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Couples Who Watch Christmas Movies Together Are Happier And Stay Together Longer

caitlyn.clancey 16 Jun 2019

There's something just so wonderful about Christmas movies, isn't there? Personally, I think I'm at my happiest snuggled up on the couch under several layers of blankets with a hot cup of tea and a Christmas movie playing on my television.

There's literally a Christmas movie for everyone, too. Romantic ones, dramas, lots of comedies, and plenty of feel-good classics that will have you decking those halls and singing "O'Christmas Tree" all the live-long day.

And yes, I realize that it's June and no one wants to hear about winter or Christmas right now.

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I own a calendar, I know it's way too early to be thinking about Christmas or Christmas movies. After all, we're only just starting to settle into the summer season, and the long dark months of cold weather and icy roads are far behind us, for now anyway.

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But as it turns out, it just might benefit your relationship to bring a little holiday cheer into the mix and watch a Christmas movie.

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Even if you hear the beach calling your name, I think you're going to want to tell it to call you back later, especially if you care about your relationship with your significant other.

According to Inner Splendor, experts have determined that couples who watch Christmas movies together throughout the year are happier, and their relationships last longer.

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Researchers from the University of Rochester and University California, Los Angeles, conducted a relationship study.

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They took 174 couples who were in serious relationships and divided them into groups. One of those groups was instructed to watch Christmas movies together, even after the holiday season and therefore prime Christmas moving-watching days were over.

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Members in all groups participated in couples sessions and received relationship therapy throughout the study.

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In these sessions, the couples were encouraged to talk about any issues they felt were present in their relationship and get everything out in the open, rather than keeping it all bottled up inside.

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Three years later, after the study was completed, guess which couples were still together?

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Yup, the ones who watched Christmas movies. Researchers found these couples were the only ones who were still happily paired up, while the rest had either already called it quits or were on the verge of doing so.

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Ronald Rogge, the lead author of the study, said they weren't expecting these results.

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"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," he said in a press release. "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," he added, "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."

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Of course, there was a bit more to this study than just sitting with your SO and watching some movies.

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If that was the secret to a healthy relationship, I think we'd all be changing our date night plans ASAP.

These couples were given a list of 47 movies and also a list of talking points which they were to discuss once they had watched the films together.

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Researchers concluded that in addition to watching the movies together, the post-credit talking points really helped keep things running smoothly.

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These questions the couples discussed together largely had to do with the romantic relationships they just witnessed in the film.

"The results suggest that many couples already possess relationship skills, they just need reminders to put these into practice," the study's authors wrote in their official statement.

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Rogge also said the movies acted as the perfect form of non-intimidating therapy for the couples.

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"You might not be able to get your husband into a couples group, especially when you are happy," he said. "But watching a movie together and having a discussion, that's not so scary. It's less pathologizing, less stigmatizing."

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It's definitely worth noting that not ALL the movies the couples watched were of the Christmas variety.

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Some were just your run-of-the-mill, regular-schmegular romantic movies, like The Notebook, Couples Retreat, and It's Complicated. In fact, here's a full list of the movies recommended to the couples, plus a few more researchers have added after the study.

But one theme was present in every movie, and that's that each other featured some sort of impasse the couples face and must overcome in order to continue their relationship, even in the Christmas features.

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But overall, there's no denying the incredible effect Christmas movies can have on a relationship.

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So I'd suggest that maybe instead of hitting that party tonight or going out for another double date with your friends, you and your partner stay in, cuddle up on the couch, and pop on your favorite Christmas flick.

Hey, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with your relationship, but it definitely couldn't hurt, right?

h/t: Inner Splendor

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