You aren’t going to like this medicine, but: couples who discuss romantic movies might be at less risk of divorce than those who don’t.
A study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that discussing five movies about relationships over a month can cut the three-year divorce rate in half, from twenty-four to eleven per cent. Actually, researchers were testing a few other methods of relationship counselling: two of the study groups attended lectures and held discussions about compassion training and conflict management. The third group simply watched a bunch of movies and couples then discussed movies amongst themselves. The control group had no therapy.
The control group’s three-year divorce rate (divorce is front-ended, in the West, anyway) was around twenty-four per cent, and the other three groups had only eleven per cent—but if you can get the same results from watching movies as attending a bunch of dumb classes, why wouldn’t you take the movies? As for why it works, well, it seems like the key thing is partners communicating about how they think of relationships: what’s healthy, what’s unhealthy, how problems should be solved, and what’s reasonable. Movies offer opportunities for all that—and best of all, you won’t have to listen to the problems of weirdoes at a community centre.