03 Jun Where are the relationship experts when they’re needed?

Been watching channel 9’s Married at First Sight? We’ve reached episode 3, the weddings and honeymoons are over, and our newly-weds are now settling into their first days of co-habitation with their respective partners.

lachie and claire

But where are the relationship experts when they’re needed? Surely this is the time to be coaching, guiding, and educating the couples (let alone the viewing public) about effective communication and relationship building skills?

Is it just me who is feeling like these poor suckers have been thrown under the bus?

Hopefully episode 4 will prove me wrong, but after episode 3, I’m pretty cranky that the producers aren’t getting their proclaimed relationship experts to actually use their knowledge in constructive ways, rather than merely speaking to camera and sounding knowledgeable.

How cool would it be if they were actually using their knowledge directly with the newlyweds to help them create relationships that work?

I’m worried that a messy pummelling is slowly unfolding for at least a few of the couples, and it’s going to happen in a very public and painful way. Possibly with far reaching consequences for the unlucky ones who can’t make it work.

At least one of the husbands found himself on the receiving end of some advice, albeit from his own mother. Not keeping bottles of beer in the linen cupboard is not exactly mind-altering (nor marriage saving), but was nonetheless a reasonable tip for Alex, who was about to welcome his new bride onto his home turf. So far Alex and Zoe are handling their differences and challenges with a healthy degree of humour and collaboration… and they deserve some credit for these positive indicators for relationship success.

Clare and Lachlan, on the other hand, are (so far) unwittingly giving Australia a first class demonstration of how NOT to build a successful relationship.

The three relationship experts should know a lot about relationships, and indeed I wondered whether John Aiken was referring to Dr John Gottman’s internationally respected marriage research when he explained that “it’s how you argue that’s really important… the first three minutes are vital”.

But why isn’t John Aitken telling this directly to poor Clare and Lachlan?

If I could have a chat with the pair, I’d be handing them as much valuable marriage research and information as I could manage, and on a gold platter!

Starting with: it is indeed how you argue that’s important… so let’s get you both arguing better! Research (let alone logic) tells us that those first few minutes are vital to the outcome of a heated or difficult conversation, and very reliable indicators of a relationship’s long term success.

If we broach a topic by speaking in an argumentative tone, if we are defensive, critical, or contemptuous, if our body language is saying one thing but our words say another, we are stacking the odds against healthy resolution of any issue… and this is before any real problem solving even takes place!

Is it just me who is screaming at the producers to give these guys a hand?

Couldn’t one of the experts jump into the frey, stop Clare and Lachlan in their tracks, and impart some real and life changing relationship education that may actually help them develop their lovely chemistry and attraction, into a relationship that really thrives? Isn’t that what they really signed up for? And isn’t that what a program like this should be all about?

I await episode 4 with baited breath, and say a little prayer to the Love Gods for our couples… they sure do need all the help they can get.