Watching The Notebook could save your marriage. Yes, we just gave you a great excuse

A study finds watching rom-coms is as good for your marriage as couples therapy. Break out the popcorn, people.

Have you got five spare nights a month to watch movies with your husband? If not, you’d better start clearing your schedule, because DVD nights might be the key to making your marriage last.

A new study by the University of Rochester has found newlywed couples who regularly watched movies about relationships, then discussed them afterwards, had a lower likelihood of divorce. Researchers compared early marriage intervention programs among 174 couples, and concluded that discussing five movies over the course of a month can be just as effective as therapist-led methods.

So, in short: consider Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan and Hugh Grant as your new relationship counsellors.

To save you browsing time, the study team has helpfully provided a list of suggested movies and discussion questions, which you can find here. The list includes classics like Steel Magnolias, The Notebook and Fatal Attraction, so at least it’s going to be an enjoyable way to work on your relationship.

We love a good romantic movie here at iVillage, so in the spirit of this study we’ve compiled some of the marriage lessons we’ve learned from 5 of the best rom coms:

1. The Notebook

Okay, so it took several years, a lot of fights and a broken engagement for Allie and Noah to finally get together. But what their love story showed, above all, was that the strength of their relationship was based in pure devotion. Even when you love someone marriage isn't always easy, but with the right amount of commitment, effort and investment it'll work. Noah explains it perfectly. (Sniffle.)

2. When Harry Met Sally

There are a lot of lessons you could take away from this classic rom-com, including "you probably can't tell when your wife is faking it". But the moral of the story is this: the person you marry should be your best friend. When all the hot-headed passion of the early days dies down, you want to be with someone who makes you laugh and knows and loves you for who you are. Even if they drive you to distraction.


3. Date Night

Okay, so witnessing a serious crime, then being hunted down by the perpetrator isn't exactly how you want your date nights to end. But what Phil and Claire Foster, a regular, slightly bored New Jersey couple, taught us was it's good to shake things up every now and then. Even if your date night arrangements are arbitrary, trying something different - rather than the same ol' Thai restaurant - can make your relationship feel more fresh and exciting. Especially if you end up in a high-speed chase.

4. Crazy Stupid Love

Marriage Lesson 1: Don't exit a moving vehicle, even if your partner has just suggested a divorce. (See above)

Marriage Lesson 2: Married couples often experience rough patches - in some cases really rough, divorce-worthy ones, like infidelity. What Crazy Stupid Love showed was that, sometimes, working through your struggles, your anger and your disappointment together can bring you closer. Honestly.

5. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Let's face it: even if your husband/wife is perfect in your eyes, it's very possible their family is... well, just not quite as perfect. There are so many things that can spark tension with the in-laws: religion, politics, vegetarianism (poor John Corbett), your approach to child-rearing, your parents, the lot. The solution? Your crazy/nasty/sanctimonious family in-law isn't going anywhere soon, sorry, so you just have to accept the madness and choose your battles.

And, when all else fails, put some Windex on it.

What's your favourite movie about relationships?