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London - With Valentine’s Day looming, many of us are saving for flashy gifts to impress our beloved.
But your bank manager can breath a sigh of relief as the real secret to a good marriage lies in a cheap and cheerful night in… watching a romcom.
Researchers have found that watching a film about relationships and then discussing it afterwards cut the three-year divorce rate for newlyweds in half.
The study, involving 174 couples, is the first long-term investigation to compare different types of early marriage intervention techniques.
The findings, published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, show that this approach can be just as effective as more expensive and intensive therapist-led methods.
The researchers randomly assigned newlyweds to one of three groups: conflict management, compassion and acceptance training, and relationship awareness through film.
The divorce rate halved from 24 percent to 11 percent in all three groups compared to the control group, but the romcom approach was by far the cheapest and least time-consuming.
Study lead author Dr Ronald Rogge, associate professor of psychology at the University of Rochester in the US, said: ‘We thought the movie treatment would help, but not nearly as much as the other programmes in which we were teaching all of these state-of-the-art skills.
‘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’re behaving.
‘You might not be able to get your husband into a couples group, especially when you are happy.
‘But watching a movie together and having a discussion, that’s not so scary. It’s less stigmatising.’ - Daily Mail