7 Things 'Married At First Sight' Can Teach Us About Love, Life & Commitment
If there is anything at all that this season of Married at First Sight has taught us, it is this: love is hard, y'all. For those of us who grew up with divorced parents especially, we didn't get to see how that four letter word works in real life. For us, the only kind of love we saw was the kind on TV and in movies, where fairy tales came true and no one ever argued over paying the cable bill. Enter Married at First Sight, A&E's reality television show that pairs up expertly matched strangers and asks them to marry each other. Crazy, right? Totally insane? A recipe for disaster? You would think so. But, as the couples move in together and face seesawing attraction, conflicts over communication styles, and lack of affection, you start to realize that this is the closest thing to real relationships on TV these days.
So, aside from comforting us in our time of emotional turmoil, what else can the show teach us? Well, it can teach us A TON about ourselves. But, more importantly, it can teach us even more about commitment, communication, and how — among all of that — we build and maintain love through all of that.
1. It takes a long time to love someone — and that's ok!
Jess and Ryan almost ended everything on the last night of their honeymoon. The butterfly phase of their relationship came to a fast end, and they lived in silence for a number of weeks following. It was brutal. Then, slowly but surely, they figured out a way to better communicate and started to discover new things that they liked in each other. You might know after six weeks that you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, but you might not. You might not even know after six years. It takes a long time to love someone, guys. Slow and steady wins the race.
2. Commitment is a decision you make over and over again, every single day.
The fact that these couples have to decide, after six weeks, whether or not they want to stay married is a difficult choice to make after so little time. No one could make it out from under that pressure intact! Marriage is about committing to committing to a person every day. It's about saying, "I will choose you every single day, for the rest of my life." Giving the couples the option to opt out after six weeks may build drama into the show, but it isn't doing their marriages any favors.
3. Talk to other people who have been there.
It helps to have friends who will be real with you. The kind who will tell you, "Oh yeah. We almost broke up seven times in the first month." Like when Sean and Davina go away for the weekend, and talk to a couple who were literally in divorce court at one point in their marriage. Finding people you can share your frustrations with, and who will tell you it's totally normal, is an important part of any relationship. Ignore the jerks who talk about knowing from the first moment they met that they were meant to be together. Those people are totally crazy.
4. Looks don't matter. Really. They Don't.
Jaclyn almost threw away an amazing relationship because she wasn't instantly attracted to him. Had they not been forced together for six weeks, she said, she wouldn't have given him a second date. This is what I always think about when it comes to looks: Sure, hot guys are hawt, but, eventually, I am going to get old. My hair is going to thin, my boobs are going to sag, and, if I am lucky enough to live until I am 90, I will eventually look like a 90-year-old. What will I care about more when I look like that? That my husband used to be hot when he was young, or that he was always committed to me, to our relationship, and to making it work? Yeah. That's what I thought.
5. If you think it's not about you, it is.
Sorry, Davina. No matter how much it might seem like it's the other person's fault, it's pretty easy to project our fears and baggage onto other people. Davina often blames Sean for his lack of affection, but, in a therapy session, it became clear that Sean's lack of affection is because she is constantly making him feel like a failure. Emotions can take us on a wild ride. Try to take a step back when you are in the worst of it, and identify where they're coming from before things get too far gone.
6. You sometimes have to hit rock bottom in order to get stronger.
As devastating as it was for Jaclyn, if Ryan hadn't told her that he was having doubts about their relationship, the two of them would have never talked about all of the things that were bothering them. Having that hard conversation helped them to see each other more clearly, and to come out on the other end even more committed to each other. Conflict always sucks, but, if you can come out of it even stronger, your relationship will be better for it.
7. Do nice things for each other.
I know it is sometimes a lot of work when all you want to do is sit on the couch and veg out for an entire Sunday, but going out of your way to make your significant other a nice meal, or to get them tickets to Jurassic World so they can relive their childhood, not only sets the tone for more kindness in the relationship, but can also make the other person feel really cared for.
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