Does “Movie Therapy” save your marriages better than “Talk Therapy”? Yes, according to a heralded Marriage-Movie Study.
This ongoing study conducted by University of Rochester in New York is guided by the notion that couples already have a sense of the strengths and weaknesses in their relationship. So it can be beneficial to take regular time outs to focus on your relationship by watching and discussing compelling films with your partner.
What are the study findings? Marriage-movie therapy cuts the divorce rate in half, compared to couples studied, who are involved in talk therapy or no therapy. Find out how you and your beloved mate can join this ongoing study at no charge, and get a list of movie discussion questions at the end of this post.
But first, I’d like to suggest 10 movies for your consideration. I’ve reviewed the study’s recommended list of dozens of compelling, entertaining films for you and your partner to consider watching. You are encouraged to choose five films that you both want to watch and discuss together during the course of a month.
What’s the criteria for a movie to make the list?
Some screen time is devoted to portraying the highs and lows in a committed romantic relationship, showing couples making smart choices and common mistakes.
This rules out most action movies and also romantic comedies showing couples falling in love. I view that as diving in, and the recommended films are about learning how to swim in the sea of love.
I’ve chosen my top ten movies from their recommended list and from new movies with compelling insights into relationships for your consideration:
Top 10 Movies Prevent Divorce:
Number 10: A manipulative Southern belle carries on a turbulent affair and a stormy marriage during and after the American Civil War.
Difficult mother-daughter relationship leads to difficult relationships with an uncommitted husband and lovers.
A devoted couple’s attitudes are challenged when their daughter brings home a fiance who is black.
Real-life divorced couple Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton play a bitter aging couple who, with the help of alcohol, use a young couple to fuel anguish and emotional pain towards each other.
A married woman agrees to have sex with another man for $1,000,000.
A happily-marriage couple struggles to survive a secret affair.
Fighting children, failing business, faltering marriage, freaky humor test a couple’s commitment as they turn 40.
An investment banker who does not value marriage nor family gets a glimpse into the joy of marriage and child rearing with an irresistible lover.
A depressed suburban father in a mid-life crisis, decides to turn around his tormented life, after developing an infatuation for his teenage daughter’s attractive friend.
MOVIE VIEWING INSTRUCTIONS FOR COUPLES:
I. You and your partner are encouraged to watch five films together in the next month.
II. Choose films from my top 10 list or from the study’s recommended list of films that explore relationships, including intriguing films like HER (2013), THE NOTEBOOK (2004), HOPE SPRINGS (2012), WANDERLUST (2012), UNFAITHFUL (2002), MARLEY AND ME (2008), IT’S COMPLICATED (2009)
III. After you watch each film, you’ll spend 30-45 minutes discussing it with your partner. 5 Questions to Discuss:
1. What main problem(s) did this couple face? Any similarities with your relationship problems?
2. Did this couple strive to understand and accept each other? Or did they attack each others’ differences?
How is this the same or different from your relationship?
3. Was the movie couple best friends, supporting each other through bad moods, stressful days, hard times? Did they listen to each other and do considerate, affectionate things? Any similarities with your relationship?
4. How did the couple handle arguments or differences of opinion? Did they share their true feelings, or just snap at each other with anger? Did they use humor to prevent things from getting nasty?
How is this relationship similar to or different from your own relationship ?
IV. Repeat this process by watching and discussing another film with your partner in the next 5-7 days.
Want to join this ongoing study and be guided in examining your own relationship based on movie discussions?
Enjoy watching movies to build a relationship you love,