It’s Love Week at waking….Well…my kind of love talk anyway…

I had lunch with a friend last week (the NYC women shoppers special- a side salad and a frozen yogurt at Bloomingdales) Not surprisingly, our conversation centered around our college age children and our husbands.

I began talking about my prior evening. My husband and I grabbed a quick dinner and went to see “A Soldier’s Play” on Broadway (worth it if you are in NYC during its run)

My friend bemoaned that her and her hubby never seem to go on dates.

I told her that I just plan them and tell my Husband that we’re having date nights. (when my daughter was younger we did a lot of ‘in house’ dates, but as she got older, our date times increased exponentially)

She responded:

“Why should I need to plan him and tell him? Shouldn’t he just WANT to take me out?”

So- here is today’s conundrum: What are the rules of engagement for long married couples?

If both halves of the whole are in unison, it’s great. You either stay in a lot, or go out a lot. That’s easy.

But what about couples where the two sides have slightly different opinions?

My friend M wants it to revert back to before they had kids (their kids are currently both at college). She wants the flowers and the dinners and the plans. She wants jewelry  as gift, not a laptop case. She wants him to make plans and take her out. She doesn’t want to hear that he doesn’t want to start watching a movie at home after 7pm because it ruins his sleep schedule.

Is that fair of her to want this?

Is it reasonable of him to not want it?

What’s the compromise?

Now let’s switch to me. I plan the vast majority of our dates. (of course, my husband has planned our date this coming Wednesday night date, so there’s some give…) Should I expect him to plan more than one date a month when I probably plan eighteen? My planning the dates appears to be working for us, but does his not planning things signify more than just me being a control freak planner?

Then there’s the couple thing: I am fine with doing a couples or group outing once a week- but I don’t want everyone of our outings to involve others. That’s just me- my husband is life of the party, I’m the person looking at her fitbit watching the minutes tick by and occasionally running in place to bring up my step count… Is there something more to my husband always wanting others around? Yesterday he asked if I wanted to do a mini break in March or April. I said sure. He said “Should we invite anyone else?” My cross eyed look was enough to signal that he better not invite anyone else…

So here are our points to consider:

  1. should one partner plan the majority of dates
  2. What do you do if one partner wants to go out more than another
  3. do women want their partner to do the planning
  4. do long term couples need to ‘date’ one another
  5. how important is it for couples to spend fun time together


68 thoughts on “The Date

  1. Date Night…hmmm I am not sure that Date Night exists in Europe. We don’t make Date Night plans if we are up to going out we get dressed and we are out the door. 🙂 Simple 🙂 Going out with friends is something that we both enjoy. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s a magazine term really…every article about how to make a relationship last includes talk of date nights (apparently also a favorite of couples counselors as well) date night has become a part of our cultural lexicon

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It definitely is American…My parents had Date Nights believe it or not so many years ago…They would go see a Broadway Show, dinner etc…many years ago…But not in Europe…this is more of are we in the mood to go Yes or No hahahhahah

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, I’m impressed that you get to go on regular dates. I don’t think it really matters who organises them and I guess it’s more likely to be the woman. I do think spending quality time together is important no matter how long you have been married. My husband spends most of the week away with work so staying in a hotel holds no charm for him as he does it all the time and insists that it is no fun when you are alone so if I suggest staying away somewhere he is never keen, unless it is abroad on holiday! For me, however, staying in a hotel is a novelty and something I love doing so I do that with my sister or friends. Same with the cinema. Hubby hates going to the cinema, I love it, so I do that with other people. We do go out regularly to our favourite restaurant and on shopping trips and him being away so much means that we don’t take each other for granted too much. x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve made a conscious effort to spend quality time together. When we’re home it’s very easy to get distracted and do our own thing, so this way we focus on one another

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I follow a FB group full of millennials discussing the workload in relationships. Primarily how the woman gets the brunt of planning. It is interesting to see this generation struggling to break the cycle.

    While married, I was the social director, however, my now-Ex reserved the right to criticize any plans. I didn’t want to always be the social director, but that’s how our relationship was structured. It was a very thankless job.

    With my BF, when we were living together, that role was up for grabs. The problem laid in the fact we didn’t necessarily enjoy the same activities all the time (I love art festivals, live music- he doesn’t).

