It's about a couple who have been married for a number of years, have two smaller kids, and both feel like they are hitting a rut in their relationship. When they realize they feel this way, the couple begins looking around to see what other relationships are like. They see "happy married couples" getting divorced. And other married couples making out in restaurant booths...."Who sits on the same side of the booth? It's so awkward, you can't even see each other to talk. Who does that?" (all quotes are roughly remembered from the movie)
What to do? They decide to go on a date at a fancy new restaurant in order to try and get the spice back into their relationship. It gets weird and crazy and hilarious....you will be entertained. But beyond that "Date Night" has some really truthful and honest things to say about marriage. A main theme about "sticking with it" emerged to me as I pondered more.
In the movie both Tina Fey's character and Steve Carrell's character have a really honest moment with each other in the middle of all the insane things happening to them. Phil Foster (Carrell) asks his wife Claire (Fey) if she ever fantasizes about being with someone else...he admits that he does. Cyndi Lauper. Apparently "Both young and old." And Claire admits that she fantasizes sometimes about simply being "alone in a hotel room, with no sound, and the ability to drink a diet coke without any interruptions." To which her husband responds, "Yeah, that's just sad." Ha!
I like this moment because while it was funny....the movie hit upon something really honest about marriage. It's just true that when you are with someone for a while...things can get redundant, stale, and unexciting. I feel like our culture usually tells us that this is the point where love is not there anymore, the feelings have gone, and it's time to get divorced...you have "irreconcilable differences".
But really I feel like everyone gets to this point in their marriage no matter how much you love each other. I know I have. When things get hard, or things get boring it's very easy for me to imagine that life would be so much better if I had dated this guy in college, or married that guy, or had an affair with this other man. Seriously, I'm being honest...I have those thoughts. Jake does too...I've asked him about it. It's a pretty human and normal response to imagine an easy out. Jake and I have found that it helps our relationship when we can have honest moments with each other, like the moment between the Foster's in "Date Night", where we can admit things feel stale and that one or both of us is having thoughts of leaving or wondering "what if?" I think we've found that being honest actually helps us re-affirm our commitment to each other.
I find that when I can be honest with Jake about wondering if he was the right guy to marry, it helps me confront my feelings and be realistic about them. They are realistically false. Being with someone else would have it's own problems and at a certain point I would feel bored and restless with them too. The grass is always greener from far away because distance makes things go fuzzy....it's not until you're standing on that lawn that you look down and see the bare spots, ants, and piles of dog poop.
"Date Night" is like what we want people to be when they talk about their marriages. Just pretty darn honest about everything.
The movie ends with the Fosters realizing that they might be past the "crazy in love" part of their relationship....but they really do love each other, in better and worse times, and that what's important to them is trusting each other, growing as people, growing in their relationship, and living life together. Phil Foster says to his wife, "You know, if I had the choice I'd choose you. If I had to do life all over again, I'd choose you to do it with." How sweet and how deeply true I think we all want that to be in our own marriages.
Marriage does get stale, but it gets better after that, then it gets hard, then it gets happy, then it gets stale again.....and that's just life. But if we can really stick with it, and be honest with each other through the process, man how great to have another person love you so deeply and trust you so much....that they would "choose you all over again." That's what I want out of my marriage and that's what I hope for all the marriages out there.