Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes the news that romantic comedies can save your relationship!
This news, heralded in multiple places, comes as a shock to many men, who routinely put down the films their girlfriends and wives like. It boosts the usefulness of rom-coms far above the CGI trappings of movies like the Transformers franchise. And the comparison that Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character makes in the movie Don Jon, that romcoms are like internet porn? Not even close, man.
Honestly, though, not all the movies couples watched were romantic comedies. On Golden Pond, for example, is a story about family. And that’s the point.
Here’s what the study, at the University of Rochester in upstate New York, involved, according to The Express:
“Participants in the study attended a 10-minute lecture on the importance of relationship awareness and how watching couples in films can draw attention to our own behaviour. Then the 174 couples watched the 1967 rom-com, Two For The Road, about the joys and strains of a 12- year marriage.
“Afterwards, each couple met to discuss what they had seen and make comparisons with their own relationship. As homework, they were given a list of 47 films, from classics such as Gone With The Wind to the latest adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, to watch each week during the study and then discuss.
“Films included some obvious romances and tear-jerkers such as A Star Is Born (1954), Indecent Proposal (1993), Steel Magnolias (1989) and The Way We Were (1973). There was the odd comedy surprise like Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948), and the oldest film was Made For Each Other (1939).
“Professor of psychology Ronald Rogge said: ‘People have a pretty good sense of what they might be doing right and wrong. You might not be able to get your husband into a couples’ group, especially if you are happy, but watching a movie and having a discussion about it, that’s not so scary.’”
So while romantic comedies were part and parcel of the assignment, the real focus was on watching films about relationships, and then discussing them with regard to the couple’s own relationship. In other words, “Talk, people!”. Those conversations resulted in a reduction in the divorce rate from 24% to only 11%. Couples engaged in the study were less likely to divorce. Whether they had healthy, abuse-free marriages, however, was not researched. All we know is that they were half as likely to file for divorce.
Still, it’s worth a shot, right? The study in its entirety is online, including the list of films. Go ahead, check it out, keep Netflix busy. It could be a lot less expensive – counselors, attorneys, anguish, kids’ emotional pain, time, money, and so on – than divorce. And you can do it yourself!
For married heterosexual couples, this is the ultimate DIY.