It might surprise you to hear that one of the questions I get more than any other is, “how can I get my husband on board with date night and connecting?” Maybe it doesn’t surprise you, because maybe that’s a question that you have. I know that it’s one I still have on a regular basis. Does the word date night make your husband groan? Do you feel like you’re the one always planning date nights? Are you the one always initiating the connecting moments in your marriage? You’re not alone!
While I can’t promise you that your husband is going to suddenly be more excited about all of your connecting rituals or planning date night every single week, the tips in this post will help! They will help your husband enjoy those things that might feel unimportant to him, but also help you to not feel so disappointed when he isn’t as thrilled with what you have planned or as eager to plan something when it’s his turn, as you would hope he would be.
Get Your Husband Excited About Date Night
Involve your husband in the planning
Each week during your marriage business meeting, take some time to discuss the plans you have or want to make for date night in the coming week. Maybe you have tickets to an event, or have been planning to go to a local festival or seasonal activity and you can talk about the details and plan dinner, dessert or anything else you need to add to your night. If you don’t have plans yet, talk about if you want to go out or stay in, who will book the babysitter, and what you want to do or who will be planning the night’s activities. Then put your date on the calendar and set any reminders you need to buy tickets, make reservations, call a babysitter, or think of what you want to do.
Give him a set date to plan date night
We’ve done a few different things when it comes to deciding who will plan date night each week. One of the biggest things we do, is trade off planning our anniversary and Valentines Day each year. This year I planned our anniversary weekend, so this coming year I’ll be in charge of planning our Valentines date and vice versa. One year we decided to trade of planning dates every other week. The year that I started my local date night blog, I really wanted to plan most of the dates, so Joe planned our date night activities one week a month. The biggest thing that I would suggest is to lay out your expectations. If you haven’t discussed who will be planning your date, you are bound to be disappointed about what doesn’t get planned.
Be excited about what he plans
After you’ve given the reins over to your husband and he has planned a date night, be excited about whatever he plans! Maybe the night isn’t as extravagant as what you would have planned or even something that you really love. Regardless, give your spouse the excitement that you would hope to get from them when you put time and thought into planning something meaningful and fun for the two of you to do together. The more positive your feedback, the more likely your spouse will be to plan more dates in the future!
I remember one date Joe took me on when we were dating, and he’d simply planned to go to Olive Garden and then the rest of the night was spontaneous. I loved it so much because we’d been watching Olive Garden commercials for weeks but we’d never been together, so he took me. It was so simple and I appreciated the thought that went into it.
Lower your expectations
The expectations that I have for myself when planning date night tend to be really high. I like to try a new restaurant or pick somewhere to eat that is well thought out based on something we’ve been craving, talking about or that I know my husband loves and hasn’t eaten in a while. The activity I plan always coordinates with a theme or is a new adventure or something similar. Consequently, my husband has expressed that he feels intimidated when it’s his turn to plan date night. He says he feels like he can pull of big, extravagant things like for our anniversary or birthday, but a simple date night is too much pressure sometimes.
Make sure your spouse knows that you don’t expect a date you might see on Bachelor or Bachelorette. And when you say that, really mean it! Accept what your spouse has to bring to the relationship and appreciate what is planned. When I say lower your expectations, I don’t mean to assume that your husband is just going to take you to your least favorite fast food place and to see a movie he knows you’d hate. Have faith in his ability to plan something great, and see the thought and meaning behind what he ends up planning.
Do something he’ll love too
Do you ever plan date nights that you know your husband might not be super thrilled about, but that he goes along with anyway? I’ve noticed recently that when I’ve been planning date nights, it’s something I’d like or something that we’d both enjoy. I don’t ever plan something that might not be as fun for me, but that my husband would be super excited about. Be selfless with your date night plans and trying to pick your spouse’s favorite restaurant or join them in on of their favorite activities. This will show them that you love them and that date night is about your relationship, not just about you. It’s a great opportunity to participate and get to know things that your spouse loves, that you might not enjoy or think you would enjoy. You’ll both look forward to date night more when you know it is going to be enjoyable for everyone and not just something that turns out to be bearable in the end.
Plan a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ date
On our most recent anniversary getaway, I made everything choose your own adventure, mostly because of the gluten free struggle when eating out. For everything we did, I let him look at two or three menus, or gave him a clue about an activity we might do. From there, he picked which sounded the best to him at the time. My husband is really indecisive so I was worried he’d still say, “I don’t know”, but to my surprise, he chose without any problem!
If you are struggling to get your husband to plan a date night, pick a few options for each part of your date and have him make the final decision for each one. For the best results, I would suggest picking two things you know your spouse would love to do and one that you haven’t tried yet but that you’ve talked about doing or you know you both would love. For example, I might give my husband three options for dinner and those would be Red Robin (great gluten free options), a steakhouse and P.F. Chang’s (they just opened a location near us). Then I might let him pick the post dinner activity by giving him the options of going on a walk, getting dessert or picking up a movie/going to see one. You can either have a set location/thing picked for each of those options or from there give them three more options (ie three movie choices, three places to get dessert). This date might take a bit more research and planning on your part, but it’s a good way to involve your spouse more without them feeling pressure to plan everything.
One thing I’ve learned that has saved my sanity when it comes to how my husband reacts to the date night ideas that I have planned to surprise him with is to pay attention to how he acts in the moment. Every time I’ve planned a date night to Top Golf, I notice the big smile that my husband can’t wipe off his face, and the way that he flirts with me a little bit more. He may not jump for joy or exclaim throughout our entire date, like I would have, but in his own little way, he shows his excitement and enthusiasm.