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Watching this kind of movie together can prevent divorce

Do you ever decide to spend a Saturday night watching sappy romance movies with your honey, and feel like it was the best decision you could’ve made? Well, you’re not alone in that. Aside from being a genuinely satisfying way to spend an evening, it may also be the key to saving a marriage on the skids. If a couple’s marriage gets rocky, chances are they’ll head straight for therapy to salvage their relationship. However, a new study from the University of Rochester suggests this may not be as effective as sitting on your couch and discussing the orgasm scene in “When Harry Met Sally.”

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Okay, maybe not exactly that scene, but you get what I’m saying. According to the study, “Discussing five movies about relationships over a month could cut the three-year divorce rate for newlyweds in half.” So in layman’s terms, watching movies like Crazy Stupid Love and The Notebook, and talking about their themes on a regular basis could be more effective (and certainly more cost-effective) at saving your marriage than counseling. If this is true, my boyfriend and I must be the emotionally healthiest couple alive.

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The study is actually the first long-term investigation to compare different types of early marriage intervention programs. It looked at 174 couples in their first three years of marriage, and involved randomly placing them in one of three groups: conflict management, compassion and acceptance training, and relationship awareness through film. The first two had the couples taking relationship-building seminars and workshops for 20 hours each week designed to help improve communication and listening skills. Sounds super fun, huh?

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The film group’s exercise was half as lengthy, and basically just involved them sitting on a couch watching romantic movies, and talking about them afterwards. Or as it’s called in my house, a Wednesday night. Surprisingly, the “movie-and-talk” approach was just as effective as the other two more intensive, therapist-led methods in reducing separation rate after three years. This is great news since it’s much more fun and much less expensive, and can involve staring at Ryan Gosling for hours on end, which is definitely my kind of therapy.

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This makes perfect sense to Ronald Rogge who ran the study. Getting couples into therapy can cause unnecessary stress since there is still a stigma around it, but watching movies is relaxing, relatable, and opens up the conversation doors in a much more organic way. According to Rogge, “the results suggest that husbands and wives have a pretty good sense of what they might be doing right and wrong in their relationships. Thus, you might not need to teach them a whole lot of skills to cut the divorce rate. You might just need to get them to think about how they are currently behaving.” So guys, the next time your lady suggests a “chick flick” for movie night, try and be amenable to it. It might just open your eyes to a relationship problem you didn’t even realize you had. And if not, you can just enjoy Jake Gyllenhaal’s pretty blue eyes. Oh wait, that’s me again.

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