Movies and a talk help couples avoid divorce

February 4, 2014 11:51:40 AM PST
Movies could be an unexpected - but surprisingly easy - way to help troubled marriages, or strengthen good ones.

A small study at the University of Rochester (N.Y.) showed that divorce rates dropped by half among newlyweds who watched 5 romantic movies over a month, then discussed them with their spouses.

Among the movie watchers, the divorce rate fell from 24% to just 11%.

But the movies have to be carefully selected, to illustrate couples working on their relationships.

"Movies like When 'Harry met Sally' or 'Sleepless in Seattle,' those movies don't work as well. Because the couples only end up together at the very end of the movie, you don't really see them getting through day to day life," says Ronald Rogge, an associate professor of psychology.

Among the recommended movies are "Yours, Mine & Ours" about blending families, and "Indecent Proposal," which focuses on emotional versus financial wealth.

Several popular comedies are on the list, such as "The Money Pit," "Father of the Bride," and the action movie, "True Lies."

"We never anticipated that from watching 5 movies, having 5 discussions based on your relationship that we would be able to cut the divorce rate in half," says Rogge.

For more on the study, and the full list of movies, go to:

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