In a world where phone-snubbing your partner commonly leads to an unsatisfying love life, why are we suddenly cheering on the proposal that binge-watching six hours of your favorite Netflix show is suddenly okay, just because we’re doing it while sitting next to our partner?
The answer lies in a 2016 study published by Sarah Gomillion, Psychology Department, King’s College. Let’s stay home and watch TV: The benefits of shared media use for close relationships
The study, entitled “Let’s stay home and watch TV: The benefits of shared media use for close relationships” highlights some of the main psychological reasons why watching endless reality competition shows, dramas, and comedy specials may actually be good for your relationship.
Here are 10 reasons why you can watch any country’s Netflix and still have a happy marriage.
1. Creates opportunities for intimacy
Physical affection is strongly related to partner satisfaction – and we’re not just talking about sex, here.
The American Journal of Family Therapy reports that couples who are physically intimate (holding hands, kissing on the lips and face, cuddling, hugging, caressing one another or giving/receiving massages) have greater conflict resolution skills and higher levels of relationship satisfaction.
Why are these facts important? Because what is binge-watching Netflix other than one big cuddle and tease fest? You’re spooning, kissing, occasionally fondling one another, and definitely sharing in that good, good oxytocin.
2. It’s a great way to relax
Mindless entertainment is great for de-stressing.
Sure, going out to a trendy restaurant is a great way to spend an evening with your spouse. So are going out with friends, hitting up a movie, festival, or going to a concert. But in the end, watching Netflix is a fun and relaxing way to chill out at the end of the day.
3. Gives you something in common
The Journal of Marriage and Family reports that making time for your partner is key to a happy, healthy relationship.
The study posits that while date nights are super helpful in maintaining that lovey-dovey bond, couples also experience greater happiness and reduces stress when sharing in mundane activities together such as watching Netflix or folding laundry together.
4. Enhance your romantic friendship
One Australian study highlighted ‘couples who view each other as best friends’ as one of the biggest factors in relationship success.
And one thing you commonly do with your friends is watch television.
Research shows that shared activities boost marital satisfaction and banish relationship boredom.
In general, couples are happier to share hobbies and activities, even if that means sitting down to watch TV for hours on end.
5. It opens the lines of communication
The Journal of Marriage and Family reports that the happier a couple is, the more likely they are to have healthy communication skills. Similarly, the better communication skills a couple has, the higher their relationship satisfaction is.
This is what we call a happy circle of life.
When you watch your favorite shows with your spouse you open the lines of communication. The shows and documentaries you watch can inspire thought-provoking conversations. It can also be beneficial to talk about characters, plot points, and motivations from your favorite shows.
6. Boosts feelings of belonging
Cornell University research found that romantic partners are happier when they share friends – including friends on social media.
“Strong ties are typically ‘embedded’ in the network, surrounded by a large number of mutual friends [6,16], and often involving large amounts of shared time together and extensive interaction. Weak ties, in contrast, often involve few mutual friends and can serve as ‘bridges’ to diverse parts of the network.”
But what happens if you don’t have many (or any!) shared friends?
The study mentioned at the onset of this article explains that having a favorite show in common and investing in the same storylines and characters bonds you and your spouse in the same way that sharing friends would.
After all, both social media and television shows are basically you watching somebody’s life play out before you, right?
7. It keeps you honest
Relationships thrive on trust and honesty.
When you trust your partner you don’t have to spazz out about checking their phone when they leave the room or wonder if they really are where they say they’re going. Simply put, you can relax when you’re in a trusting relationship.
One of the great things about Netflix is that, like it or not, it keeps you honest. If you and your spouse are faithfully watching a show together and then they take off for work, you can’t sneakily keep watching without them present.
Because Netflix monitors the shows you’re watching. If you sneak an extra episode of Shameless while they’re at work, you’re going to get caught.
8. Increases sexytime
Relationship satisfaction is strongly related to sexual satisfaction. The better your sex life is, the happier you will be in your relationship. Or, so the theory goes.
If this is true, then Netflix is about to give you a very, very happy relationship.
We’ve already talked about the wonders Netflix can do for your snuggle time, but what about your sexytime?
Yes, Netflix is good for that, too.
The longer you’re curled up in each other’s arms, the hotter things start getting. Suddenly you’re in the middle of an episode but you can’t seem to keep your hands off each other.
When you orgasm (or engage in other snuggle-tastic activities) you trigger the release of oxytocin through your body. This little hormone is responsible for bonding, stress relief, and mood elevation. It also has a host of other awesome health benefits like lowering blood pressure and raising your cold and flu-fighting antibodies.
Not only is sex, A: fun and B: a great way to release that oxytocin, it’s also a benefit to your emotional connection. Research finds that sexual satisfaction boosts emotional intimacy in couples.
9. A “chill” date night
Picture this: it’s a cold winter’s night. You and your spouse want to build on your happy marriage by having a special date night, but you also don’t feel like freezing your buns off in the cold or falling on your face ice skating. So, what are you to do?
Netflix to the rescue!
What’s better on a bitterly cold evening than snuggling up by the fire, getting some pizza and wine and watching your favorite show? Nothing!
Research shows that date night has been proven to boost relationship excitement and prevent marital boredom.
The National Marriage Project compiled extensive research and found that having a regular (and by regular, they mean at least once a month) date nights improves couple communication, boosts sexual satisfaction, and lowers the probability of divorce by 11 percent.
10. It’s fun
Our last answer to why you can watch any country’s Netflix and still have a happy marriage is the simplest one: Because you can and because it’s fun.
Are you looking to watch any country’s Netflix? Now you can without worrying that your endless hour of television will ruin your happy marriage. That being said, it’s also nice to get up, stretch your legs, and take your sweetheart out on a real date every now and again.