A new theory out of the University of Rochester suggests that couples can actually lower their likelihood of divorce by heading over to the nearest Redbox.

Ronald Rogge, associate professor of clinical psychology and co-author of the study, wanted to learn how couples could improve their relationship through activity and communication. He decided to see if a non-physical activity paired with post-activity communication could strengthen a relationship, so he asked couples to watch a movie and talk about key plot points.

“The hope is to improve the odds against divorce,” Rogge said. “We’re looking for the best way to strengthen marriages while they are still happy. Most people enjoy watching movies, and this is a model where, we, as therapists and researchers, don’t need to formally instruct participants. They can do it on their own.”

Couples were specifically asked to watch five movies in a one-month span and discuss the characters’ relationships at the conclusion of the film. Rogge provided the couples with a long list of approved movies that, at least in some way, focused on intimate or casual relationships.


After gathering data for over six years, Rogge and colleague Tom Bradbury found:

  • Couples reported an increase in communication; and
  • Those who participated in the study were 50 percent less likely to get a divorce than the average couple.

“There’s nothing to lose except the cost of a movie rental,” said Jenalee Herb, who participated in the study with her husband of seven years. “We have a great relationship, but it can’t hurt to talk. I see this process as opening doors and, yes, there’s the possibility for an ‘aha’ moment.”

“I’ve learned it’s best to address something right away and to keep the lines of communication open, so when there is a problem, we can talk about it,” said her husband Adam.

Ryan Skinner, who participated in the study with his girlfriend, echoed Jenalee’s sentiment.

“It’s an interesting way to go about examining a relationship,” said Skinner. “It’s helped. We have a strong relationship, but this has brought us closer together.”

Related source: Democrat and Chronicle

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