From Tense to Tender: Surviving Stressful Moments in Your Marriage
Hugh was ticking me off.
I didn't realize when he opened the restaurant door for me and I walked in, that he didn't want me going straight to the restaurant hostess and "taking charge" by telling the waitress there were "two of us for dinner." What's so wrong with that?
Then as we were being escorted into the "loud room" at one of our favorite restaurants, I asked if we could instead sit in a booth we had just passed, located in the quieter section. As the hostess walked us to the booth and laid the menus on the table, Hugh tossed his phone and keys onto the table and sat down with somewhat of a scowl.
Great! I thought sarcastically. We're in for a lovely evening. I asked him what I did wrong. (Not a good question to start off with, by the way.)
"Can you let me lead once in awhile?" he asked, curtly. I sat there, like I'd been hit in the face. I wasn't aware that I was offending him by taking charge of the situation as soon as we walked through the door. I looked down. I wanted to cry. I don't want to be here, I thought. I want to leave right now and walk home. My expectations for the evening weren't panning out. Neither were Hugh's.
I (Hugh) wanted the evening to be more of a date with me treating my wife to a night out. You know guys, the made-the-reservations, pull-out-her-chair, order-for-her kind of night. So she wasn't the only one disappointed. My wife was being a little too controlling for my taste. I didn't need her to have everything in hand or taken care of – that's what I wanted to be for her that night and I felt that being taken away at her every move.
For a moment, both of us were thinking "this stinks." The tension was high. I (Cindi) panicked for a minute...how do we get something so stupid to just dissolve so we can redeem the evening? I opted to be quiet for awhile. Sometimes the less I say, the better, especially when I'm feeling wounded.
Thank God Hugh was the bigger person that night. He took a few deep breaths (careful to not make them sound like exasperated sighs, of course) and asked me what looked good on the menu.
"I know," he said. "Let's both try something we've never had before. Let's make this an adventure."