"Where do you want to go for dinner?"

Woo Hoo!!! It's date night.

The kids are hanging out with grandma, who happens to be way cooler than we are.

The night is all ours to do with it as we please.  Dinner and a movie are on tap. We take some cheesy pictures before heading out. We are both eager for some time to reconnect and talk. I love hanging out with my husband and I love knowing he feels the same.

My husband looks super hot as we head out for the evening. With a cute grin on his face, he races ahead of me to open the car door. We are going to have a great night....

That is until--- he asks the dreaded question. The question that can quickly turn a good night into a bad one in two seconds flat. Rubbing my arm and smiling he asks, "Where do you want to go to eat?"

Don't even pretend like you don't know how I'm about to answer this question.  I sweetly reply, "I don't know. Where do you want to go?"

Now lets be honest. I am not asking a real question. "Where do you want to go?" is more of an opportunity. It's an opportunity for my husband to pull out his psychic hat and show me his crazy powers of mind reading. I phrase the question nicely but what I'm really saying is, "You better get this right. If you know what's good for you you'll pick the exact place 'I' want to go."

Now this isn't my husbands first rodeo. He has danced this dance and knows all of the right moves.  I like to tell myself that I'm not difficult and I really 'don't care' where we go but we all know that would be a total lie. So for the next half hour we drive around, parking in random parking lots as my husband tries to gingerly undo this time bomb I just ignited.

He softly says, "Babe, I really don't care where we go, I just want to spend time with you. I want you to be happy."

"Oh really! Now it's all about me." KABOOM!!!!!!

The bomb has gone off. With shrapnel still flying through the air, my husband (in a not so nice tone) replies,"Oh my goodness! I really don't care where we go and eat but you obviously do, so just pick a place."

I have two options here...

I can pick the shrapnel out of his wounds or I can leave him there to bleed out. So I take the high road (ya right) and say (in a very snarky voice), "Fine lets just go to Olive Garden."

"Fine, lets go!" he replies.

Oh lovely. Dinner is going to be a blast, right? Don't sit there reading and pretend this has never happened to you. You get in an argument before you even arrive at your destination and now you have to walk in, smile at the hostess and pretend like you weren't a complete nightmare in the car.

After wasting the first half hour of dinner starring at the menu, twirling my water glass and avoiding eye contact, one of us decides to take the plunge. At this point we both feel really dumb. We both overreacted, when all we both wanted was to hang out and have a little 'us' time. We both say sorry and begin to enjoy our dinner together.

Now if only I could rewind the entire evening and start again. The truth is this isn't the first time we have been down the "Where do you want to go to eat" road.

I have heard numerous friends of mine tell similar stories about 'date night' but somehow we still long to connect, be alone and spend quality time together.

Relationships are complicated. They take a whole lot of work and a whole lot more "I'm sorries" than one ever thought possible.

We learn how to manipulate, manage and maintain a certain level of 'normalcy' within that relationship.

But if I'm being completely honest I never want my marriage to be defined by manipulation, management or maintaining normalcy.

I want to learn to navigate sticky, messy, really difficult situations better and better as the years go on. Instead of manipulating my way through the years, I want grow and change. I don't want to manage my home, my life or my marriage in a way that leaves my spouse walking on egg shells and eventually drowns out their voice. Nor do I want to ever 'maintain' my marriage so that both of us know 'what not to say' in order to keep the peace.

There is so much more that God has for us.

Marriage is an incredible gift. It's a gift that many unwrap, play with for a while, cherish while it's working perfectly but once it starts acting up a fateful decision is made. Every person that accepted this gift is faced with the decision of whether to keep it or throw it away. One must determine if the gift still has enough value to hold onto. Will the gift be discarded, put on a shelf (keeping it but no longer using the gift as it was intended) or figuring out what's broken and fixing it?

My point in all of this is to say, the gift is worth fixing. Whether the fix requires a complete overhaul or something as simple as a new battery... you get to decide.

You see the giver of the gift won't force you to keep what He has given you but if you decide it's worth holding onto-- He will honor that decision and pay the entire bill for any repairs needed.

He will help you see what areas need retooling and what areas need total humility and honesty.
He will give you the strength to stand up under the scariest of situations or the ones as petty as picking where you will eat dinner. You will get to decide. Ask Him for help. Don't give up, don't give in and don't buy into the lie that it will be easier to......(fill in your own solution).

We all need Gods help in EVERY area and in EVERY aspect of our marriage. You may have to be honest with your own manipulation and attitude. Your words can't be undone but they can be forgiven. Say you're sorry.

Pray this in the midst of your little messes and even the huge explosions.

"Father, show me how to love my spouse in this moment. Soften my heart and open my eyes. Give me courage to say 'I'm sorry' and help me to forgive _______ (insert spouses name) in the same way you've forgiven me. I need you Lord! Intervene on our behalf. --Amen"

He is for you!! He is for your marriage. He is able and willing...


Be silly and goofy together. Laughter is healing and it adds life and energy to your hectic day. 

1 comment:

  1. oh I love you and I crack up with the don't act like it's never happened to you before, oh yes huge fight before church, gotta love those!! Love the prayer at the end!!