.  Special calendar events can create unnecessary stress with last minute plans and agendas. Do not wait for date night to start on the premise of a special occasion and instead integrate it as part of the marriage lifestyle. Create a plan for one night a week, two times a month or other times, for example, every first and third Friday of the month is date night. This represents communication between the married couple. It also helps to be creative and mix it up with various activities to avoid boredom or becoming a static situation doing the same thing over and over again. Be creative, make it fun and set aside some time to date your mate.

 

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