Movie dates are an enjoyable way for couples to spend time together, especially if it’s at home where you can snuggle up. The downside of using movies as dates is that, well, if you want to actually watch the movie, you aren’t doing much interacting with each other.
But what if watching movies could have a positive impact on your marriage?
Recent research by the University of Rochester suggests that there is a way movie watching can bring couples closer together – but there are a couple of catches. First, it depends on what kind of movies you watch, and second, you have to talk about them!
The study, published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, found that couples who watched relationship-themed movies, then discussed them afterward, were more likely to still be together after three years. It’s important that the movies are about relationships, though – any old action movie or thriller won’t do.
You may write these kinds of movies off as “chick flicks,” but there’s some real value to discussing the relationships portrayed on the silver screen – even if they are dramatized and exaggerated. After all, fiction is a reflection of real life, and storytelling is an important way of presenting ideas or teaching lessons.
When you watch relationship-themed movies together, then discuss them afterward, not only do you examine your own relationship by comparison, you also dig into the details of the way the fictional couple interacts, how they communicate, their sex life, and on and on… All through the lens of how your own relationship stacks up to the one on screen.
That’s not to say that you should be playing the game of “which is better?” – because the movie relationship is fictitious, and likely the plot of the movie needs to be driven by some sort of conflict. You can, however, take stock of the details and draw lessons for your marriage.
After watching a couple-themed movie, ask yourself questions like:
- Are we facing similar problems as the characters in the film?
- How did the movie couple deal with arguments and conflict?
- What was the major problem for the couple in the movie?
- How did the characters deal with hurt feelings?
- How did the characters show affection for one another?
Simply reviewing these kinds of questions with each other will get you talking about your marriage – and about relationships in general!
To keep things interesting for both of you, try out some different types of “couple’s” movies, from comedy to drama, even some of the more “action” type movies that still focus on the dynamics of a couple. You don’t have to do this for each and every date night, but it’s a great way to spend time together at home, a great prompt for some healthy communication, and a way to build the habit of openly discussing the best and worst parts of your marriage (and everything in between).
Give it a try, and if you must, struggle through some of the awkwardness of actually sitting down and analyzing a film – and what it says about your own marriage. The more you get used to doing stuff like this, the easier and easier it will become – and before you know it, you and your spouse will be having in-depth discussions about how to build an ideal marriage, and taking the steps necessary to make it a reality!
For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com