    There needs to be a discussion within the relationship to determine everyone’s comfort level of who & when they wear the social director hat.
    I don’t think it’s fair for it to be firmly glued to one person’s head for several reasons. 1) That social director can get worn out and 2) naturally the social director may emphasize their preferred activities over others.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I like artsy things…hubby does not. I just attach good food to my outings. We saw animated shorts over the weekend…I made lunch reservations at a really good bistro. All happy.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I refuse to put my sour and negative spin on what date nights might have been and the trouble they would cause based on my past experience.
    IF I was married now I would enjoy some fun nights away from the house, but I’m not sure I like the term “date night”. It may put excess pressure or expectations on both parties.
    I would appreciate my partner doing the planning, not just me. And I hope we would both be willing to try different experiences.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Haha!
        Well, how about when one partners only idea of a night out is simply his routine of a few beers at the brew pub, staring off towards the walls without even a hint of conversation?
        Or how about the clearly disdainful looks when it’s suggested that a play, or musical theater or a hike and picnic might be nice?
        When there is an inability to have any capacity to see the other side, from either partners POV and then feel nothing but torture and dislike for the activity you are supposed to be enjoying, why bother?
        Of course, all this is occurring because the partners are clearly complete opposites so there’s that disadvantage as well… 😉

        Liked by 3 people

      2. But these are all solid points! I know a couple where the guy is all about nature and outdoors, and the woman is all about indoors and culture, and yeah…never the Twain shall meet…but I wonder what the courtship was like?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh geez, can of worms LA!
        I will share this exact comment from my ex in reference to the things gladly done during courtship, and then the reality:
        “We’re married now, I don’t have to do any of that anymore.”
        I should have left then… 😦


  5. Not one to go on date nights, now that we’re married. We do things together, but spontaneously without much planning. That’s the joy of marriage, imho. If one of us dreams up something, the other one joins in ‘cuz why not? We’re friends after all.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. First off, your friends needs to talk this over with her partner not expect him to know what she now wants regarding dates and gifts.
    Here’s my answers to your questions. 1) Depends who is better and who enjoys doing it, it’s not a task for everyone. 2)Talk it over and compromise. 3) Depends how good he is at it. 😊 4 & 5) are combined. Yes, they need to spend time together having fun which can be called a date.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m retired, but my husband has an incredibly stressful job. He travels a great deal, and mostly he just wants to chill at home. So, when I want a date night I suggest a place and he gets to pick a day/time. Like for our upcoming Valentines Day. I suggested one of our favorite restaurants, but I said that we don’t have to go on Friday—he’s at his tiredest on Fridays—and we planned to go on Saturday. But he came home from golf yesterday and said he’d made reservations for Friday night at the golf club. On the one hand, I was pleased because it’ll be a special setting on a special night, but I was really looking forward to eating at the other place. See, I like picking the place.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I told my husband when we first got married that it was important to have date nights when the kids were growing up because I felt that we needed to remember why we got together in the first place. Now we have date nights which are mostly concerts or going out to dinner. Every once in a while I will suggest something like the Scavenger Hunt that we did. He rarely plans things unless it is telling me about a concert he’d like to see. We rent movies or watch Netflix but don’t really call those date nights. I think your friend should have a chat with her husband and let him know she’d like him to plan things once in a while if it really means that much to her.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. We go out to dinner once a week when he picks me up from work. We both chose different places. We get to know different areas of our city. I am so tired sometimes we just pick up and go home but it is nice. Planning things to do will come later during Spring break and the 3 day weekends. When we both retire…..

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed we do, all of us. All adults have their own concerns and sometimes the simple things such as being there for another and helping out is the most important. Of course, going out to dinner is nice, also.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I have ended up with more questions than answers now. Of course, if it works, go for it, but shouldn’t you want to spend time with your partner? Sorry, I’m spit balling…I mean maybe the secret to a long term relationship is not spending time together? Tune in tomorrow when my thoughts are hopefully more cohesive…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think there is that happy medium we always speak of. Time away is good too, because it allows for our independence to still matter. But coming together, that’s the best part of time apart.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. My husband and I have a lot of casual date time. We don’t celebrate things like Valentine’s day. Instead we take time whenever we find it to make each other feel special. Often times, he suggests we do something and then I start making plans and handle the details. He says he appreciates that. He doesn’t want to have to do all the planning all the time. As for what to do if one of us were not feeling satisfied with our current date night activities, you’ve got to speak up. You can’t expect the other person to know what you want unless you’ve told them. If you want Chinese food, tell them! Don’t say “wherever is fine” as so many women do. If you want flowers and jewelry, tell them. If you’ve had the conversation and they don’t respect your feelings, that’s a different situation but so many times, we’re just stuck in a routine now even realizing that our partner is not completely satisfied with the relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You circled around so much of what I was thinking. In my mind, I think you should want to do things with your partner, come up with a plan, communicate your feelings with one another

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s been so long since my husband and I went on a date that my daughter asked who I was going on a date with after I told her we were going out. Sad!

