Love Actually.Having loved my husband for 20 years we have our fair share of memories. Mostly good. Some not so great. Like that time I convinced him to go and see My Best Friend’s Wedding by failing to tell him that it starred Julia Roberts, an actress he maintains a strange, somewhat unhinged pathological hatred for. Oh, and there was that other time we went to see Clueless. Which he did not get. At all. And don’t get me started on the grief he gives me for watching Drop Dead Diva.
But now, ladies (and any gentlemen who do not happen to fit the romcom-loathing-male-stereotype), it’s our time to shine. A new study conducted by the respectable University of Rochester in New York suggests that couples who watch romcoms together are better at relationships and less likely to get divorced.
Authors of the study said 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.’
Watching romantic comedies together, the study concludes, can be more effective than marriage counselling if couples discuss the film afterwards.
I like to think my husband and I are pretty good communicators. Yet even so, we are busy with two young kids and don’t get a huge amount of “us” time. Besides, there is always room for improvement, right? So naturally I decided to evaluate the credibility of the “romcom saved my marriage” premise.
While the study used a range of romantic comedies to test its theory, there were no guidelines dictating the kinds of romcoms you can and can’t choose. When I asked my husband for any suggestions he scoffed. “It’s very female-centric, isn’t it? I mean, why can’t we watch a military documentary?”
In the end we went for Along Came Polly as a tribute to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is kind of hilarious as Ben Stiller’s crass, yet loveable bestie. And even though Jennifer Anniston may not be the world’s greatest actress, she has the inoffensive and accessible girl-next-door charm of many a romcom leading lady.
“We’ve seen this before!” my husband said in the first 10 minutes. “It’s that one where he has all those pillows on the bed like you and she makes fun of him because there’s no point to it.”
We were already getting somewhere. Discussing my home decorating habits. Turns out my husband’s romantic comedy memory storage is better than mine. Who would have thought?
“And the uptight one cheats on him during their honeymoon and then he meets the messy, unstructured woman who teaches Ben Stiller to live a little. Remember?”
Ah yes. So I hadn’t chosen the most memorable film. But still, it would be close to impossible not to laugh out loud when Ben Stiller’s irritable bowel syndrome makes him get all sweaty while eating Moroccan food during his first date with Polly.
Sure it was hard to get a serious relationship discussion going based on the interactions between characters in a cheesy romcom. I was distracted by Jennifer Anniston’s frizz-free boho waves and we couldn’t stop speculating on what it was that drove Philip Seymour Hoffman to heroin abuse.
But sitting in bed on a week night watching a movie on our laptop was the kind of thing we might have done a decade ago, before the responsibility of parenthood took over. And it was really fun, much more fun than if the movie had have been all serious and worthy.
So can romcom viewing replace marriage counselling? Probably not. But if it means having a laugh and spending time with your loved one, go for it. And remember: military documentaries don’t count.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.