{The following story is reprinted from The Heart of Marriage, a collection of stories which would make a perfect Valentine’s gift!}

It happened on a Friday night as we drove into town for dinner and a movie. While scrolling through Instagram I saw an online friend’s stunning selfie: sexy summer dress, perfect hair and makeup, fun jewelry, and strappy sandals. She’d dressed for a date night with her husband, and I knew he must feel like a lucky man. As I looked down at my mom capris and flip flops—what I was wearing on our date night—my husband didn’t seem quite so lucky.

I left a comment on my friend’s Instagram post: “You’ve outdone me. On my way out and don’t look like this,” and then showed my husband the picture.

“Maybe I need a trip to TJ Maxx,” I joked, but I wasn’t really kidding. My husband took an earlier exit than the one we needed and I thought he’d taken me seriously, but we were only stopping to gas up the car.

“Why don’t I shop while you get gas?” I proposed, hopeful. Money was tight at this point in our marriage—so I was asking for an indulgence—but my good man, clearly intrigued, dropped me at the door and drove away. I quickly grabbed a few dresses and headed for the dressing room. A striking black and white number fit like a charm, but then I looked down at my flip flops and knew I could never wear them with it.

“I found a dress, but I would need new shoes too,” I called and explained to my husband.

“Just do it, and go ahead and get new lingerie too.”

I found a chunky pair of tall black wedges unlike anything I owned. They were so out of character that I posted a picture to Instagram and Facebook captioned “Yes or no? #pleaseadvise.” My date night dress adventure began with an online prompt, so why not continue with one? I received an assortment of replies, ranging from “No, please, no!!” to “Yes! So fun!” Ultimately, the yeses won and I walked out with a new dress, heels, lingerie, and even an impulse bag of gummies at the check-out (although obviously the whole purchase was an impulse).

We pulled into a dark shopping center parking lot where I slouched down in my seat and changed clothes. (I can’t tell you how much my husband loved all of this.) When we walked into the restaurant, I noticed the self-satisfied, she’s-with-me look on my husband’s face. Whenever I stole a glance at him
at the theater, he was already looking at me. All evening I felt admired and appreciated—and maybe a little overdressed—but as special as I felt, I knew my husband felt it equally. We’re always told that men are visual. Dressing to please him seemed to show my love for him on a whole new level.

Date nights are our love language, and most of the time I still walk out the door in a pair of jeans, but on those rare occasions when I take an extra minute to dress to impress my husband—maybe in the same little black-and-white dress and chunky heels—his response is always worth the effort.

Forever My Girl in Theaters January 19th!

This post is in conjunction with the release of the new movie Forever My Girl, in theaters this Friday!

Forever My GirlSynopsis: Forever My Girl tells the story of music super-star Liam Page (Alex Roe) who left his bride, Josie (Jessica Rothe), at the altar choosing fame and fortune instead. However, Liam never got over Josie, his one true love, nor did he ever forget his Southern roots in the small community where he was born and raised. When he unexpectedly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his high school best friend, Liam is suddenly faced with the consequences of all that he left behind. Forever My Girl is an uplifting romantic film about second chances. It releases in theaters on January 19.

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