Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Romance, Boredom, and Committed Love - Reflections on Date Night

Dina and I got to go on a much needed and much enjoyed date on Monday.  As with most dates in recent years it was a day-date because the kids were in school and Monday is currently my day off.  The date was also our chance to celebrate Dina’s birthday with just the two of us.  So after a nice breakfast down by the lakefront followed by a trip to the cell phone store to get Dina a new cell phone we went and caught a movie (another thing we rarely do at night because they’re getting so dang expensive).  We watched the new flick Date Night with Tina Fey and Steve Carell.  We are both big fans of Fey and Carell and were not disappointed with their paring in this film because they actually worked quite well together on screen. 

While Date Night has some pretty over the top action and antics the underlying theme is something that most married couples can really relate to.  The characters played by Fey and Carell—Phil and Claire Foster are a married couple who’s close friends have said that they are going to get a divorce because things had become too routine as if they were just good room mates.  This news comes as quite a surprise to Phil and Claire as they had thought that things were just fine in their friend’s marriage, but the news plants a seed in each of their minds that perhaps their marriage may be headed for the same destination of divorce.  So in the interest of making their marriage a bit more exciting Phil decides to take Claire out to dinner at a hip and trendy restaurant in New York City called Claw.  When they can’t get a table they end up taking the reservation of someone who was being pursued by the mob thus inadvertently get a bad case of mistaken identity (the kind of mistaken identity that is likely to get you killed by the mob).  So what starts as a simple effort to add a little spice to the marriage turns into much more than that as the evening unfolds with mobsters, car chases, crooked cops and a frequently shirtless Mark Wahlberg (actually I don't think he ever has a shirt on in the movie). 

Though Date Night is a funny and at times over-the-top romantic comedy it succeeds in part because it gets to a core question that everyone asks from time to time--Isn't committed love destined to become boring and routine?

Most folks realize that the guy that is perpetually stuck in adolescence chasing after his next sexual conquest is missing a great deal of what love and life have to offer in a committed relationship.  On the other hand those who make the case that committed long-term relationships are doomed to be boring and routine certainly have more than enough cases of married couples living as “good room-mates” to back up their argument.  So is it a matter of choosing one of these two options or is there perhaps a way of living in a loving committed relationship that maintains excitement and vibrancy?  This is the question I want to wrestle with this week.  I have some thoughts but I will keep them to myself until the next blog.

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