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Paula Friedrichsen is a writer and speaker who lives in Central California with her family. She is also the author of The Man You Always Wanted Is the One You Already Have.

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The Husband Project Day 10: Dinner's On Me

Project #18
Dinner’s On Me
Take Him Out for His Favorite Meal

Your Project:
Take him out to his favorite restaurant.

Elaine: You ever notice how happy people are when they finally get a table? They feel so special because they’ve been chosen. It's enough to make you sick!
Jerry: Boy. You are really hungry.
- "The Chinese Restaurant Episode," Seinfeld

I know why you like to eat in restaurants. Half of the struggle of cooking dinner is coming up with a plan to feed the two of you (made even more complex if you’re feeding additional, and sometimes picky, members of the family) then shopping for it, cooking it, and possibly, occasionally, not even being thanked for it. A trip to the Olive Garden would be so much easier.

But why does your husband like to go out to eat so much?

I asked a couple of friends to talk with their husbands about the appeal of eating dinner in someone else’s kitchen: Here is what they had to say:

“My husband's response was ‘a break in the routine or depending on the movie ... to romance’ (me). My thought was ‘to get out of doing the dishes!’”   ~  Sherry

“My husband said, ’Because it's relaxing, we get to focus on each other and it's a special time.’ I asked if it had anything to do with being able to get meals that he doesn’t get at home.  He said NO.  It has to do with being with me.  ‘We could go out to McDonald’s and have a good time, I don't care.’" ~  Angela

"My husband travels frequently, so he eats many meals in restaurants. Despite that, we still dine out without the kids a couple of times a month. He says the appeal for him is to escape from our crazy schedule and have some quiet time together. More often that not, we combine dinner out with a movie, so in his mind, it's a good date night event. He noted that since we also truly enjoy the art of food and savoring spectacular meals, that dining out and sharing meals and desserts (which are usually not eaten at our house outside of holidays or dinner parties) is more like an event than just a meal."     ~ Teresa

A Night on the Town – Ambush-Style

My husband loves to go out to dinner. He promises me it has nothing to do with my cooking; he just likes the whole experience of dining on the town.

Recently, I went to his favorite Mexican restaurant and got a gift card with just enough on it to cover dinner for two. When he drove into the garage that evening, I ambushed him and let him know that dinner was on me tonight. With the car still running I jumped in and we headed out on our slightly-impromptu date night. That has probably been the most successful project for me so far - he still talks about how great it was to come home and see that it was all planned out.

Restaurant Food With all the Comforts of Home

If your husband happens to be one of those guys who really doesn’t want to go out to dinner, how about bringing the restaurant experience home? Several of our favorite chain restaurants (Chili’s, Outback Steak House, Applebee’s) have online menus to order from, as well drive-up to-go windows so that you can zip in and out in the amount of time it takes to ask, “You want fries with that?”

The Budget Night In

Is your man a huge fan of Red Lobster’s Parrot Bay Coconut Shrimp or Outback Steak House’s Aussie Fries, but has gone without because you’re trying to stick to a budget?

I have found a great place to find those favorite restaurant recipes that you can re-create at home.
Go to to find all those recipes that make eating out such a treat. With a little patience (and a lot less money) you’ll be able to have your man’s favorites waiting for him as he walks through the front door. (And no credit card aftertaste to regret your choice at the end of the month.)

Still want to go out on a budget? Go to www.the and check out “20 Dates for Less Than $20” under freebies. You will find some great, low cost dates.

Getting Creative

  • If you don’t know whether your husband will be in the kind of mood that an ambush dinner requires, present him with the gift card to be used that night, or on the night of his choice.
  • Steaks on the BBQ when he gets home may be just the thing your man would love. See if you can duplicate the steak rub used at your favorite restaurant.

Project Reports

“It’s easy, I just have Chinese ready for him! He’ll love it!” - Stephanie

“We don’t seem to be able to squeeze in the ambush meal these days, so on a Thursday at noon, right before he was getting ready to go out of town, I made his favorite lunch and lit candles and placed an orchid on the table. He looked at the table, smiled with a twinkle in his eye and said: What is this for? He was totally surprised and very pleased!” - Elaine

What about you? Log on and tell us about your dinner date.

As the author of 'The Husband Project' Kathi Lipp speaks to groups across the country on how to put your marriage on Project Status.

Find out more about Kathi and the Husband Project Seminar at www.the

Print      Email to a Friend    posted on Thursday, February 12, 2009 4:25 PM

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