When our kids were younger and babysitters were scarce, my husband Ted and my favorite activity quickly became date night movies ... at home.
Sometimes we’d order Indian takeout and watch a Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall classic flick. Other times, if I was feeling ambitious, I’d pull out my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I’d attempt to recreate one of Julia Child’s signature dishes, and we’d watch something newly released to Blu-ray.
What we didn’t initially realize back then, but consequently discovered with time, is that date night movies weren’t simply a convenient and doable “after our kids were in bed” option. They actually benefited our relationship.
For us, date night movies provided a shared activity that catered to both of our needs.
How Date Night Movies Meet Both Your Needs
You’ve most likely read that researchers point to men and women as having distinctly different preferences on how they bond with others. It’s said that men gravitate toward shoulder-to-shoulder interactions, while women crave face-to-face connection.
Relationship experts Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs note that these different ways of connecting can easily become a problem for couples once the realities and pressures of daily life set in. They explain:
A husband can be preoccupied and quieter than when they were dating. And a wife is often too busy to sit and watch her man tinker on the car or computer…or sit and watch the baseball game. Gradually, they drift apart…each irritated with the other for not taking the time to meet their need for face-to-face or shoulder-to-shoulder time.
So what solution do date night movies offer for couples?
After all, it seems they’d only fulfill a man’s need for shoulder-to-shoulder time, right? Date night movies offer husbands the opportunity to sit next to their wives, without having to verbally communicate for approximately two hours. It’s quality time minus the emotional intensity.
But how do date night movies also meet a wife’s desire for face-to-face time?
Here’s where the choice of date night movies matters.
In order to take what could be a strictly passive, side-by-side activity and turn it into an active, face-to-face experience, couples have to pick date night movies that will spark conversation afterward. It’s this delving into a great discussion fulfills a woman’s need for face-to-face connection.
How to Choose Date Night Movies That Spark Conversation
What criteria can you use to pick date night movies you will both enjoy and want to discuss? Here are two things to consider.
1. When it comes to date night movies, where do your individual tastes collide?
One of the biggest challenges in your choice of date night movies might be that you don’t gravitate toward the same type of films. If this is the case, first determine where your movie tastes intersect.
To start, make a list of available film genres. This may include, but not be limited to:
- Science fiction
Once you’ve done this, talk through each genre individually. If you’re the husband, maybe you can’t stand musicals, but you’re open to watching a rom-com. Or, if you’re the wife, it could be that you aren’t keen on war movies, but you do enjoy action-adventure.
Find the genres where your likes either collide, or you’re willing to make concessions, and narrow down your choices for date night movies within it.
When you do this, it’s less likely that one of you will disengage from the movie by zoning out or falling asleep. Face-to-face connection relies on both of you actively engaging the film.
2. Do these date night movies include characters you can both relate to?
The best after-film discussions flow from date night movies where you both see yourselves and your lives in some aspect of the on-screen individuals or events.
There don’t have to be direct correlations between your lives and theirs to spark conversation, hints of resemblance will do. For example, maybe you both enjoy a clever and witty rom-com. While the couple’s relationship may not mirror yours at all, watching another couple experience relational ups and downs can go far in feeding face-to-face discussion.
Does this mean you have to stick to movies that only portray realistic events and characters, or date night movies that focus strictly on romantic relationships?
Not at all.
Take superhero movies such as Wonder Woman or Iron Man. Both of these films feature characters who have extraordinary powers, yet at the same time, are relatable. Diana in Wonder Woman faces how to respond to injustice, while Tony Stark in Iron Man battles anxiety. These are real, everyday issues both men and women can relate to and will want to discuss together.
Make Date Night Movies One of Your Favorite Activities
You don’t need to have small children or a lack of babysitters to make date night movies one of your favorite shared activities too.
Years later, even though our kids are older and our babysitter options are greater, Ted and I still gravitate toward date night movies ... at home.
We love how it uniquely feeds both his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder time, while also fulfilling my longing for face-to-face connection.
And, when both of our needs are met, our relationship is better because of it. Yours will be too.