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“Everything I learned I learned from the movies,” Audrey Hepburn once said. Indeed, movies have a profound impact on our lives. They give us countless hours of entertainment, and a fantastical escape from the mundane reality of everyday life. But there’s a lot you can learn about love from movies too.
Promoting awareness and improving relationships
A research conducted by the University of Rochester and University California, Los Angeles revealed that watching romantic comedies together, and subsequently reflecting upon and discussing marital problems, prove to be just as effective at keeping couples together as intensive, skills-focused forms of marital counseling programmes. Well, that’s a bit of an extraordinary claim. Definitely something to consider before you spend a huge sum to ensure that your relationship is on the right track.
In the study, a group of couples were directed to watch five romantic comedy films over the course of three years, and then talk about the themes of the film and how they might relate to their own relationship. According to Ronald Rogge, the lead author of the study, couples generally have a pretty good idea of what they might be doing right or wrong in a relationship already. Therefore, it isn’t really necessary to teach them a whole bunch of state-of-the-art skills, but instead to just get them to be more aware of how they are behaving in the relationship – and watching rom-coms help with that.
Rom-com tropes and cliches
Sure, the rose-tinted world of romantic comedies bear a vast wealth of cliches that the average cynic would probably scoff at. But sometimes, these movies can pose as a manual that guides you through true love.
You’ll discover that, in a relationship, timing is everything. You will fall for the most unlikely person. You will notice that every first kiss is magic. You will learn to be generous with your feelings and give it your all in a relationship. You will learn that it is best to accept your partner for his/her flaws, and that it is better to let go of past fights for a better future. And most of all, you will learn that open and honest communication will help you avoid the huge mess that is the middle hour in most romantic comedies.
The “Embodied Cognition” research
Another piece of research suggests that watching romantic comedy movies gives us psychological warmth. You know, that warm fuzzy feeling. It’s kind of like that feeling you get when you receive a heartwarming message from a close friend, or see a puppy hug a kitten.
This research comes linked with the concept of embodied cognition, which refers to the idea that emotional experiences can influence physical sensations. This means that the inexplicably tender and heartfelt nature of romantic comedies can help promote a sense of affection between couples that watch them together.
Two studies were conducted in the process of this research. The first study indicated that the colder one feels physically, the more one is likely to enjoy romance movies. The second study showed that the more participants associated romance movies with psychological warmth, the more they liked these movies. This certainly gives a good excuse to snuggle up with your significant other on a chilly night to watch a romantic comedy. Not to mention, for those who abhor romantic comedies, perhaps the idea of watching it together with someone you love will make you less adverse to it.
So the next time you’re at a loss for what to do on date night, consider cuddling up with your loved one at home, and popping in a copy of When Harry Met Sally, or any other selection from the multitude of romantic comedy movies out there. You may emerge at the end as a stronger couple because of it.
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