UR study: Watching romance movies with your partner can prevent divorce

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Johnnie Lawrence, left, kisses her husband John Lawrence in Sun City, Ariz. on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. John Lawrence has never forgotten a Valentine’s Day, not in 68 years of marriage. It’s the little things _ a quick kiss, opening doors, flowers for no particular reason _ that are the secret to their long, happy marriage. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Christine Keith)**MARICOPA COUNTY OUT, MESA TRIBUNE OUT, MAGS OUT, NO SALES**

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — If you find your marriage floundering, consider watching something romantic.

A new study from the University of Rochester says that watching and discussing movies about relationships with your partner is as effective in lowering divorce rates as other, more intensive early marriage counseling programs.

According to the study, discussing five movies about relationships over one month could cut the three-year divorce rate for newlyweds in half.
The study, involving 174 couples, is the first long-term investigation to compare different types of early marriage intervention programs, according to UR officials.

Key findings:

  • Newlyweds saw their three-year divorce rate slashed in half when they talked about five movies in a month.
  • Talking about movies can be as effective as therapy and counseling sessions.
  • Talking about movies reduced divorce rates for those couples from 24% to 11% after three years.

Ronald Rogge, associate professor of psychology at the University of Rochester and lead author of the study, explained his findings:

“We thought the movie treatment would help, but not nearly as much as the other programs in which we were teaching all of these state-of-the-art skills,” Roge said. “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. And for five movies to give us a benefit over three years – that is awesome.”

Read the full study here.

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