Science is constantly looking for new ways to save the relationships of the world. Recent research has indicated that more men than women gain weight after marriage, and that you can save your relationship by making your partner wear high heels. Now a new set of relationship study results has been released, and it looks like The Mindy Project might be right: Romantic comedies really are the key to happiness.
According to the new study, just watching romantic comedies might be as effective as couples therapy for keeping newlyweds together.
According to The Cut, the 174 newlywed couples participating in the study by the University of Rochester were randomly assigned to participate in one of three month-long relationship programs. One group was assigned a conflict management program, another group was given compassion training, and one group was assigned to watch romantic comedies and talk about them afterwards. A control group was separated and basically just went about doing their thing.
In the end, all three of the groups that engaged in one of the relationship-boosting programs showed divorce rates that were half that of the control group, even though the first two groups each had to go through 20 hours of therapist-monitored lectures and practice sessions, and the third group spent half that time just watching movies on their couches at home and talking about them. (The couples who participated in the study and pulled one of the therapy programs are probably pretty annoyed right now.)
From that study, researchers have come to the conclusion that many couples can take care of their own relationship issues if they think about it and try to be aware of their relationship.
“For these couples to stop and look and say, ‘You know, I have yelled at you like that before. I have called you names before and that’s not nice. That’s not what I want to do to the person I love the most.’ Just that insight alone, is likely what makes this intervention work,” said lead researcher Ronald Rogge.
It is essential that couples actually talk about the movies, though, and we get the impression that, “What the hell was going on with Hugh Jackman’s hair?” doesn’t count as meaningful discussion. Rogge put a list of recommended movies and discussion questions online for people who want to try it for themselves.