Can this marriage be saved? All you need is a Netflix subscription, apparently, according to this latest study done by a pair of psychologists and their research team at the University of Rochester:
Discussing five movies about relationships over a month could cut the three-year divorce rate for newlyweds in half, researchers report. The study, involving 174 couples, is the first long-term investigation to compare different types of early marriage intervention programs.
The findings show that an inexpensive, fun, and relatively simple movie-and-talk approach can be just as effective as other more intensive therapist-led methods—reducing the divorce or separation rate from 24 to 11 percent after three years.
The article that explores Ronald Rogge and Thomas Bradbury’s approach makes an intriguing read. The thing about it that gives me the giggles is a perusal of their suggested movie viewing list.
Apparently an in-depth discussion of either 1966’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (“Hey, honey, have you ever considered killing our imaginary child like George and Martha did?”) or 1968’s With Six You Get Eggroll (“Sweetheart, would you be willing to put Vaseline on your camera lens so that my close-ups look like Doris Day’s?”) can help put a contemporary troubled couple on the path to reconciliation.
The paucity of movies on the primary list that were made within the past 15 years gives me pause. 2005’s forgettable Yours, Mine and Ours isn’t likely to make any young marrieds with a pulse want to do anything but start drinking. But hey, I’m just being snarky (and their "Additional Movies to Try" list features more current stuff). Watching such rom-coms and romantic dramas “might be just what [couples] need to get them to think about how they are currently behaving,” notes Rogge. And any couples counseling method that puts both Adam’s Rib and Mississippi Marsala to good use certainly appeals to me.
If you’d like to dip your toes into these waters, there’s clips from five of the movies used in the study at the end of this article. Meanwhile my wife and I, newly transformed into one Cumberbabe and one Cumberbuddy, are currently bonding over the exploits of Sherlock and Watson, which may mean we’re supremely well-adjusted in our union as a pair of high-functioning sociopaths, or… Calling Dr. Freud?