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Lessons from “Date Night”  

The movie “Date Night” was only #2 at the box office on its opening weekend, but it still seems to be getting quite a bit of press.  Is there anything we can learn from “Date Night” about relationships?  I think so – but maybe I am stretching it a bit.

“Date Night” tells the story of a couple who has fallen into an all too predictable routine and seem to have lost their energy for romance and connection.  They steal a dinner reservation on their weekly date night and the ensuing case of mistaken identity leads them into a night of excitement and danger.

Many couples know the importance of carving out time for them as a couple and schedule a regular date night.  Sometimes the date night can become just another part of the routine.  I was recently told by a couple they have a date night every week, but it generally turns out to be a discussion of the kids’ schedules over dinner at some restaurant. 

Some types of activities create more of a sense of connection than others.  It would be good to keep that in mind when planning dates.  Interestingly enough, shared activities that are scary or create a bit of anxiety tend to help people feel more connected to each other.  We can assume Phil and Claire from “Date Night” feel quite a bit more connected at the end of their date.  I’m not suggesting you try and create an interaction with some criminals on your date night, but you might try a new activity that seems a little scary or anxiety provoking. 

What else tends to create a feeling of connection?  Feeling vulnerable in each other’s presence also helps couples feel more connected.  If you don’t go dancing because you are afraid you look goofy on the dance floor – that’s vulnerability.  Go anyway.  A caveat on the vulnerability idea: you have to be nice with each other’s vulnerability. 

Simply sharing new experiences can create a greater feeling of connection as well.  Get out of the old rut and at least try a new restaurant.  Take that class together you have been talking about.  Anything new!

Here is a suggestion that might trigger a couple of these things.  If your date night seems a little stale, try instituting a simple rule.  You can talk about anything but your jobs, your kids, and your extended families.  It should at least get you out of your old routine and you might find out some new things about each other – or yourself.