Married at First Sight Recap: Episode 6

Just a reminder that Married at First Sight is on the FYI TV Network and online at fyi.tv. This is the fourth season of MAFS. Each season, three couples get married to a partner picked out for them by a team of experts after a rigorous selection process. The show follows them for six weeks to see if they’ll make it as a couple.

The first five episodes have revolved around wedding planning, the actual wedding and the honeymoon. This week all that fun and excitement is over and the drudgery of real life begins. This episode focuses on two of three couples, since the third, Derek and Heather, started to self-destruct the second day of the honeymoon and are taking a couple days to rest, regroup and determine if the fledgling relationship can be salvaged. (It’s unlikely – previous seasons have never seen a couple recover from this type of discord so soon. )

They might have well called this episode “thrown Under the Bus, since, after weeks of suspenseful buildup, this episode’s climax was all about Lilly’s reaction to finally finding out Tom lives in a bus. But first, we need our mandatory opener of these two gazing into each other’s eyes like high school sweethearts, talking about how happy they are. And once again with Nick and Sonia are stuck in the friend zone. While Tom brags about their bedroom compatibility, poor Sonia is still lamenting that she doesn’t even know if her husband finds her attractive.(Wasn’t Nick’s mom supposed to check in now and then to make sure he’s been telling her he does?)

While these two couples are recapping their week of honeymoon bliss, Derek and Heather’s husband and wife mugs get forlornly behind like used shampoo bottles as little black clouds of gloom follow them out of the hotel and to the airport.

Soon the couples are en route to the reality of living together in place sans room service and housekeeping. The couples have three options for moving in together: A. his place B. her place, or C. a fresh new rental. Option C, while more expensive, usually seems healthier as it provides neutral territory and shared ownership, where neither person feels like a guest.

Nick and Sonia face their biggest obstacle yet as they introduce Sonia to Nick’s dogs. Sonia handles herself so gracefully with the dogs, that she feels Nick misunderstands that she actually has a “legitimate fear” stemming from a childhood incident.

The best foreshadowing quote from Lilly, “I can’t wait to see your place. You haven’t told me anything.” Then she pulls into a trailer park and she immediately wishes she has Dr. Pepper on speed dial because “what the F” is up with this bait and switch? The independent, financially secure man that she demanded does not live in a trailer park.

Fortunately for all of us romantics out here in TV land, she keeps an open mind. Tom has put in to make the bus a comfortable living space, with a dash of adventure (because she asked for that too, right). Well, comfortable until the lights and hot water go out on her during a shower. And then we’re all like

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A huge positive sign for these two is how well Tom was willing to move to a new place. Early on he mentioned that he’d broken up with previous girlfriends because they couldn’t accept the bus. Lilly doesn’t want to live the bus any more than they do, but simply the fact that she embraces it as part of what she admires about Tom, and Boom, that’s all it takes for him to.

Derek and Heather have an emergency meeting with Samuel L. Jackson Pastor Calvin, which is barely worth mentioning because nothing changes except we now have a bit of a cliffhanger regarding whether they’re going to last the full 6 weeks. In other words, we’ll find out if it in their contract to stay together for 6 weeks, or they’re released. Because they are clearly not choosing to stay together. (yes, I’m over being optimistic about these two.)

Next up is a MAFS first in which the couples are forced to reveal their salary and debt on national TV, then try to convince us that it’s only awkward telling the stranger they just married (which we’re not buying). In previous season, salary has been discussed in vague terms like “I’m financially secure.” Or not. Then we’re shown the rent costs of their new homes, so viewers can run the numbers and weigh in on whether the couples are making smart decisions and living within their means. I’m sure the social media trolls are having a blast with that.  (that, and with social worker Sonia rolling up in her Lexus)

Nick and Sonia find a home they love and don’t seem awkward at all talking about filling it with kids and dogs. (Sonia, he’s talking about making babies with you, please promise to never ever question whether he’s attracted to you?). Hopefully Nick realizes that the dogs have to stay out of the bed if kids are going to happen.

Lilly and Tom are full on adulting…. Lilly by cooking and Tom by washing his feet. Then our fave horny teens return to christen their new homes. Good night MAFS, see you next week!

Married at First Sight Recap: Episode 5

I’m getting caught up after a week off the grid! That’s right, my family really likes to road trip and camp, so we were disconnected for a while. We have lots of posts here on our pre-baby adventures, and we’ll be writing sharing what we’ve learned about camping with a baby. (We’ve written about plane travel with our little explorer.)

It’s a little surprising that another full episode of Married at First Sight is dedicated to honeymoons, given it’s only one week out of the six they have together prior to decision day. Maybe it’s the last time we’ll have all three couples together after Derek and Heather bail? But I’m jumping ahead.

We begin with Lilly and Tom, kissy faced and talking about falling in love with each other while Nick and Sonia are still in the friend zone. At least Sonia thinks her chaste week supersedes how she would have envisioned her honeymoon. Over another breakfast on the ironing board, they check in with each other about the previous night’s disagreement. Nick astutely points out that they followed a relationship commandment by not going to be angry. “Winning.”

