Watch Movies; Talk About Them; Save Your Marriage
Having trouble talking about issues in your marriage? Talk about some other couple’s issues, perhaps those that appear in a movie you watch with you wife. Researchers at the University of Rochester are claiming that discussions of five movies about relationships in one month could cut the divorce rate in half, at least for young couples. How can they say that? The researchers randomly assigned newly married couples to one of three therapies: conflict management, compassion and acceptance training, and relationship awareness through film. The conflict management group learned a technique for discussing heated issues that slows down the pace of the exchange and helps individuals focus on what their partner is saying instead of rushing to respond. The compassion and acceptance training group worked on finding common ground and practicing random acts of kindness and affection. The movie watching group watched Two for the Road, a 1967 romantic comedy about the joys and strains of young love, infidelity, and professional pressures across 12 years of a marriage. Afterward, each couple met separately to discuss a list of 12 questions about the screen couple’s interactions. They were then sent home with a list of 47 movies with intimate relationships as a major plot focus and asked to watch one a week for the next month, followed by discussion for about 45 minutes. Which practice kept the marriage together best? All of the above. A University of Rochester news release reports that all three methods halved the divorce-and-separation rate to 11 percent compared to the 24 percent rate among the couples in the control group.