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Everyone in our home enjoys a great movie, but I don’t recommend watching them on dates.


Several reasons:

  • Watching a movie together does very little to grow your knowledge of your date’s character, beliefs and background. If dating is supposed to have a purpose beyond a good time, it should be to help you determine if you should go out with this person again. And that decision should depend less on whether you had a good time and more on whether your date seems like a person you might actually want to get to know better.
  • MOST films (and this will be hard for some to read) simply aren’t worth watching and MOST film-goers won’t adequately “pre-screen” films to make sure they aren’t just wasting their time. “Hey, want to waste some time together?” That’s pretty much what you wind up doing on most date movies, whether it’s one scene you’d be ashamed to have yourself involved in, or an entire 90 minutes of mind-numbing, sentimentality or violence. Or violent sentimentality. Or sentimental violence.
  • Too much visual stimuli really does make you dumb! OK. To be less inflammatory, visual stimuli (like television, internet and film) interact primarily with the occipital lobes in the back the brain and research indicates that the more we receive input through the occipital lobes without involving the frontal lobes (where information is conscientiously processed and judgements are made), the less adept we become at critical thinking. It’s one of the reasons scientists say young people are arriving at maturity later and later. Maybe Mom was right about television!

However, if you and your date like movies, why not talk about them instead?

If you’re like me you have MANY favorite flicks and could spend hours talking about them. If your date is like my wife they could too. And if you or your date are not anything like my wife and me, and movies are something you don’t think much about, that’s an even better reason to skip using them as a crutch for a date.

Do you know how much you can learn about a person by discussing the movies they love? Way more than you can by watching a movie with them.

Here’s just the tip of the iceberg of all you can learn:

  • What makes them laugh or cry
  • What makes them fearful or angry
  • Their personal values and convictions
  • Whether they are moved more by story, specific situations, message or ideas promoted, character, action, dialogue, conflict or resolution
  • What kind of stories they like and why
  • What particular situations they find funny, uncomfortable, exciting, boring, scary, unjust or sad
  • Whether or not they recognize what message(s) a film is trying to sell to the viewer and how much they’re impacted by them
  • How much they empathize with others and with what kind of people they empathize
  • How much they’re drawn to action and what kind of action draws them most powerfully
  • How much they love the depth and nuance of language
  • How much tolerance they have for conflict and what kind of resolution they find most satisfying
  • How much they actually think about what they watch

If you’re a good listener and ask the right questions, you can get your date to share their own real-life stories and lessons learned. And if they’re the kind of person you want to go out with again, they’ll be asking and learning about yours.

Now that sounds like a great date to me. Have fun!

DNA: It’s What’s For Dating

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The LoveEd study guide series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE YOU FALL IN LOVE! It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. Check out the first two 8-lesson study guides in our store. You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better?  And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!