The other night, Casey and I enjoyed a long overdue date. It didn’t start out enjoyable though. I made the mistake of bringing up, again, how long it had been since our last date. Then Casey made the mistake of getting upset with me about it and striking up a disagreement right before we were supposed to walk out the door. Poor timing. Everything in me just wanted to forego our dinner plans and stay home. He went outside and told me to meet him there when I was ready. I sat on the bed contemplating what to do.
I had feared that the night wasn’t going to go well. It never does when we’ve been disconnected for a while and then try to connect on a date night. It feels forced, not genuine and usually, the reason behind our disconnection rises to the surface. Not pretty. I felt that my premonition was coming true before we ever left the house. All I wanted to do was lie back into the bed I was sitting on and sleep. I was exhausted and not in the mood to pretend to like my husband or waste $40 on a meal just to fight the whole time.
I began typing a text to him saying I wasn’t going to dinner with him, but I stopped for a minute to think before sending it. At this point we have two options.
1) Choose to stay home and stay disconnected…
2) or continue with our plans and pray that things resolve and don’t get worse.
Although I wish I could say I chose the latter because I wanted things to turn around for us, it was really superficial motivations. I figured I already had makeup on, and I was really quite hungry so… I might as well go. I got up and headed to the closet to throw on my black dress and heels, taking my time, giving myself a mental pep talk as I went. A few minutes later, Casey came storming inside, assuming I hadn’t moved from my spot on the bed. Who knows, maybe he was coming in to say he didn’t want to go anymore. Whatever his intentions, he saw me in that black dress, getting ready for our date and things changed. He commented on how good I looked then waited for me on the couch. When we headed towards the door he hugged me and said he was sorry he hadn’t been making date night a priority. I wasn’t ready to repair so I headed to the car, silent. I was being obedient, taking steps toward him, but my heart was still hurting.
We began to discuss the situation on our way to dinner. Usually not a good move, but this time it was, at least in the end. He began to ask me why I keep bringing up our lack of quality time, and I was able to express how him not scheduling dates with me made me feel like I’m not a priority and that he doesn’t care if we have quality time together or not. That’s what it communicates to me. he said something about not having enough time because September has been such a crazy month. Apparently he hasn’t been reading my blog. We have to steal time for things that are a priority for us.
We schedule date nights and make room for other things, not the other way around.
I felt like he was understanding my heart, but then things went down hill. He began telling me how he has been helping around the house. Have I noticed? Apparently my verbal appreciation was not enough. He wanted physical affection and emotional connection in return for his service to me. Last time I checked, we have to spend time together for that to be possible. I was angry. But the real issue for me here is not that he’s hurt, that’s valid and should be addressed. However, it seems like whenever I am hurt about something and we begin to talk about it, the conversation almost always turns toward him. He tells me what I’ve done wrong. How he has been hurt. Why he hasn’t been emotionally connected. Whenever this happens, it feels so selfish. It feels like he sees my hurt and just looks to himself, not to me, and says “yeah, but what about me?” Almost like him being hurt means I can’t be or there’s no need to repair because 2 hurts make a healing.
The more we talked about it, it became clear that Casey waits until I start conflict to share his hurt. Although he’s come a long way, he still kinda fears conflict, which is pretty normal. That fear can keep him from bringing up hurts or anger to avoid conflict. Then once my loud mouth pulls us into conflict, which he can count on like clock work, we’re already there so he might as well bring up all my wrongs he’s been avoiding.
Transparency and understanding can have such healing powers, even if it doesn’t mean we’ve necessarily “fixed” things. We began discussing future date nights and putting them on the calendar, together. We were finally moving towards each other and just in time because dinner was right around the corner. We walked in holding hands, (we weren’t even faking it!), grabbed a small table in the corner on the upper patio, and enjoyed a delicious meal and even better conversation.
It’s times like this that I’m thankful for the power of the Holy Spirit because it was that small decision to step towards him instead of away from him, when everything in me wanted to call it a night, that helped bring us to that point of reconnection, and Lord knows that move wasn’t my idea.