In The Addams Family, Gomez and Morticia Addams appear to be the epitome of a healthy relationship in terms of their love for one another and their communication patterns. Psychologically speaking, what does Gomez and Morticia's marriage teach us about love and sex?
Research related to couples satisfaction finds that the key aspects to strengthen a couple’s bond(age) are mindfulness, gratitude, friendship, expression of love, sex, and compassion.
- Mindfulness. Many couples live in the honeymoon stage for the first few months of their relationship. However, many couples eventually fall into the habitual autopilot mode, taking each other for granted. This is when relationship dissatisfaction is likely to occur. On the other hand, couples like Gomez and Morticia focus on living each moment as if it is their last, mindfully noticing their partner’s needs and interests.
- Gratitude. One of the reasons people enjoy the honeymoon stage is because they might be more likely to be attentive and appreciative toward their partner, and in turn, experience their partner’s attention and appreciation. After a while, some couples may forget to prioritize expressing gratitude toward their significant other. However, when taking some time to reread the love letters or look at old pictures from the beginning of our relationship, we may recall what made us fall in love with the person we’re with in the first place. A regular gratitude and appreciation practice can significantly strengthen our relationships. Relationship experts suggest creating five positive experiences for every one negative interaction. Both Gomez and Morticia are often seen staring lovingly at one another and expressing their love and appreciation for each other.
- Friendship. The ability to be open to each other’s feelings, experiences, and opinions is another crucial factor in relationship satisfaction. Relationships experts suggest that it is crucial for people to be open to their partner’s feelings and differences. The ability to be each other’s best friend can allow couples to build trust and create positive, caring interactions. Gomez and Morticia may not always agree on what to do with Fester but they never raise their voices at each other and never express contempt toward each other. In the film, when Gomez suspects Fester of being an impostor and becomes irritable, Morticia gently soothes him and then has an assertive communication with Fester, being transparent in her intentions to support her partner in every way.
- Compassion. One of the most crucial elements of successful relationships is being able to be compassionate toward one’s partner, as well as toward oneself. Couples who are sensitive to each other’s needs, as well as supportive of their own needs appear to have more secure bonds. As Morticia reminds Gomez, “Don’t torture yourself, Gomez. That’s my job.”
Expression of love. Everyone has different expectations of their partner and different ways in which they may wish to express affection toward their partner. Love experts have identified five different ways that people express their love to each other, known as the 5 Love Languages. The five identified love languages are Words of Affirmation (such as gentle words, such as “I love you” and “I appreciate you), Acts of Service (helping your partner with chores or an assignment), Receiving Gifts (a thoughtful gesture that has thought behind it, such as a card or a cookie), Quality Time (providing each other with undivided attention), and Physical Touch (hugs, holding hands, cuddles, and/or sex). Understanding the love languages that speak to us, can allow us to request that language from our partner, and in turn, understanding our partner’s love language can allow us to provide that for our partner.
For example, it is possible that Morticia’s love language is words of affirmation and that Gomez’ love language is physical touch. In turn, Gomez provides Morticia with words of affirmation, “You were so beautiful. Pale and mysterious. No one even looked at the corpse,” while Morticia gently strokes his face and hair when Gomez is distressed.
- Sex. To be fair, both Gomez and Morticia appear to identify with the physical touch and words of affirmation love languages. In fact, both appear to be sex-positive in their affectionate expression, openly displaying affection toward one another, discussing sex, and being sexually open and adventurous. “Talking about sex is more intimate than having sex,” says relationship expert and psychologist, Dr. John Gottman. People in a relationship are often too intimidated to talk about sex with their significant other. However, finding out each other’s desires and preferences can increase passion, sex-satisfaction, and relationship satisfaction.
Overall, Gomez and Morticia appear to be great role models for a genuine, loving, and affectionate relationship, which can last a lifetime.
Morticia: So... you still desire me after all these years? The old ball and chain?Gomez: Forever!
Morticia: I'll get them!