Finally, it’s Decision Day! While exciting, it’s also hard not to be a little cautious about getting too wrapped up in the excitement. After all, six weeks is more of an arbitrary deadline that’s more production driven than a time frame actually related to the couples’ relationships.
Maybe I’m (Aminda) a little jaded after Season 3, which featured this absolutely fun and likeable couple who were both totally into each other and chose, with hardly any hesitation, to stay married. By time the reunion show filmed, they had already broken up. Previews for this season’s reunion episode are already hinting that this might be the case again. That literally gets me choked up.
So, I had to go back and review what I wrote after the very first episode.
Hopefully they all find their happily ever after, but whether they do or don’t, I’m still going to enjoy sharing their experience. I’ve read a lot of social media comments from people describing the last two seasons as terrible failures because none of the couples stayed together. To which I want to respond, if you want a guaranteed love story go watch a scripted romantic comedy. Or even the Bachelor, where the couple is at least guaranteed to be together until the end of filming (whether they want to be or not). Personally, I don’t want there to be pressure on these couples to stay together for the audience. I want them to have permission to be true to themselves because that’s exactly what differentiates MAFS from most current reality TV.
I’m struggling with this right now. I still 100 percent agree that it has been a good season, despite the outcome. But… the reason it has been a good season it because these couples are all really likeable. Which makes me genuinely want them to find the lasting marriage they are looking for.
I’ve never had any doubts that Lilly and Tom have found that marriage. These two are solid. So the first hour of the finale was gut wretching to watch, as Lilly experienced ulcer-inducing panic over Tom’s indecision. It was crushing to hear Tom say that he’s starting to realize that “Lilly is not the exact person I was hoping for.” Thank God he came around to realize the truth in the fact that you can’t always get what you want… but sometimes you find you get what you need. It’s probably safe to say that NOBODY marries a cookie cutter image of who they think they think they want to be married to. NOBODY. (including you, Heather).
Now, being believers in a higher power, I give credit to God for not giving me (Aminda) exactly what I wanted in a husband. He’s not the man of my dreams. Nope, instead I got a husband who is so much more amazing than I ever could have dreamed up for myself. Just like Tom, who found his sexy, compassionate and loving Lilly, I tossed my stupid checklist out the window and let God rewrite it.
I can also see why Tom, even if he’s happy and not quite ready to break up, feels the need to consider all these different angles of their marriage. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on these couples to make a huge decision in a short time with a lot of outside stressors.
Anyway, back to the show. The vision board exercise is new this year, and seemed to mostly be a positive addition. It was just a little frustrating to hear Lilly and Tom basically set out the same goals without seeing it, because the means to their end are different. They both want a lifestyle of freedom and flexibility. Lilly wants it through building assets (that will produce passive income), Tom wants it by reducing assets. Tom, I respect the minimalist values but you might really appreciate Lilly’s hard work in 30-40 years. Just sayin.
The vision board experience was positive enough for Sonia to feel comfortable moving back in, at least for a night. Though Nick still seems slightly butt hurt that she didn’t move in sooner, how many times did Nick say that he wanted to have kids with Sonia? I really should have counted, as it was just about the most open Nick has been all season.
In an interview, Sonia mentioned that she and Nick had discussed how different things would be once the cameras were gone and life was a little more normal. Even Tom and Lilly (who Tom suddenly started calling Lillian during interviews… did that reflect his shifting emotions towards her?) seemed a little more strained and reserved in front of the cameras than usual. The whole joke about the matching outfits on the night before decision day just felt a little forced.
Speaking of forced, that’s exactly how the decision day outcome felt. Each person’s declaration felt so unnatural and disjointed, the way they had to tease the audience. Like, Lilly has been telling us for the past hour that she wants to stay with Tom, but then goes and says “I would like to grow in love, but I have decided that… Duh, duh, duuuuuuh….. I would like to stay married to you.
That makes NO sense at all, why pile on nervousness to an already tense situation by making her memorize something so ridiculous sounding. Come on, MAFS, that’s sinking to Bachelor-level lows.
It made a little more sense with Sonia, since she’s been on the fence. I mean, that was the longest commercial break ever leaving us hanging to hear her decision to stay married.
So, two couples stay married and after such a warm and fuzzy finale, it’s heart breaking to see Nick without his ring in the reunion show previews. Hopefully the ring is just getting cleaned… but that’s doubtful.
It was way fun to see the couples meet each other. I seem to remember in Season One, the three couples all met each other prior to decision day. Makes me curious about why that wasn’t carried forward, as it seems like it provided the couples some good support and outside perspective from people who actually understood what they are all going through. At least now they have that support to help them transition to off-camera life.