What’s the difference between the two Meg Ryan films, When a Man Loves a Woman and When Harry Met Sally?

Give up? Well, one of these can cut your chances of divorce in half while the other one won’t. We’re not kidding, and here’s the data to back it up.

Keep reading to learn the best movies for married couples.

best movies for married couples ryan and alex duo life

best movies for married couples

The inspiration for this article began after we watched Couple’s Retreat.

The rom-com prompted meaningful discussion about the couple’s relationships, challenges they were facing, and how they repaired their marriages by the end of the movie.

We wanted to find more movies like Couple’s Retreat that were not only enjoyable but would strengthen our relationship.

Instead of searching Google for good movies for couples, we turned to the data to identify the best movies for couples to watch. After all, we are two engineers.

The Data Of Couple’s Movie Therapy

A University of Rochester psychology professor, Dr. Ronald Rogge, found that some good movies for couples to watch can be just as effective as marriage therapy.

Dr. Rogge and his team created a study for 174 engaged and newly married couples in Los Angeles. He divided them into three groups.

The first group received a list of relationship-centric movies and told to watch five films and discuss.

Group two attended traditional marriage preparation workshops.

The final group did nothing.

Three years later, both the first and second groups who had either discussed the movies or went to marriage workshops were twice as likely to be still married versus the control group.

That’s right. There are good movies to watch as a couple that can cut your chances of divorce in half.

What’s more, is while there are many creative and unique date night ideas at home, sometimes nothing beats the couch, popcorn, the love of your life, and a good film.

I don’t know about you, but we were excited when we learned that rom-coms and movies about marriage problems could help us communicate and strengthen our relationship.

Effective Relationship Therapy Side Note:

There is probably no easier and more enjoyable way to improve your relationship than discussing a great flick. 

But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been looking. We recently discovered an incredibly fun and effective app for relationship therapy. In two sessions with our amazing virtual therapist, Shirley, our 12-year recurring argument was solved.

Extremely powerful! And we highly recommend it. Check out our full Ritual app review for details and a special discount for our readers. 

What’s A Good Movie For Married Couples?

The key is not to watch random movies — many divorcing couples watch movies. The essential part is to find couple films that focus on relatable problems within a marriage.

For example, the Meg Ryan movie, When a Man Loves A Woman, addresses alcoholism and creates meaningful dialogue for couples.

However, another Meg Ryan film, When Harry Met Sally, is an ineffective choice, as it portrays an idealized, romanticized, and unrealistic relationship.

The Couple’s Retreat movie addresses everything from sexual intimacy struggles to infidelity to last-ditch efforts to save a marriage.

Finally, it’s not just watching the movies. It’s the discussion that follows that is therapeutic.

Before we list other movies like Couple’s Retreat or When a Man Loves A Woman, these that the questions you need to discuss. For more ways to make your date night movie at home fun and memorable, see our below article.

Therapeutic Post Movie Discussion

After watching the movies, the couples were asked to discuss several questions.

To reap the full therapeutic benefits of watching these movies as a couple, discussion questions are required.

We recommend you pick out five of the top movies for couples and schedule weekly movie nights for the next two months.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve already seen the movie. You can rewatch it with your spouse and focus on these discussion points.

Discussion Question Examples:

  • What primary problems did the couple face?
  • Do you see similar issues within your relationship?
  • What did you like and dislike about how the couple resolved their problem
  • What did you like and dislike about how the couple communicated their feelings?
  • How did the characters handle their hurt feelings or disappointment?
  • How strong was the couple’s friendship?

Enjoy the flick, and discuss these questions during or after. These reflective questions are great for books too!

At-Home Date Ideas Menu_Ryan and Alex Duo Life

Our Proven Tools for Healthy Couples

Based on our research and experience, these are our proven tools to optimize your relationship.

Download our guide for the best books, movies, apps, date night ideas, quizzes, questions, and games for healthy couples.

The Best Movies For Married Couples To Watch

Since there are new movies release regularly and we all have different preferences, please feel free to share your recommendations.

If there are movies that helped your relationship, post the title (along with recommended post movie discussion questions) in the comments section below.

Top 10 Best Married Couples Movies

Since Dr. Rogge’s 2014 study, more than one thousand couples have gone through his movie therapy program.

Below are the top 10 films found most relevant to couples while simultaneously sparking the best conversations.

  1. Funny Girl (1968)
  2. Obsessed
  3. Before Midnight
  4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  5. When A Man Loves A Woman
  6. Hope Springs
  7. Fools Rush In
  8. The Five Year Engagement
  9. Four Christmases
  10. Yours, Mine and Ours

Next, is a list of our favorite movies for couples to watch together. 

Our Recommended Movies For Couples

As mentioned, we focused on the data rather than giving you a list based off of movie reviews, blogger’s opinions, and our preferences.

Fortunately, Dr. Rogge had curated a long list of approved movies. So, we corroborated his list with our favorites to bring you our top 15 best movies for married couples.

  1. I Give It A Year
  2. Couple’s Retreat
  3. Meet the Fockers
  4. This is 40
  5. Date Night
  6. Sweet Home Alabama
  7. Anger Management
  8. The Notebook
  9. A Star is Born (1954)
  10. Wanderlust
  11. Her
  12. Marley and Me
  13. Father of the Bride
  14. American Beauty
  15. The Best Man Holiday

Next, is a list of the top 6 most watched movies by our readers.

