Our last article series featured a few ways couples in long term relationships can keep the spark alive throughout the years. One of our suggestions was to spend some time together watching a film or television show together so that
you can have something to discuss and relate to. A recent study by the University of Rochester supports our tip, finding that watching media that examines the complexities of marriage and discussing issues as a couple can be effective in curbing divorce rates. The study, published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, revealed that newlyweds who consumed visual media together and discussed had only an 11 percent divorce rate at the end of the first 3 years of marriage, compared to the 24 percent divorce rate in the control group of newlyweds who did not partake in movie viewing together. This is the same success rate as supervised sessions with marriage counselors.
In this study, the couples surveyed were instructed to watch one romantic movie each week and talk about the issues in the film together and relate them to their own lives. They were instructed to discuss the main problems the film couple faced, whether or not the film couple had a strong friendship, whether the film couple showed support for each other, what expectations the film couple had of one another and how each met those expectations, the level of sharing and communication each partner in the film couple had with their spouse, etc. While these questions may seem arbitrary and just a bit like comprehension questions, they actually are important for spouses to discuss. By examining the relationship between the characters in the film, you subconsciously look at your own relationship. When you discuss the characters with your spouse, you can abstract your own relationship away from the discussion. This increases your ability to discuss something deeply personal and probably sensitive without your emotions hindering conversation. Talking about someone else’s problems, even though they are fictional, can help improve your perspective on your own relationship.
If you want to indulge in stimulating conversation with your significant other, here are some of the films that were in the study and/or are highly recommended: