Watching Holiday Rom-Coms Can Be a Hallmark of a Strong Relationship, Marriage

Watching Holiday Rom-Coms Can Be a Hallmark of a Strong Relationship, Marriage

November 8, 20192 min read

Staying in for a good holiday romance movie, or Hallmark marathon? Ronald Rogge, psychology professor from the University of Rochester, says holiday rom-coms and chill can be great for your marriage or relationship. 

Watching and discussing five movies about relationships over a month can cut the three-year divorce rate for newlyweds in half, according to Ronald Rogge, associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of Rochester. Rogge’s 2014 study involving 174 couples was the first long-term investigation to compare different types of early marriage intervention programs. The findings showed that an inexpensive, fun, and relatively simple movie-and-talk approach can be just as effective as other more intensive therapist-led methods—reducing the divorce or separation rate from 24 to 11 percent after three years.

"We thought the movie treatment would help, but not nearly as much as the other programs in which we were teaching all of these state-of-the-art skills," said Rogge, lead author of the study. "The results suggested 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."


Overall, Rogge’s research found that couples who'd watched relationship & romance movies together and talked about what they watched, were 50 percent less likely to divorce.


Other holiday-specific movies used in the original study, or that work well to watch as a couple, include “Family Man,” “Four Christmases,” “Surviving Christmas,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “Love Actually,” and, of course, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”


Connect with:
  • Ronald Rogge
    Ronald Rogge Associate Professor of Psychology

    Rogge's research focuses on understanding dynamics within romantic relationships and families.

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