"Wow! Um, that's really neat Natalie. So, um, let me take a look at what you've put together."
I'm sure there are some guys out there who would be into that stuff. I've just never dated one. My husband is a man. He doesn't give a crap about the cute factor.
Now if I did that for a family activity, he would love it. He would see the kids get all excited and say "You're such a fun mom". But for date night? I'm not a mom. I'm his wife.
(One anniversary I did make him a "Anytime Sex Coupon" that could be redeemed twice a month. He did like that.)
Ever since I wrote my post "What I've learned in a decade of marriage", I've wanted to write something specifically about date nights. They are so so so important to do. And to do right.
So. What does a man actually want in a date night? Here's a few of the things I've learned in 12 + years of marriage.
1. He wants to eat.
There are many things that go along with this crucial element of date night.
A. He wants you to be decisive and not always pull the "I don't care. You choose." If you feel like something, tell him. If not, agree with his decision with enthusiasm.
B. Don't complain about what you order not being perfect.
Shane and I have had the unfortunate experience of several double dates with a particular woman who is ALWAYS disappointed with her restaurant meal. Something is always wrong. And she makes sure that everyone knows it, including the server. Not only that, she mopes about it the rest of dinner, so disappointed. Martyrs aren't fun for date night. (She doesn't read my blog. No worries.)
IF there is a problem with your meal, there is a date night appropriate way to handle it.
When the server checks on you, politely say with a smile, "Excuse me?"I'm so sorry, but this steak is........ could you possibly see if the chef could fix it? Thank you so much!" Then turn back to your husband with a big smile showing no harm done and continue with your conversation as if nothing has happened.
Why? Well, because when a man takes you out to dinner, HE is the provider. Even if you both bring home the paycheck, men have it ingrained they are taking you out. So compliment his efforts, even though he really has nothing to do with it.
C. When the food arrives, enjoy it, and the restaurant, openly.
"Yum! This is perfect." or "It's so nice to be treated to a nice meal." or "It's so relaxing not having to cook tonight."
"I love this restaurant! Its so comfortable/charming/rustic/romantic/homey/memorable", "This place was a great idea." Or even, this dumpy place reminds me of when we were newlyweds. I love it!"
Whatever. Compliment the experience he is providing. What if the whole experience kind of sucked? "It's ok, I'm just happy to be out alone with you", should be just the bandaid the date needs.
2. Touch him.
You are on a date. Most likely you are just so happy that there aren't kids or work around that you are breathing a sigh of adult relief. But don't forget the "lover" element of the date. Something that reminds him that roles have changed for a few hours and now its just the two of you. Reach for his hand. Look into his eyes and smile. Sit close while waiting to be seated. Steal a small kiss. Pat his leg under the table. Or whatever else you can get away with. Don't always wait for him to do it. He is detoxing from his day/week too. Gentle romantic reminders will help him shed his "work/dad" persona and enter into husband mode.
3. Don't be in a bad mood.
Well duh. It's a date! Of course you should be all happy to be going out. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you had a great day, or the kids didn't drive you crazy, or your husband was actually on time in getting home....... there are lots of reasons to be under a bit of a cloud during your date.
What to do? In the first few minutes in the date say, "today has been a really hard day. I'm going to need just a minute to get out of this funk." And then do. Even if you have to force a smile for a bit. Be happy to be together. Don't drag the night down. Date night is a mini escape from all the other stuff you've got going on. There are lot's of other times to vent.
IF there are some serious things you want to talk about, I would suggest mentioning this beforehand.
"Sweetheart, I really want to talk about ........ tonight. I need a listening ear. Do you think we could find a quiet place to do that?" Then at least he's prepared for that kind of a night.
4. Look pretty.
Sometimes dates happen fast and there isn't a lot of time to get ready. Even if this is the case, there is always time to swipe on lipstick, spray on perfume and add earrings. But if there is time, take it to wash the mommy down the shower drain and get into date night clothes. I usually choose things I know Shane likes. He likes color and he likes when I emphasize my boobs. So that's usually what I choose to wear.
If you would like him to dress a certain way, and he tends to be a little underdressed, lay out his clothes on the bed. A simple, "I thought this outfit would be perfect for tonight, and I don't want to look overdressed" should work.
5. Go ahead and plan the date.
My husband has a crazy stressful job. He is working at a level 10 stress factor 99% of the time. He doesn't have time to pee most days. (Seriously, he'll call me saying he's on his way home, but he has to pee since he's been holding it for hours.) He doesn't have a lot of time to plan a creative date. So when it's his turn, I'm happy he has "Dinner and a movie" in his queue.
But I have a little more time. So I try to look for things that would be different and actually enjoyable for the two of us to do together. I research restaurants with patios since we like to eat outside. Places with live music. Walking trails we could have a picnic. He is always so glad when I take the pressure off him.
If he does plan the date, be excited and grateful! That will lead to more dates being planned for you. An appreciated husband is a happy, willing husband.
6. Put out.
I may get in trouble for this, but let's be honest. What a husband wants after a date is some sex. Or at least something along those lines. If it's just too late, that's ok. Give him a good kiss and thank him for the night. And then ask if its ok to postpone the rest of the date until the next night when you'll be a little more awake. And then don't forget about it! Sex makes it easier for a man to feel love. It's good for your marriage. And its fun. And it will make him more happy about date nights in the future!
Those are my top tips for a great date night. I should have made a colorful printable listing them all huh?
What do you do to make your dates better?