The Most Popular Movies to Watch as a couple

In the last year, over 15,000 couples have found us on Google while looking for movies about marriage.

Since the links in this article bring you to the movie trailer on Amazon Video, we’re able to see what marriage movies are most popular among our readers.

Well, the results are in, and these at the top 6 most popular movies to watch as a couple.

The Best Movies for Couples According to Readers

These are the most popular marriage movies (listed in order of popularity) in the last year.

1. Date Night

Steve Carell and Tina Fey want to mix up their boring and routine date nights once they learn their good friends are divorcing.

Without a reservation at a swanky Manhattan restaurant, they pretend to be another couple to get seated — and then get held at gunpoint.

This is a funny, all-star cast misadventure that shows how much you can spice things up!

Best movies for couples date night
2. Couple’s Retreat

Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell seemingly have it all, until they share with their best friends (Vince Vaughn and John Favreau included) that their marriage is on the rocks.

In a last-ditch effort to save their relationship, they want to spend a week at a tropical marriage retreat but the price is too high… unless they get a group rate with their best friends.

Ryan and I enjoyed this comedy and it touches upon a lot of different relationship topics amongst the four, all-star cast couples who head on the retreat.

Best movies for married couples couples retreat
3. Hope Springs

Empty nesters Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones haven’t slept in the same bed since their last kid went to college.

At a breaking point, they sign up for a weeklong marriage counseling program with psychiatrist Steve Carell.

Hope Springs is deep, thoughtful, but still mostly lighthearted. It’s a great marriage movie for your next date night.

Best marriage movies hope springs
4. Meet the Fockers

The sequel to the hilarious movie, Meet the Parents (another great one to watch!) Meet the Fockers is one of the funniest ones on this list.

Ben Stiller’s hippy-dippy parents (Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand) are the exact opposite of his fiancée’s uptight parents (Robert De Niro and Blythe Danner).

But, it’s time for them to finally meet, and as you expect, it doesn’t go so well.

Movies for couples meet the fockers
5. I Give It a Year

Have you ever been in a relationship where all of your friends and family think it will fail? Hopefully not, but that’s the position Rose Byrne finds herself in.

This rom-com follows the first year of her marriage with Rafe Spall while mixing in old and new flames (Anna Faris and Simon Baker). Plus, one of our favorite comedians, Stephen Merchant, plays a part!

Best movies for couples I give it a year
6. This is 40

A spin-off of Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up, Leslie Mann and her husband Paul Rudd are in the ruts. They hilariously grapple with common marital issues — the need to spice things up, exercise, and deal with extended family and two wild kids.

As a couple in our 30s, we found this comedy slightly terrifying but wholly entertaining.

Movies for married couples this is 40

Schedule your next date night movies

Before you write off the value of “chick-flicks,” consider them for their instructional, relationship value.

Would you take a few hours to watch five of these movies over the next three years to cut your chance of divorce in half? Yup, we thought so.

So, are you wondering why movies are as effective as marriage workshops?

As Dr. Rogge wrote up in his study findings, “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, 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.”

Based on the data, these are the best movies for married couples, which, in our opinion, makes them the best date night movies of all time!

More Resources for Married Couples

1. Our Free Marriage Retreat

Since you’re so motivated to strengthen your marriage, we offer a free marriage retreat at home.

This self-guided couple’s retreat is fun, non-religious, and it’s also based on science.

2. The Best Apps for Married Couples

Additionally, we researched and studied the best apps out there for married couples to improve our relationship.

We found the good, the bad, the ugly. We’ll tell you which apps for married couples are worth it, and which ones you should skip.

3. The Best Couples Massage Class

The benefits of couples massage are incredibly compelling. Learning how to do couples massage makes for a fun and romantic date night.

Ever since Ryan and I enrolled, it’s like love at first sight all over again. It’s almost laughable how bad and inefficient we were beforehand! We recommend taking the online class called Melt: Massage for Couples.

It’s an online couples massage class that teaches you and your partner how to give deep, therapeutic, professional-quality massages at home. We share our class review below.

If you want to learn the basics of couples massage at home, head over to our article titled, ‘How to Give a Good Massage.’

At-Home Date Ideas Menu_Ryan and Alex Duo Life

Our Proven Tools for Healthy Couples

Based on our research and experience, these are our proven tools to optimize your relationship.

Download our guide for the best books, movies, apps, date night ideas, quizzes, questions, and games for healthy couples.

Closing Thoughts on The Best Movies for Married Couples

We hope these movies and the discussion that follows strengthen your relationship. If you have any questions, feedback, or recommendations, ask away in the comments below.

Is there a movie you would add to our list that created deep conversations with your partner?

For more helpful resources for couples, such as the best board games for couples or our review of the Adventure Challenge Book Couples Edition, head over to our Healthy Couples page.

At-Home Date Ideas Menu_Ryan and Alex Duo Life

Proven Tools for Healthy Couples

A decade of experience, hundreds of hours of research and testing, and over 50,000 words of wisdom condensed into one PDF.

Download our guide for the best books, movies, apps, date night ideas, quizzes, questions, and games for healthy couples.

As Seen In Feature Bar Ryan and Alex Duo Life

Hey we're Ryan and Alex

The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”

After eight years working in the corporate world as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples engineer their best lives.

The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship as a couple.

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