    I plan all the dates. He doesn’t really care what we do. He always wants to be social more than I do. He practically has to talk to everyone before he leaves (except me). Unless I know people well I’m kind of a wallflower. I used to feel ditched, but my husband has gotten better at checking in with me every so often after I told him it bothered me. I guess it somehow all works out. I think after many years of marriage we figured out what works best for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Since I have been married almost 39 years(April) I can say out “dates” are usually spur of the moment with the exception of big nights, birthdays or anniversaries. We plan those together. I am more into more practical gifts, though I would never turn up my nose at flowers. If your partner plans something and you don’t like it but go anyway, don’t be surprised if they plan something like it again. To me it doesn’t matter who does the planning if both parties enjoy themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Interesting that you should write about this. My friend is married to a non-planner, and they don’t go out that much because she refuses to do the planning. It’s silly if you ask me. As long as someone is willing to accompany you, you shouldn’t mind being the idea person. By the way, my friend recently blew her husband off on a Saturday to do things with friends. I told her that I try to reserve my weekends for my spouse. It’s often the only time we can do things together. Of course, there are exceptions, but I strive to keep weekends open.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I felt my friend was being a little stubborn. But then I thought, am I an idiot for doing the majority of the planning? It’s funny…I don’t make weekend plans (at night) with friends, but my husband has no problem doing it. Days are open though

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I think doing fun stuff and date nights (or whatever you want to call them) are a must. Especially after you have kids when it’s not so easy to be spontaneous. It doesn’t really matter who plans them as long as you’re both happy with the arrangement and if one of you wants to go out more than the other compromise is key. I’ve learned all this the hard way. We didn’t bother with date nights and our marriage suffered. It’s a lot harder to mend things than maintain what’s good as you know. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s my thought to date nights…it’s trying to maintain what you have…but there were some though provoking comments, so I’m going to spin this a little tomorrow

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Our date nights are irregular but we pretty much share the planning. Usually one of us sees something interesting — play, movie, talk, whatever — and says. “Hey, do you wanna do this?” Whoever finds the event plans it. Even though we too live in NYC we don’t eat out as much as we’d like to; we’ve gotten a bit stuck on that front. Maybe just because its winter??? What I really want to do more of is DINNER/BRUNCH PARTIES!! (I love to cook).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My husband is a foodie, so we eat out a decent amount. Last weekend I wanted to see the animated shorts at ifc so I booked lunch at minetta tavern….win win…


  16. I think a lot of replies have hit on the key thing: communication and compromise. It doesn’t matter who is the planner, as long as the planner isn’t a dictator. The other person’s tastes need to be considered.

    I usually cook dinner every night, but if I say “let’s go out to eat a late lunch or dinner” he always agrees. Plays, movies, concerts, etc. are always my plan. He invites me to things with friends. We trade off vacation planning, with discussions, of course. We have very different styles of planning (he is uber researcher and I look for a few top rated ideas) so it works best this way.

    Our most recent date: dog sledding!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I think each couple just needs to talk it out and come together so that both are happy with the situation. Sometimes a spouse’s wants and/or needs may be ridiculous but their spouse already knows this and probably finds it charming half the time which is why they’re together. You just take a little time and talk it out and come to the center and hopefully, are pretty happy with the situation in the end. Great question and awesome post!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Excellent post, Ann!

    should one partner plan the majority of dates
    At my house, hubby plans most of the outings. He’s the extravert.

    What do you do if one partner wants to go out more than another
    I usually give into going out because I know it will be good for me. When I definitely don’t want to budge, he usually brings a meal home.

    do women want their partner to do the planning
    Sometimes I want to decide where we go and that’s okay with hubby.

    do long term couples need to ‘date’ one another
    I believe doing fun things outside the home enriches our relationship. We’ll be married 30 years this next November.

    how important is it for couples to spend fun time together
    I think most couples need it but there are some who seem to do just fine without the time out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’ve obviously been overthinking this topic, as I usually do….I’ve come to the conclusion that you need to have exclusive partner time…but I’m still thinking…😉

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m so late in getting to comments this week! As with everything, it really depends on the couple. It has to be what works for them and making sure the needs of both people are being met. A lot of times means you need to compromise, but the key is to communicate those needs because the other person may not actually know you are feeling that way.

    My Hubby was always very romantic and did all kinds of fun, surprise types of things when we were dating and newly married. Yes, things changed as the kids came and got older. Now that we are about at that point where the kids are off, I’d like to see more of some of that, but that isn’t always practical right now. I’m aware of this and I’m okay with it because I know that it won’t always be like that. At the same time, I also know that some of what was fine when we were younger, just isn’t as okay now. I joke and tell him he is such an old fart because he doesn’t want to have to wait to be seated at a restaurant. Sometimes, I’ll need to compromise and go early. Sometimes he just needs to suck it up and go when we might have to wait a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I tend to find that most dissatisfaction happens when those involved won’t just open their mouths and say what they want and need. Not always, but there is this weird thing people tend to do when they expect the people around them to just know what they are thinking and feeling and then getting upset because the other person isn’t a mind reader.

        Liked by 1 person

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