If you look at divorce rates and the top reasons leading to it, you’ll understand that it’s high time to change wedding vows. Nowadays it looks more honest to promise to have and hold your love until lack of communication do you part. But some experts believe that turning a movie on and watching other couples fight may be the trick to saving your marriage.
We at Bright Side discovered that unlike The Avengers, Mr. & Mrs. Smith can probably make your marriage last. And we want to share with you how you can make it work.
Healthy communication can make your marriage last.
Have you ever waited for your partner at home, thinking that this time you’re going to open up and say that you feel really sad because of what happened before? But when they finally arrive, you forget all your good intentions, snap at them again, and hide your real feelings deep inside. And here’s the vicious circle, you want one thing, do another thing, and put an even a bigger wall between your partner and yourself with your own hands.
Healthy communication is the key to a happy relationship. And since we don’t always know how to work things out without toxic actions, we start to believe that our partner isn’t “The One.” While one part of some couples is ready to try therapy at this stage, others don’t have enough money, time, or desire to talk in front of a stranger.
Active listening and empathy may turn you from enemies into life partners.
Looking for other ways that could help people avoid getting a divorce, researchers from the University of Rochester divided 174 newly wedded couples into 3 groups. While members of the first 2 groups focused mainly on therapy work, the third group of participants worked on their relationship without leaving their houses most of the time.
The first group learned active listening, an effective trick that helps couples feel happier and more satisfied with their relationship. As an active listener, you have to focus on what you partner is talking about rather than passively hear the message and rush with the answer. To master this skill, couples listened to each other and then repeated what they had heard to make sure that the message had been understood, without mistakes.
Couples from the second group tried to fill their relationships with more affection and empathy. To do so, they did random nice things and mastered their ability to genuinely accept the quirks of their partners.
Movie watching is as effective as couple’s therapy.
The third group was made up of those who could work on their relationships while eating popcorn and comfortably resting on the couch. At the beginning of the study they attended a 10-minute lecture explaining how important relationships were and how looking at the fights of other couples on screen could help them notice their own toxic behaviors.
After the lecture, they watched the movie Two for the Road and discussed it using a special list of questions. For example, they looked at whether the heroes tried to accept one another, even if they were different, or if they just attacked each other’s differences. They also compared their own relationships with the ones they saw in the movie. Afterward, all the couples received a list of 47 relationship movies they had to watch and discuss at home.
The results even surprised the researchers. They revealed that they had expected some bonus from the movie-and-discussion approach, but they couldn’t imagine that it would be as helpful as sessions that included therapy and intensive work. All of the methods decreased the number of divorces by more than half — from 24% among the pairs in the control group who didn’t receive any help, but were close in all other aspects like age or relationship satisfaction — to 11%.
Ronald Rogge, the lead author of the study, believes that couples may already have all the relationship skills they need, but they just have to be reminded of how to use them. And movies perfectly complete this task, making the process much easier without the need to spend time and money on different “Save Your Marriage” programs.
Some other movies included in the list were A Star Is Born, Made for Each Other, The Devil’s Advocate, When a Man Loves a Woman, and others. If you’d like to try this method, check Rogge’s website, you can find all the movies and questions there.
It doesn’t matter how old your marriage is.
The scientists believe that this method can work for all marriages. It doesn’t really matter how old they are, because sitting down and taking a fresh look at your behavior can be effective at any stage. It could also be a fantastic way to celebrate an anniversary — watch a romantic film while holding each other’s hands and discussing it afterward.
In the end, marriage isn’t an easy, breezy fairytale where you can think of something one second and have it the next. But the ability to talk to each other and communicate your feelings and needs properly can make your journey easier.
Do you like discussing movies with your loved ones? Do you believe that this method can help you take an objective look at your relationship?