Instead of finishing a flick and moving onto the next (or going to sleep), take some time to talk about the on-screen relationships after the credits roll.
In a study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, researchers asked couples to watch movies together and then talk for 30 minutes about the characters’ romantic relationships. The result? Divorce rates shrank by half. That’s because talking about the characters’ on-screen conflict provided a safe environment for couples to think about their own relationships. “Watching a movie together and having a discussion, that's not so scary,” explains study co-author Ronald Rogge. “It’s less pathologizing, less stigmatizing.”
Even if the relationships shown onscreen are completely different from your own, you can still learn from the way other couples respond to everything life throws at them. (You might even pat yourselves on the back for nailing a relationship hurdle that the actors on screen totally fumbled.)
Might we recommend queueing up one of these romantic films on the old Netflix tonight—then chatting about it, of course.