RESEARCH FINDINGS: A Surprising Way to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage


Till death do us part. It’s a lovely vow, and yet nearly half of all marriages don’t make it. How to reduce the divorce rate? Relationship researchers have looked at all kinds of ideas, including state-mandated marriage education courses. Now, University of Rochester scientists have found an interesting way to make married life better and keep couples together: movies.

Romantic movies, to be specific. In fact, in their study of 174 couples, it seems that watching and discussing five romantic-themed movies together over the course of a month cut the three-year divorce rate in half, from 24 percent to 11 percent.

“We thought the movie treatment would help, but not nearly as much as the other programs in which we were teaching all of these state-of-the-art skills,” said Ronald Rogge, associate professor of psychology at the University of Rochester and lead author of the study. “The results suggest that husbands and wives have a pretty good sense of what they might be doing right and wrong in their relationships. Thus, you might not need to teach them a whole lot of skills to cut the divorce rate. You might just need to get them to think about how they are currently behaving. And for five movies to give us a benefit over three years, that is awesome.”

Romantic movies you might watch with your husband tonight? May we suggest some of our favorites:

Love Actually
Sleepless in Seattle
Love Story
Valentine’s Day
The Notebook
Notting Hill
The Proposal
P.S. I Love You
You’ve Got Mail
Before Sunrise

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