How To Date Your Wife
January 20, 2011
by Shawn Bean
© Jon Whittle
Moms, please do me a favor. Copy this blog post’s link and forward it to your husband or partner.
I see what you’re doing. You’re standing over his shoulder while he’s reading. Could you please give us just a few minutes?
Hmm. I see there are still a few of you lingering around. Look over there! Shirtless firemen offering massages!
Okay guys, now that we’re alone I must tell you this: you’ve been screwing up in the romance department. I get it: the kids have turned your love life upside down. But the reality is you’re the 75 billionth person in human history to become a parent. You didn’t exactly tie a key to a kite in a lightning storm.
This leads me to Valentine’s Day. (Yeah, I know, it’s still a few weeks away, but trust me, you need the extra time to prepare.) Many of you write off as a Hallmark holiday. It’s not a totally unfair assessment: 180 million greeting cards are exchanged on Valentine’s Day; only Christmas is a more popular greeting card occasion. But let’s be honest: Once you have a baby, Valentine’s Day gets downgraded to the realm of Cinco de Mayo.
And so the slacking begins: Fifty percent of all Valentine’s Day cards are purchased in the six days prior to the holiday. We’ve all been that procrastinating guy with the card and week-old daisies in the market checkout line, looking as sheepish as a Judge Judy defendant. But Valentine’s Day is now more important than ever. It forces you to prove what we know is true: kids and romance can and must coexist.
The key word for Valentine’s Day is special, which isn’t a synonym for expensive or complicated. The Oxford American Dictionary defines special as “better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual.” To ensure that it’s a special Valentine’s Day, or that any date night out is special, follow my three-point plan:
Make it an event. It’s the little things that upgrade mundane to marvelous. Planning a night on the town? Make an invitation and put it in the mailbox. Cooking dinner at home? Create a menu in PowerPoint (and get funky with the fonts and clip art). Movie night at home? Buy a strip of red carpet and put a “world premiere” sign on the front door.
Call it a surprise. Last year, my wife, Brandy, asked me what I had planned for her birthday. “It’s a surprise,” I said. She was immediately intrigued. But even if I didn’t have a surprise planned, I would have said the same thing. A surprise implies planning, planning implies effort, and effort is special. The best part: you can wait until the last second to buy a present or make a dinner reservation. Only you will know you’re a slacker.
Be honest with yourself. To those guys offended by the crass commercialism or societal pressures of Valentine’s Day, I say phooey. The truth is you need this holiday. Left to your own devices, there would be no cards, flowers or chocolates—perhaps ever. Admit that Valentine’s Day saves you from doing nothing.
Don’t let this opportunity pass. I know you can do it, guys, because you already have. Your charm, sensitivity and powers of persuasion are the reasons you’re reading a parenting blog in the first place.