By: Dan Seale
Valentines day is one day away, and advertisers are pushing chocolate and candy. While I enjoy flowers and chocolate, they can get quite expensive; and the lasting impact on your relationship is questionable. What if I told you about a $10 gift that could actually help strengthen your relationship? Would you be willing to spend that $10? .
Have I piqued your interest yet? Let me make it even more interesting. What if I told you that research has proven that this gift has had a significant impact on relationships, reducing the risk of divorce. Not only that but it has proven to be equally or more effective than some early marriage counseling programs in lowering divorce rates. Are you ready to buy into this inexpensive gift idea?
What is this gift that has such an impact?
5 Movie rentals from Redbox - $10 – or better yet, free, if you have a streaming subscription.
I’m guessing half of you reading this are shaking your head in disappointment thinking flowers and chocolate sound better than this. The rest of you are pleased because you love watching movies.
Will the Avengers or Black Panther strengthen your marriage? Probably not.
To be clear, it’s not just watching movies together that helps your relationship but how you talk about the movie afterwards. Now, the other half of you are disappointed and reconsidering chocolate and flowers…Anything but talking.
Research has shown that couples who watch relationship-centered movies and then discuss them afterwards benefit significantly. In the study, couples were asked to watch five movies in a month and discuss them with their partner answering these types of questions:
· What main problems did this couple face?
· Are any of these similar to the problems that the two of you have faced?
· How did the couple handle arguments or differences of opinion?
· How did the couple in the movie handle hurt feelings?
" We don’t think it’s just about watching movies. There are lots of couples who watch movies and end up divorcing. Taking time to sit down and take an objective look at your relationship with your partner is going to be helpful for any couple at any stage.”
Lead author Ronald Rogge
The power of movie therapy seems to be that it gets couples to think about and talk about their marriage relationship, almost as though they are taking on the role of a counselor. Simply paying attention to, and then discussing relationship tips/advice/skills can work wonders for a marriage.
Another plus to this movie therapy thing is that it is a practical place you can start working on your marriage - this very weekend.
Are you ready to try movie therapy? I know you are.
Here are some concrete tips from Aaron and April Jacob:
A. Talk to your spouse about the idea and get him or her on board. Some spouses may love the idea of watching a movie, but may not be that excited about talking about their relationship for 45 minutes afterwards. Make sure they know that you are going to do both.
B. Take turns picking the movies you want to watch. Make a list of 5 movies you want to watch this month, and print out the worksheet with questions. (**Note, we are pretty particular about the movies we watch, so we aren't personally recommending every movie on this list.)
C. Start the movie early enough in the evening that you aren't too tired to talk about it after! (The study suggests discussing the movie for 45 minutes.)
D. Cuddle up, snuggle, and have snacks and blanket close by.
E. Go through all of the questions after the movie and discuss, talk, and listen. Oh, and be humble. Don't take things too personally. Pretend you are marriage counselors and look for what you can learn and apply in your own marriage.
F. Do it again. Try and make a ritual out of movie therapy. (We can see the meme's now - Movie therapy, "It will be fun," they said.)
At least three good things may come from trying movie therapy:
1. You will spend at least two hours together.
Hopefully, and ideally, cuddling close together on the couch. That is good for a marriage.
2. You will talk about your relationship in a positive way.
In an almost fun way. That is really good for your relationship. Plus, that kind of deep-level communicating is a good way to connect emotionally and help you two feel closer together.
3. You will go away thinking about the things you learned and being more aware of your relationship.
As life marches on, you will recognize the next time either of you does something that you learned you should or shouldn't do from participating in movie therapy. In fact, you may develop a few inside jokes, or a few "names" that remind you of what not to do. For example, say your wife rolls her eyes at you a lot, just like "Joan," from that movie. Just call her "Joan," every time she does it and she will laugh and remember not to do it!
Yes, movie therapy is definitely worth trying. It's a simple way to strengthen, protect, and nurture your marriage. So, go pick a movie and see if it doesn't help nurture your marriage this week!
Download the packet with a list of possible movies and the questions to ask here.