Prevent Divorce with Movies?

For newlyweds, watching and then discussing movies about relationships appears to be just as effective at preventing divorce as more time and energy intensive counseling programs. Participants attended a ten-minute lecture on the importance of relationship awareness and how watching couples in movies could help them pay better attention to their own behavior. Then, they watched a movie and had a 12 question guided discussion with their spouse. During the following four weeks, they were asked to watch one movie each week from a prepared list of movies and conduct the same guided discussion afterwards. When researchers later compared the three-year divorce rates of couples in this group with couples who participated in either conflict management or compassion and acceptance training, they found each resulted in an 11% three-year divorce rate. The three-year divorce rate for a control group that participated in no interventions was 24%. According to the study’s lead author, Dr. Ronald Rogge, “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.”
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, December 2013