Season 4 of FYI’s “Married at First Sight” was a success with two couples choosing to stay married. Although the experts used scientific data to match them, the real work of marriage is just beginning.
So what advice would I give them after 37 years of marriage? First of all, it’s a challenge to meld two lives into one. It’s easier when you realize that you can’t change your partner, rather you can only change the way you respond to them.
During our struggles I had to ask myself, what is it about our relationship that brings out the best and worst in me? What do I do that brings out the best or worst in my husband? How can I change that narrative so I can de-escalate our conflict?
Secondly, I remember telling my children that I will always love them even though I was upset with a choice they made. When I said that, it separated my feelings for them from their actions. It took me YEARS to realize that marriage requires that same separation!
Thirdly, criticism and sarcasm have NO place in problem solving. When my husband and I started to work at resolving the ISSUE instead of placing blame on each other, BINGO!!! We soon realized there wasn’t anything we couldn’t overcome.
Lastly, the most imperative thing for me was to learn to forgive AND forget. Holding a grudge left my guts in a constant state of turmoil. I could never fully give myself because a piece of me was hurt and disengaged. I expected my husband to read my mind and KNOW why I was upset. Sounds crazy, right? But how many people make that same mistake? Through the years I’ve learned in order to truly have a successful marriage, you have to solve problems and then LET THEM GO.
Marriage is a wonderful thing, but it is certain to have ups and downs. My wish for Tom & Lilly and Nick & Sonia is that they can work as a team through good times and bad, and build a lifetime of love and happiness.