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Check your entertainment priorities

entertainment-qaRelationships will flourish when you put careful thought into leisure time

| by Doug Weiss

Clearly X-rated and unrated movies are not okay to watch, but there has to be somewhere to draw the line other than at Disney cartoons. If I am comfortable watching it with my wife, does that seem like a good guideline?

As a couple, you will have to create guidelines for your overall entertainment. You and your spouse can decide the boundaries for sexual comments, sexual situations, partial nudity, nudity and sex scenes that movies offer. I use the guidelines of the 10th Commandment— not to lust after your neighbour’s wife. So if it’s going to cause you to lust, consult God for guidelines.

Horror is another boundary. Some movies are designed to create fear, anxiety or just plain horror. Movies including more than a set number of killings should be examined as acceptable entertainment. There isn’t a right or wrong here, and each couple will be different as to what is over the line. Each person’s spirit may be sensitive to different things.

My wife and I have a Clearplay DVD player that electronically takes out profanity, sexuality and gross violence for any of our home movies. This is a great tool (www.Clearplay.Com). If you’re going out on a date, check the movie reviews at pluggedinonline.com. They review movies from a Christian perspective and provide detailed information including scenes to be aware of.

Having entertainment boundaries is really helpful. In the Bible, Lot vexed his righteous soul by hearing and seeing unrighteous things. We do need to be aware of what sort of fruit the world’s entertainment produces.

My wife complains if I am on the computer at night and complains if I bring the laptop over to watch TV. Her shows are boring and I am trying to compromise. How can I make her see the balance?

You bring up a really good question here. How much entertainment do you really need? Do you need two to five hours a day or 30 hours a week?

As a Christian, really talk this through. If all you do is sit in front of a screen, be it a computer, television, DVD or computer games, you’re in serious trouble.

I find couples that clearly define how many hours they need to be entertained, and stick with this plan, have better marriages and families. Intimacy takes time and creativity. Have game nights, date nights and exercise together. When you are in front of the screen you are as close to being asleep as you can be with your eyes open.

Create nights of serving others, seeing family, or just going to the gym together with your wife and children. You can bring your relationship into balance by creating clear days or time limits for entertainment so you can talk, play games, do things around the house, walk the dog or just keep your car clean.

As the man, lead by example, showing that God, family and life have value. Protect yourself and your family from an out of balance view of entertainment.

I want to date my wife but it just doesn’t ever seem to happen. What could I do?

This is a common problem in marriage. It’s so easy to get too busy, especially when you have children. There are so many demands. However you did not promise to love, honour or cherish these demands. Dating is important to keep your marriage healthy and both of you sane.

If money is an issue find another safe couple and rotate watching each other’s children so you can both save on the childcare. Decide together on a maximum to spend per date or on a monthly basis. Dates can become costly, so come up with a budget so you don’t have to be concerned about money while you are on the date.

I suggest to couples that they rotate who picks what they do on a date. On her date, she decides what to do, where to go and the object is for her to have a good time. You are her guest — a happy guest, not a sulky guest. Then it’s your turn. You decide and she is your guest on your date.

Remember these three things: 1) Dating is not running errands. That’s not a date. That is running errands. 2) A date is not shopping, unless both of you agree to this. 3) Dates are not therapy sessions. You do not discuss problems on dates. If someone brings up a problem agree to talk about it the next day. If you are self-employed, avoid talking shop on the date.

You and your wife deserve to date. As I tell people at marriage conferences, if you don’t date you’ll eventually see a counsellor, so date, it’s more fun!

My wife won’t go to a “shoot ‘em up” movie with me; how do I change this?

In marriage you don’t always get what you want. Your wife doesn’t always get what she wants either. And, that’s actually a good thing. A marriage isn’t supposed to meet all of our needs.

I’m sure your wife wants you to cry at some of the chick flicks she drags you to. That’s why it is perfectly okay to have some guy friends and go together to the guy movies you like. Go pig out, watch a shoot ‘em up movie and have a blast. Don’t drag your wife into that with you if she doesn’t want to go.

Also make sure she has a girl’s night out so she can enjoy her tears with someone (another woman) who really gets why she is crying. It’s totally healthy and fun to be surrounded by the same gender and enjoy some of life outside of your marriage within balance. If you’re not dating your wife but finding time for the guys, your priorities are off.

Lisa and I will sometimes sit through movie previews and see a stereotypical guy or girl flick advertised and laugh, “Not that one.” This lets us know to take a friend or one of the children to that particular show. So enjoy her differences, respect her boundaries and celebrate with the guys.

Douglas Weiss, Ph.D. is a Licensed Psychologist and Executive Director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He is a frequent speaker at Promise Keepers Canada conferences and has appeared on Oprah, Dr. Phil and many other national media outlets. Contact him by email at heart2heart@xc.org or visit his website at www.drdougweiss.com.


The article above was featured in the November 2010 issue of SEVEN magazine.