This week on FYI‘s Married at First Sight, the honeymoons are over and real life begins. This was a tough week to watch, but it is a reminder that marriage isn’t always easy.
I thought about how perception plays into not only how we communicate with others, but also how we judge what we see. Let’s take a further look into the three relationships this week.
Derek and Heather
Two or more people often perceive a situation in radically different ways. It’s human nature to cling to a first perception, even if it is wrong. After an opinion of someone is formed, it’s common to hang on to it and use it to fit our own personal narrative. We respond in a way that specifically looks for examples to fit that perception.
Judgment of ourselves is commonly done with a less critical eye than the judgment of others. Our own vices can be viewed as, “letting off steam” while another’s can be perceived as, “a sign of weakness”.
An uncharitable attitude towards our partner can lead to harsh judgments. We often become detached and emotionally unavailable.
One of the biggest assets that a person can have in a marriage is the ability to change. If you have that as part of your character, then anything is possible. ~ Pastor Calvin Roberson
This advice from Pastor Cal is key for Derek and Heather (and all successful relationships). We see Derek admit that he is not perfect and wants to work on making himself a better person. The question is, can Heather humble herself, admit she also needs to grow and be willing to change her perception of Derek and this marriage?
Nick and Sonia
Perception of others is subjective and is deeply rooted in how we view ourselves. Our personal experiences and expectations can influence our behavior and how we respond.
The ability to have empathy and a willingness to walk in another’s shoes is key to building relationships. Think about what it would be like if you woke up tomorrow 30 years older or younger, a different gender or ethnic group, wealthy or in sudden poverty? Our responses would be remarkably different than they are now.
Empathy is suspending judgement and acknowledging the ideas and thoughts of others. It’s setting aside personal opinions to take on different viewpoints. Listening, asking questions and reflecting on the answers, are key when developing empathy.
The major obstacle we see for Nick and Sonia is his two dogs. Nick is actively trying to understand Sonia’s fears and Sonia is seeking to understand Nick’s love for his pets. They are modeling great compassion for one another. But will Sonia be able to change her perception of the dogs and overcome her fear? If not, is Nick willing to compromise for the sake of their marriage?
Tom and Lilly
How happy you are in a relationship can have a huge impact on how you perceive things. Behavior that is seen as annoying in one relationship can be looked at as satisfying in another. What impacts that perception? The level of emotional investment.
Feeling respected and cared for allows us to have genuine concern for our partner’s feelings. We are open to understanding their fear, their joy and their pain.
The choices we make on how to act or speak influence how others perceive us. One person’s decision about what to say can trigger the other person’s response. When you are feeling secure in a relationship, your world is very different than when you are feeling insecure. This self-perception directly correlates to how we respond in situations of stress.
Lilly supports Tom’s simplistic way of life, even though she doesn’t feel there is room for the two of them in his bus. Tom realizes that although the bus may have identified who he is as a single person, he now has to take his wife’s needs into consideration. They’ve come to an agreement on a temporary home, but can they find a compromise for the long haul?
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