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  • - I'm not gonna tell you to get a divorce,

  • but I'm sure as hell might be thinking it.

  • I'm Laura, I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist.

  • I'm also a certified Gottman therapist and cohost

  • of Marriage Therapy Radio.

  • - Yeah I'm Zach, I'm also the cohost of

  • Marriage Therapy Radio with Laura.

  • I have a couple's therapist and private practice in Seattle,

  • I'm also a certified Gottman therapist.

  • - Today we're gonna be analyzing romantic relationships

  • in some popular films.

  • [music]

  • [Laura] All right, so this is La La Land.

  • Mia is an aspiring actress and Sebastian

  • is an aspiring jazz musician.

  • Sebastian has gained a steady job by joining a touring band.

  • Mia turns down his offer to come on the road with him

  • because she needs to rehearse her upcoming one-woman play.

  • - Yeah, but can't you rehearse anywhere?

  • - Anywhere you are?

  • - I mean, I guess.

  • - Um, well all my stuff is here and it's in two weeks

  • so I don't really think that would be...

  • - Okay.

  • - The best idea, right now.

  • But, I wish I could.

  • - Okay, that's crap.

  • Whenever people say, you know, I just wish I could.

  • Make it happen!

  • Don't say I wish I could if it's an empty wish.

  • - Do you like the music you're playing?

  • - I don't...

  • I don't know,

  • what it matters.

  • - Well, it matters because you're gonna give up your dream.

  • I think it matters that you like what you're playing

  • on the road for years.

  • - Laura how many times have you heard couples come in

  • and say, we don't even know what we were arguing about?

  • - I have no idea, yeah, every couple.

  • Every couple.

  • - I think that's what's gonna happen here.

  • - And now you're gonna be on tour with him for years,

  • so I just didn't...

  • - I don't know, what are you doing right now?

  • Why are you doing this?

  • - What are you doing right now?

  • Yep.

  • - I thought you wanted me to do this, it just sounds like

  • now you don't want me to do it.

  • - As a therapist, when you're watching couples

  • do exactly what this couple's doing, do you ever feel like

  • you're kinda getting swept up in a tornado

  • and you really can't track, and you're just like

  • wait, what's going on here? [laughs]

  • - If this was happening right in front of me,

  • I would let it play, and eventually I would say,

  • do you guys have any idea

  • what you're talking about right now?

  • And they would stop and it would jar them.

  • The other one that I would say is,

  • do you have any idea what the purpose

  • of this conversation is?

  • Like, they never know why, because I don't even know

  • what the end of this conversation is gonna be,

  • apart from disaster, because they don't have

  • a shared goal, they don't have a shared understanding

  • of what they're trying to accomplish together.

  • And that becomes apparent because he plays this card

  • which is, well I did what you wanted, so why aren't you

  • going to do what I wanted?

  • They're no longer talking with each other,

  • they're only talking at each other.

  • - Take what you've made and start the club!

  • People will wanna go to it.

  • - Where should they have stopped?

  • Because there in an important stopping point

  • that couples need to recognize

  • where they're no longer having an intelligible conversation

  • - Well, your question about when should they have stopped,

  • it's kind of like asking;

  • when should we parachute out of this plane

  • that's about to crash?

  • - [laughs] Yeah, yes.

  • - Anytime before it hits the ground.

  • - I'm gonna finally have something that people enjoy.

  • - Since when do you care about being liked?

  • Why do you care so much about being liked?

  • - You're an actress!

  • What are you talking about?

  • [scoffs]

  • - Yep, shots fired.

  • - Yeah, if he says,

  • "I'm sorry, hold on, let me go compose myself real quick,

  • I shouldn't have said that."

  • - What you're saying is this would be

  • the opportunity for repair.

  • - Yeah.

  • - Instead he's...

  • - Maybe you just liked me when I was on my ass

  • 'cause it made you feel better about yourself.

  • - Are you kidding?

  • - No.

  • - I know that guy very well.

  • - Yeah? [laughs]

  • You do.

  • - I think it's interesting and actually quite brilliant

  • that they wrote in this fire alarm,

  • because I think we need this idea of this fire alarm

  • or this like, third thing to pull us out

  • of whatever's going on,

  • and I just think that if you think

  • of a fire alarm its like there's this...

  • - Where's she going?

  • What is she doing?

  • Wait, no!

  • - What?

  • Don't.

  • Stop!

  • Come, [sighs]

  • - So she leaves.

  • You wanted her to stick with it.

  • You wanted her to help him.

