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
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.
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.
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?
The Best Movies For Married Couples To Watch
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.
- Funny Girl (1968)
- Before Midnight
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
- When A Man Loves A Woman
- Hope Springs
- Fools Rush In
- The Five Year Engagement
- Four Christmases
- Yours, Mine and Ours
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.
- I Give It A Year
- Couple’s Retreat
- Meet the Fockers
- This is 40
- Date Night
- Sweet Home Alabama
- Anger Management
- The Notebook
- A Star is Born (1954)
- Marley and Me
- Father of the Bride
- American Beauty
- The Best Man Holiday
The Most Popular Movies to Watch as a Couple
Since publishing this article a year ago, 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.
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!
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.
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 lighthearted. It’s a great choice for your movie date night at home.
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.
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!
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.
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.
At-Home Marriage Retreat Agenda
Download and print our DIY couple's retreat itinerary and preparation checklist.
Our couple's therapy ideas bring in practical science along with mental health, nutrition, fitness, and reconnecting relationship activities. Plus, we're just an email away for questions or support.
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.’
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?
Just Duo It
Our flagship program. Transform your mind, body, and marriage using small, systematic steps. These tried-and-true techniques have been taken from our research and personal experiments to reconnect, get healthier, and add spontaneity into your relationship.
- "Daily Duoables" to keep progress simple and easy
- Access to our exclusive Duo Life Community app to stay accountable for your fitness and nutrition
- Monthly guides to put it all together
We're willing to commit a year on you, are you ready to commit a year on you? Made for couples by couples.
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.
Join our 120,000 monthly readers
Receive our newsletter bringing healthy couples practical tips and life-changing ideas based on science.
As engineers, we know these to be true:
1. What gets tracked, gets improved
2. If you fail to plan, plan to fail
Therefore, when you join, you get our Goals and Habits Bundle to track and plan your best 2022.