Relationship Aren’t Always Easy – So Go The Movies

movie-heartApparently there are four things that kills relationships stone dead according to Professor John Gottman:
– repeated criticism
– lots of expressions of contempt (like sarcasm)
– being defensive
– stonewalling, which is where there is NO communication.

If you’re at the stage where it may not be working (and before you go to therapy or decide to quit), how about agreeing to watch a film together?
I’m not on about the usual ideal, ‘happy ending’, Hollywood blockbuster but something with maybe more substance, where you may learn something about people, relationships and yourself.

A new three-year study finds that divorce rates and break-ups were more than halved by watching movies about relationships and discussing them afterwards.

“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 pathologizing, less stigmatizing.” – Ronald Rogge (the study’s lead author)

After watching the film together, the couple then talk about certain aspects of it, that will reveal what they each think, areas of conflict, possible solutions to work on – and most importantly COMMUNICATION. As if you can talk about the problem, you are on your way to solving it.

Check out the video below and list of films and questions.

It may save your relationship or at least give you some good films to watch 🙂

Original Movie List from the Study

A Star Is Born (1954) Mr. Blandings Builds his Dreamhouse (1948)
Judy Garland and James Mason Cary Grant and Myrna Loy
Adam’s Rib (1949) My Favorite Wife (1940)
Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn Irene Dunne and Cary Grant
Anna Karenina (2012) Nina Takes a Lover (1994)
Keira Knightley and Jude Law Laura San Giacomo and Paul Rhys
As Good as it Gets (1997) Nine Months (1995)
Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt Hugh Grant and Julianne Moore
Barefoot in the Par (1967) On Golden Pond (1981)
Robert Redford and Jane Fonda Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda
Children of a Lesser God (1986) Pat and Mike (1952)
William Hurt and Marlee Matlin Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn
Days of Wine and Roses (1962) Penny Serenade (1941)
Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick Cary Grant and Irene Dunne
Desk Set (1957) Phffft [Pfft!] (1954)
Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn Judy Holliday and Jack Lemmon
Dying Young (1991) Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker (1994)
Julia Roberts and Campbell Scott Jing Ning and Gang Wu
Fools Rush In (1997) She’s Having a Baby (1988)
Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern
Forget Paris (1995) Steel Magnolias (1989)
Billy Crystal and Debra Winger Shirley MacLaine and Olympia Dukakis
French Twist (1995) Terms of Endearment (1983)
Patrick Aubrée and Josiane Balasko Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger
Funny Girl (1968) The Devil’s Advocate (1997)
Barbra Streisand and Omar Sharif Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino
Gone With the Wind (1939) The Egg and I (1947)
Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) The Male Animal (1942)
Spencer Tracy and Sidney Poitier Henry Fonda and Olivia de Havilland
Hanover Street (1979) The Out of Towners (1970)
Harrison Ford and Lesley-Anne Down Jack Lemon and Sandy Dennis
Husbands and Wives (1992) The Thin Man (1934)
Woody Allen and Mia Farrow William Powell and Myrna Loy
Indecent Proposal (1993) The Way We Were (1973)
Robert Redford and Demi Moore Barbara Streisand and Robert Redford
Jungle Fever (1991) Untamed Heart (1993)
Wesley Snipes and Anna Sciorra Christian Slater and Marisa Tomei
Love Jones (1997) When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)
Larenz Tate and Nia Long Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia
Love Story (1970) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
Made for Each Other (1939) With Six You Get Eggroll (1968)
Carol Lombard and Jimmy Stewart Doris Day and Brian Keith
Mississippi Masala (1991) Yours, Mine and Ours (1968)
Denzel Washington and Sarita Choudhury Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball
Move Over, Darling (1963)
Doris Day and James Garner