  • - I, like I said, this literally ends in a disaster

  • but no that fire alarm was brilliant.

  • - After the moment that they've already hurt one another,

  • then you get this fire alarm

  • and I just wish that the fire alarm

  • had gone off like, two minutes earlier.

  • - The methodology that we come out of

  • which is the Gottman Method,

  • has this idea that there are four

  • sort of relationship destroying behaviors,

  • and they were all over that conversation.

  • His defensiveness, her criticism,

  • when he goes, "You're just an actress,"

  • there's contempt, right?

  • Which is problematic.

  • Some of us have to choose what's called stonewalling.

  • Which is what she did, right?

  • She just went totally inside and then left the room,

  • and none of that makes room for a relationship.

  • - If you recognize that these four things

  • are part of the relationship,

  • then it's probably in your best interest

  • to rain them in and figure out

  • how you can do something different

  • other than what's going on.

  • - You know the first time we met,

  • I really didn't like you that much.

  • - I didn't like you.

  • - Yeah you did.

  • - So this movie is, "When Harry Met Sally".

  • Harry and Sally, you know,

  • they have different ideas about relationships.

  • Harry thinks that men and women can't be friends

  • because the sex part gets in the way, but sally disagrees

  • and they enjoy a friendship for a while

  • and then they become really close,

  • and then they sleep together,

  • and this clip in particular

  • is one of my favorite clips of all time,

  • so here we go.

  • - Put your names in you books right now,

  • before they get mixed up and you don't know whose is whose.

  • Because someday believe it or not,

  • you'll go 15 rounds of a, whose gonna get this coffee table?

  • This stupid, wagon wheel, Roy Rogers,

  • garage sale, coffee table!

  • - I thought you liked it.

  • - I was being nice!

  • - Okay, and this is one of

  • the greatest lines in all of cinema.

  • - I want you to know, that I will never

  • want that wagon wheel coffee table.

  • - Look at them.

  • She's looking up at him, she looks at him lovingly,

  • she has this one liner,

  • and oftentimes just those one liners of humor

  • is enough to diffuse a lot of tension in the room.

  • So I love that moment.

  • - You never get upset about anything!

  • - Don't be ridiculous.

  • - What?

  • You never get upset about Joe,

  • I never see that back up on you,

  • how is that possible?

  • Don't you experience any feelings of loss?

  • - Isn't it true that when one person in the relationship

  • is internally just having a meltdown;

  • don't you love company in your meltdown?

  • He like draws her in,

  • and now all the sudden they're in a conflict.

  • Like, first he starts off

  • by exploding on his friends, she doesn't budge.

  • She stays cool, calm, and collected

  • and she extends the grace.

  • - He just bumped into Hellen.

  • - [Laura] Then, he sucks her in and is like,

  • "No, I mean I'm in this place and I want you to join me."

  • It's hard.

  • It's hard to stay away from someone

  • when they want to bring you into that tornado

  • of frustration and anger.

  • - It is, and what's really cool about this scene

  • is what happens next because

  • I think this is the heart of what we're trying to

  • invite couples to think through.

  • - Are you finished now?

  • - Yes.

  • - Can I say something?

  • - Yes.

  • - I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

  • - That's the parachute right?

  • Like that's the ability to say

  • all right, this is the fire alarm.

  • This movie is about their friendship

  • and its actually what brings them at the end

  • to a successful relationship.

  • They weathered through lots of relationship

  • bumps and curves and turns

  • and were able to repair with some consistency,

  • and she lets him.

  • Which I think is really great.

  • It's the friendship that pulls them out of the conflict,

  • and allows them to repair quickly

  • before doing damage,

  • before getting to that place where they end up

  • stonewalling and creating this chasm between them.

  • Some of the best advice I ever got

  • was marry your best friend,

  • and so when I was in the single world

  • I just kept thinking,

  • I might not feel the fireworks

  • but I love this person for who they are

  • 'cause they're my best friend

  • and I think that's a really great place to start.

  • - Just want you to know,

  • I will never want that wagon wheel coffee table. [laughs]

  • - Double or nothing.

  • - [Laura] Okay so this is Love & Basketball.

  • Monica and Quincy were childhood sweethearts,

  • both set on becoming pro basketball players

  • and they both go off to USC where Quincy finds success,

  • while Monica struggles for play time.

  • Quincy struggles to deal with the media attention

  • and butts heads with his dad

  • about finishing school before going pro.

  • Quincy feels Monica was not there for him through this,

  • and the couple splits up.