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Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Better Date Night

Eight ways to improve on the old standby—dinner and a movie.

by Ron R. Lee


Marriage experts recommend a regular date night to maintain a healthy, growing marriage. The old standbys—"dinner and a movie" or "pizza and a video"—are great as long as the movie doesn't leave you feeling like you need a shower. That's why it helps to think about what types of movies do the most for your marriage.


1. Use common sense.

Would you let your kids watch the movie you're considering? Even if the answer is "no," it still might be appropriate for you. But in those instances, make sure you have compelling, and specific, reasons why. Likewise, don't assume that because a movie doesn't carry an R rating that it will be harmless. Some of the most destructive messages are disguised as innocent entertainment. Instead of going solely by ratings, consider the overall message of the movie.


2. Know yourself and your spouse.

How visually impressionable are you? Let's say you like to watch "buddy films" like the Lethal Weapon series or thrillers like The Sixth Sense. Can you easily rid your mind of scenes depicting violence or other disturbing events?


3. Be honest.

You know what images and story lines cause you the most problems, so be up front about those things. If you watched an otherwise harmless historical film with women wearing tight bodices, would it causeth you to lusteth? If so, fleeeth.


4. Don't get your motor runnin'.

It's true that certain types of movies can lead to amorous activity with your mate. But it's awfully hard to watch a depiction of sexual intercourse on screen and keep it from sticking in your mind. Since sex is meant to be a private, exclusive relationship, don't introduce anything that will take the focus off your spouse.


5. Consider the outcome.

Does the movie make you more appreciative of your partner and of your marriage? Does it make you more optimistic about your shared future and more thankful for what you have together? If not, it's not helping your marriage.


6. Examine the message.

Does the movie align with your world-view? Does it ridicule beliefs or customs that you hold in high esteem? Do the actors take God's name in vain, make all men out to be idiots, characterize all women as dithering, nagging airheads, justify infidelity or glorify violence?


Avoid tunnel vision.

Movies aren't the only potentially destructive form of entertainment. Soap operas (daytime or prime time), romance novels, crime dramas, music videos, talk shows—they all influence us. If they convince you that the romance is gone or that your spouse is not adequately beautiful or sexually appealing, it's time to find other sources of entertainment.


8. Value your time together.

If you only have one evening a week to spend together, think about ways to maximize your limited time. Rather than falling into a "dinner and a movie" rut, vary your routine by experimenting with other romance enhancers.

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