Just in time for Valentine's Day, a Florida judge ruled on Tuesday that a man involved in a scuffle with his wife treat her to an evening at a local bowling alley and a romantic meal at Red Lobster.
Judge John Hurley ordered that Joseph Bray, 47 and his wife Sonja, 39, also visit a marriage counselor.
Hurley handed down this ruling instead of setting bond or slapping Bray with a prison sentence after he deemed domestic violence charges leveled by Bray's wife to be "very, very minor."
According to Bray's arrest affidavit, Bray and his wife got embroiled in a spat after he failed to wish her a happy birthday. Bray's wife claims that her husband shoved her against a sofa and grabbed her neck.
The judge, citing Bray's otherwise clean record and the incident's apparent lack of serious violence, did not consider Bray's behavior a major offense. However, Bray must follow the stipulations of Hurley's ruling very closely if he wants to avoid potential jail time.
"He's going to stop by somewhere and he's going to get some flowers," Hurley said at a hearing, according to Florida newspaper Sun Sentinel. "And then he's going to go home, pick up his wife, get dressed, take her to Red Lobster. And then after they have Red Lobster, they're going to go bowling."
Hurley noted that he would not typically treat a domestic violence charge in a similarly jocular or light-hearted manner.
"The court would not normally [make this ruling] if the court felt there was some violence but this is very, very minor and the court felt that that was a better resolution than the other alternatives," Hurley said.
According to Google Maps, there is a Red Lobster conveniently located in Plantation, Fla.—Bray's city of residence—adjacent to a Kohl's and nearby the Broward Mall.
Fortunately for Bray and his wife, the Plantation Red Lobster receives high marks in Google Maps' Review section.
Google user Georgia Valente writes that "of all the Red Lobsters in South Florida," the couple's dinner destination is "quite possibly the best."