Being emotionally flexible is one of the key factors when it comes to longevity and overall health of your romantic and long-term relationships, say researchers.
The researchers from University of Rochester aimed to clarify how mindful flexibility the one hand and inattentive, mindless and rigid inflexibility on the other were linked to the dynamics within families and romantic relationships.
Psychological flexibility is defined as a set of skills that people use when they’re presented with difficult or challenging thoughts, feelings, emotions or experiences.
Psychologists consider the rigid and inflexible responses to difficult or challenging experiences dysfunctional, ultimately contributing to and exacerbating a person’s psychopathology.
The psychological flexibility and inflexibility may play key roles in both couples and families in shaping how individuals interact with the people closest to them, the researchers wrote in a meta-analysis, published in the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, which statistically combined the results of 174 separate studies.
“Put simply, this meta-analysis underscores that being mindful and emotionally flexible in tough and challenging situations not only improves the lives of individuals, it might also strengthen and enrich their close relationships,” said study co-author Ronald Rogge, an associate professor of psychology.
The meta-analysis added to the findings of Rogge’s earlier work in which, he and a team tested the effects of couples’ watching movies together and talking about the films afterward.
That study found that an inexpensive, fun, and relatively simple watch-and-talk approach can be just as effective as other more intensive therapist-led methods — more than halving the divorce or separation rate from 24 to 11 per cent after the first three years of marriage.
“The results suggest that husbands and wives have a pretty good sense of what they might be doing right and wrong in their relationships,” Rogge said about the earlier study.
“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. And for five movies to give us a benefit over three years — that is awesome.”
Watching and discussing movies with your partner that feature onscreen couples can have a positive effect on your relationship.