Think that couples therapy or intensive skill training is a solution for a rocky marriage? There may be an equally effective strategy that doesn't cost nearly as much and is enjoyable for participants.
A new three year study by Rogge et al (2013) found that divorce rates were halved by couples who watched movies about relationships then discussed them afterwards. The couples were given a 10 minute lecture on how watching couples in films could help them pay attention to their own behaviour prior to watching the films.
The study compared three groups, one group using the "movie and talk" strategy, and the other two using more intense types of couples therapy (conflict management training and compassion and acceptance training) and compared these groups to a control group.
All three groups showed half the divorce rate when compared to a control group.
The researchers states that:
“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.”
The great thing about this study is that it shows us that couples don't necessarily need to spend money on expensive couples counselling, but they may in fact have the answers to their own problems!!