Additional Movies

American Beauty (1999) Obsessed (2009)
Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening Beyoncé Knowles and Idris Elba
Anger Management (2003) Something’s Gotta Give (2003)
Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton
Autumn in New York (2000) Surviving Christmas (2004)
Richard Gere and Winona Ryder Ben Affleck and Christina Applegate
Bee Season (2005) Sweet Home Alabama (2002)
Richard Gere and Juliette Binoche Reese Witherspoon and Patrick Dempsey
Before Sunset (2004) Sweet November (2001)
Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron
Blue valentine (2010) Terms of Endearment (1983)
Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger
Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980) The Five-year Engagement (2012)
Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones Jason Segel and Emily Blunt
Couples Retreat (2009) The Back-up Plan (2010)
Vince Vaughn and Malin Akerman Jennifer Lopez and Alex O’Loughlin
Crooklyn (1994) The Big Wedding (2013)
Alfre Woodard and Delroy Lindo Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton
Date Night (2010) The Bounty Hunter (2010)
Steve Carell and Tina Fey Jennifer Aniston and Gerald Butler
Deliver Us From Eva (2003) The Break-up (2006)
Gabrielle Union and LL Cool J Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn
Devil Wears Prada (2006) The Campaign (2012)
Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis
The Devil’s Advocate (1997) The Door in the Floor (2004)
Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger
The Family Man (2000) The Glass House (2001)
Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni Diane Lane and Leelee Sobieski
Fatal Attraction (1987) The Good Girl (2002)
Michael Douglas and Glenn Close Jennifer Aniston and Jake Gyllenhaal
Father of the bride (1991) The Horse Whisperer (1998)
Steve Martin and Diane Keaton Robert Redford and Kristin Scott Thomas
Fool’s Gold (2008) The Marriage Chronicles (2012)
Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson Jazsmin Lewis and Darrin Dewitt Henson
Four Christmases (2008) The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)
Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn Barbra Streisand and Jeff Bridges
Her (2013) The Money Pit (1986)
Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams Tom Hanks and Shelley Long
Hope Springs (2012) The Notebook (2004)
Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams
It’s Complicated,(2009) The Story of Us (1999)
Meryl Streep and Steve Martin Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer
Julie & Julia (2009) Think Like a Man (2012)
Amy Adams and Meryl Streep Chris Brown and Gabrielle Union
Jumping the Broom (2011) True Lies (1994)
Paula Patton and Laz Alonso Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis
Just Married (2003) Unfaithful (2002)
Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy Richard Gere and Diane Lane
Life as we know it (2010) Waiting to Exhale (1995)
Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett
Longtime Companion (1989) Wanderlust (2012)
Stephen Caffrey and Patrick Cassidy Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd
Love and other drugs (2010) What Lies Beneath (2000)
Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer
Marley and Me (2008) When a man loves a woman (1994)
Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia
Meet the Fockers (2004) Why did I get married? (2007)
Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro Tyler Perry and Janet Jackson
Monster-in-law (2005) You, Me and Dupre (2006)
Jennifer Lopez and Michael Vartan Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) Don Jon (2013)
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) Before Midnight (2013)
Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy
The Best Man Holiday (2013) This Is 40 (2012)
Monica Calhoun and Morris Chestnut Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann

After watching the films, the couple then go through a series of questions as follows:

1. What was the main relationship portrayed in the movie? This is the relationship that you will focus on in the following questions.

2. What main problem(s) did this couple face? Are any of these similar to the problems that the two of you have faced or might face as a couple?

3. Did this couple strive to understand each other? Did they tend to accept one another, even if they were very different? Or did the couple tend to attack each others’ differences?
– In what way was this relationship similar to or different from your own relationship in this area?

4. Did the couple have a strong friendship with each other? Were they able to support each other through bad moods, stressful days, and hard times? Did they listen to each other like good friends? Did the couple in the movie do considerate or affectionate things for each other?
– In what way was this relationship similar to or different from your own relationship in this area?

5. How did the couple handle arguments or differences of opinion? Were they able to open up and tell each other how they really felt, or did they tend to just snap at each other with anger? Did they try using humor to keep things from getting nasty? Did it feel like they were really trying to understand each other?
– In what way was this relationship similar to or different from your own relationship in this area?

—————–
Sources:
Article at:
http://www.spring.org.uk/2014/02/10-psychology-studies-every-lover-should-know.php
http://www.spring.org.uk/2013/07/the-four-things-that-kill-a-relationship-stone-dead.php

Dr. Ron Rogge – Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology at the University of Rochester
http://www.courses.rochester.edu/surveys/funk/

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