Not your average date night: My fun-filled ‘Forever For Real’ evening

One couple answers the question, “Of all the things you’ve spent money on as a couple, what made you the happiest?” during a game at a “Forever For Real” event in Polcenigo, Italy, February 11, 2017. The event, hosted by the base chapel and Airman and Family Readiness Center, consisted of a five-course meal and an interactive discussion about finances. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cary Smith)

One couple answers the question, “Of all the things you’ve spent money on as a couple, what made you the happiest?” during a game at a “Forever For Real” event in Polcenigo, Italy, February 11, 2017. The event, hosted by the base chapel and Airman and Family Readiness Center, consisted of a five-course meal and an interactive discussion about finances. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cary Smith)

Couples mingle and find their seats before a “Forever For Real” event in Polcenigo, Italy, Feb. 11, 2017. The event, hosted by the base chapel and Airman and Family Readiness Center, consisted of a five-course meal and an interactive discussion about finances. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cary Smith)

Couples mingle and find their seats before a “Forever For Real” event in Polcenigo, Italy, Feb. 11, 2017. The event, hosted by the base chapel and Airman and Family Readiness Center, consisted of a five-course meal and an interactive discussion about finances. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cary Smith)

A waiter serves up risotto to a couple at our table during a “Forever For Real” event in Polcenigo, Italy, Feb. 11, 2017. The event, hosted by the base chapel and Airman and Family Readiness Center, consisted of a five-course meal and an interactive discussion about finances. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cary Smith)

A waiter serves up risotto to a couple at our table during a “Forever For Real” event in Polcenigo, Italy, Feb. 11, 2017. The event, hosted by the base chapel and Airman and Family Readiness Center, consisted of a five-course meal and an interactive discussion about finances. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cary Smith)

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy --

Two years into marriage, and to be honest, daily routines were wearing down the romance.

My wife, Karen, and I go out and spend time with friends, but we rarely go on dates with just the two of us. As Valentine’s Day approached, I wanted to do something different to get us out of our slump.

Luckily, a “Forever For Real” couple’s dinner, hosted by the base chapel and the Airman and Family Readiness Center, was coming up on Feb. 11, 2017. I signed us up without really knowing what the dinner would be like.

The evening was upon us and Karen and I were busy figuring out what to wear. I was nervous about meeting other couples and hoped Karen would have a good time.

As we drove through the winding streets of Polcenigo, we pulled up to the hotel restaurant and my first thought was, “Wow, this place looks great!”

The building sat on top of a small hill covered in manicured shrubs and trees dimly lit by lampposts. The hotel’s decorative stone steps came into view as we walked up from the car. We entered the elegant hotel lounge and were directed to the sign-in table for the event.

Once signed in, Karen and I found our seats next to another couple close to our age. The restaurant hosts offered appetizers and drinks as more people arrived.

In a corner of the large room couples posed for photos with playful props in front of a decorated white piano.

Then, someone from the A&FRC announced that the event was about to begin and would consist of a five-course meal and an interactive discussion about finances.

I felt a mixed reaction throughout the crowd as some attendees seemed genuinely interested in the possible discussions while others … not so much.

I was curious to hear the different responses and stories throughout the evening, as the couple next to us had been married for only five months while another couple was married for more than 20 years.

It turned out that the February Forever For Real had the largest attendance yet–more than 90 attendees–and now I can see why.

The A&FRC staff kept attendees on their toes with a constant rotation of games, food, quizzes and prizes. Simple, yet funny financial questions had couples laughing, talking and interacting with others at their tables. As couples discussed their answers, some were even brave enough to share their thoughts with the entire crowd.

Even though some couples were timid at the start of the evening, as the food and wine were consumed the mood relaxed and everyone was eager to participate.

The highlight of the evening came when two couples were chosen to play “The Newlywed Game.” Now, if you don’t know about the game, it has couples compete against each other with a series of questions. The questions reveal how much a couple knows about each other and how they view their marriage. The couple that most accurately answers questions, wins.

One couple had been together for over a decade, while the other for they think “Two-ish” years (this drew laughter from the audience).

The questions were simple to begin with.

How much is spent on groceries per month?

What’s the most your wife has spent on a pair of shoes?

But near the end of the game, the questions were more revealing of the level of communication each couple had.

What is your top financial goal?

What’s the most you can spend without consulting the other?

The audience soaked it in. Immediate conversations sprung up as the two couples revealed their answers. Couples from the audience who had kids couldn’t believe how little the newer couple spent on groceries. People were amazed with how close their answers were to the older couple’s answers.

The game was an entertaining way to look at your spouse and ask, do we talk enough about our finances? Is there something we need to work on to make our communication better?

Karen and I were right on the money with all of our questions, as we communicate openly about our finances.

Even though the evening centered on financial discussions, it didn’t distract us from what we went there for–to get out, do something different and enjoy each other’s company.

The two of us had a great time meeting and talking with other couples, posing for photos and enjoying the restaurant’s several courses.

The evening ended with the longest-married couple cutting an enormous cake and the final prize being handed out.

To Karen and I, the A&FRC and attendees made the night a great success and I was very happy to have attended. I hope others take the opportunity in the coming months to try something different and sign up for their own Forever For Real couple’s dinner.

For more information on the next couple’s dinner, call the A&FRC at DSN 632-5407 or commercial 0434-30-5407.