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This At-Home Date Is Keeping Couples Together

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couple on couch
It may involve watching 'The Notebook' ....
A cozy date at home that's as effective as couples counseling? Yes, please!

Staying in this Valentine's Day weekend because of the snowpocalypse? (Which, by the way, if you are, we highly recommend these Netflix flicks.)

He might roll his eyes at watching The Notebook for the twentieth time, but here's your best argument yet: it's scientifically proven to be good for your relationship!

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A new study says that couples who watch movies about relationships together are half as likely to split up in three years as couples that do not. But there's a catch to this excuse for your show binge-watching: you have to talk about it after the credits. Talking about the onscreen relationships can be just as effective as going to couples counseling. (We're serious.)

The study from Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology assigned 200 newlywed couples to one of three types of relationship therapy: conflict management, compassion and acceptance training, and relationship awareness through film. By the end of the study, the film aficionado couples had bonded just as closely as the others. So who knew that the counselor's office was right in your very own living room?

If you're ready to give it a try, here are five movies to get you started.

1. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)
It has the ooey-gooey, lovey-dovey, mushy feelings you love, and the sci-fi elements that he'll appreciate. Joel, a man depressed after a heartwrenching breakup, goes to a clinic to get his memories of his relationship with ex-girlfriend Clementine erased, but complications arise. The best part is all of the tough decision questions: Would you hit the refresh button and wipe your ex out of your life forever? Would you date someone if you knew it wasn't going to work out? Can you love someone unconditionally for their flaws? Aaaaaand discuss.

2. Blue Valentine (2010)
We know what you're thinking: depressing title - depressing movie, right? Well, sort of. So why is it worth a watch with your significant other? Unlike most movies that tend to sugar-coat, if not entirely romanticize struggling relationships, this film depicts the stark reality of a dissolving relationship and all of the raw, real emotions two people face when they fall out of love. What is a dealbreaker? How do you know when you've fallen out of love? How long do you try to make it work and when do you know that it's time to let go? It's not cutesy or romantic, but that's a real relationship, am I right?

3. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Even if you haven't seen it, you know the story — a ranch-hand and a rodeo cowboy meet in the summer of 1963 while driving cattle over a mountain range, and fall in love. But they're only free to love each other during their annual summer reunions. For years, they hide the true nature of their relationship from everyone: their families, their wives, and even themselves. It tragically speaks about the pain of denying an enduring love. (That scene where Ennis walks into Jack's empty room and clutches to the shirts in his closet, crying, always gets me right in the feels.)

4. Fever Pitch (2005)
He wants to watch the game. You want to watch a romcom. Enter, Fever Pitch. If your partner is a sports freak (and the other is borderline fed up with their fanatics), this is the perfect romcom for the both of you. (However, I should say that I am a Red Sox fan, so I'm a little biased here.) Jimmy Fallon — the loyal if not misguided Red Sox fan — meets the woman of his dreams, Drew Barrymore. Yes, it has that cheesy "appreciating what you have" message, but on a deeper level, it brings up questions about when one partner's pursuits affect the relationship.

5. He's Just Not That Into You (2009)
Consider this your go-to date night flick for a watch n' chat. At first glance, it looks like a superficial chick-flick full of celebrity faces, but it's really a multi-dimensional arc of intersecting love stories. And there are so many couples (and almost-couples) that it would be impossible not to relate to one of them. Who do you identify with the most? Why? What would you do in each of the situations? (Hopefully, you would end up as one of the couples with a happy ending.)

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