A salsa lesson SHOULD be just the right thing to generate some romance between Sonia and Nick, but is instead just all sorts of awkward gringo Nick tripping all over himself. Then the enthusiastic instructor taking his duties a little too far when he coaches the couple on kissing, with an enthusiastic air kiss, MUWAHH. (like when our toddler gives me a big, sloppy open-mouth kiss, which is really him trying to bite my nose but I redirect it into a Muwahh kiss.)

Tom has a positive conversation with pastor Calvin, who helps Tom shed the heavy weight he’s been carrying about telling Lilly about bus sweet bus. “You don’t have to apologize for who you are, Tom,” says Pastor Calvin. Truth. With this burden lifted, Lilly can finally get through a day of her honeymoon without cryptic questions about exactly how “tiny” she can live. Under a stairwell? In a birdhouse? So, instead they make light banter on topics such as “what was your biggest failure.”

All of the couples head out for an adrenaline date because, as expert Rachel puts it, adrenaline and excitement translate well into the bedroom. (As rock climbers of course, we love this).

Tom and Lilly spend a ziplining outing complementing each other and waxing about how well they were matched. Nick and Sonia have progressed from friends to WNBA teammate status (that’s an option on Facebook, right?), as they compete to outperform each other in their various excursions, like kiteboarding and ATV-ing. Sonia let’s Nick “win” kiteboarding, although it’s barely a win, given his performance is barely noticeable until replayed in slow motion. (as he requested.)

Derek and Heather woke up playing nice for a few minutes and we were all, “hooray!” Thankfully, they seem to have moved on from their moral debate about whether smoking or drinking is more evil, but all sorts of crazy new debates creep in.

The couple goes surfing, even after the instructor makes the world’s worst joke about going out into shark infested waters. Of course this is only an excuse to hold Heather’s hand while out in the scary shark-filled surf. Derek’s jealously makes me think maybe he’s watched Along Came Polly too many times? “Hi, hello, are you for scuba?”

Derek and Heather immediately launch into a new debate about the definition of flirting which is grounds for an emergency conference call with pastor Calvin. While Heather is complaining that Derek is acting like a teenager, the other couples are also embracing their inner child. We see Lilly playing “hot lava” in the hotel room, while Nick and Sonia enjoy a yummy bed-timey snack (that’s what it was called in my house).

The last night of the honeymoon brings a romantic celebratory dinner. Tom carries Lilly to the table which is kinda sweet until he awkwardly maneuvers her into her chair. (Looking like I feel while positioning a toddler into his carseat without giving him a concussion on the door frame).

Heather follows pastor Cal’s advice to “knock the freaking walls down,” by getting sloppy drunk. Derek vascilates between optimism that she’s loosening up, flirting and having fun with him… then all of a sudden he’s complaining that she ruined the night by getting drunk. Which one is it, Derek?!!!

Then we get a glimpse into the Derek who has gone cold turkey from smoking and maybe the side of Derek that is so frustrating to Heather. Rational, positive well-spoken Derek suddenly busts out into a profanity laced rant about Heather being an old dog. Not cool, dude. I’m totally confused by these two – seems very unlikely that they’ll recover. What do you think, do you agree?

Married at First Sight Season 4 Recap: Episode 4, the Honeymoons

The suspense is really killing me this season. I mean, it does every season but this is like an emotional rollercoaster for the viewer. There is so much positivity and potential… then somber looking previews of Decision Day. I know I said that this season would be good not matter the outcome, and that’s still true. But gosh darn it, I want a happy ending for everyone!

So, we continue with the honeymoons, which expert Rachel tells are for “making happy memories. Then quickly learn that Tom and Lilly are making more than memories, they are making love.

According to Dr. Pepper the honeymoon allows them to relax now that their finally “alone”. Yes, totally alone with that camera crew in the hotel room. No big deal. We’re reminded of this when Tom and Lilly are filming a post-coital diary cam… with another camera on them, totally voiding the intimacy the diary cam is supposed to suggest. Tom’s Instagram gives us a peek at what the filming set up looks like.

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Source: Tom Wilson Instagram

Crazy. So, is their off-camera time pre scheduled, so they know exactly what time to expect the camera in the morning? Do they just get like an hour notice to get ready, or do they call down when they’re awake and ready to go? Wouldn’t it kill the mood knowing you have to kiss and tell all of America the next morning?

Tom sums up the previous night by saying “We were both nervous and shaking with excitement,” making it sound more like maybe they were actually robbing a 7-11 together. No sign of nervous twitching out on the beach as Tom and Lilly flirt like crazy and lotion each other up with and suavely lotions Lilly up. Tom casually mentions that he made them some temporary wedding rings, so they could leave their real ones in the safe. Stop right there. We know he’s into restoration work but how exactly did he just make some rings? Like did he swipe a lighter and tin can of Beef-a-roni while at the 7-11 and weld some tin bands?

Tom also tells us that before the wedding he was always expecting the worst and hoping for the best out of marriage. But that what he and Lilly got from each other was way beyond what they expected.

I LOVE this so much! I’ve always said that Josh is not the man of my dreams. What I found in him greatly exceeded all my dreams. I mean, c’mon our life is amazing! He’s amazing.

After a day spent frolicking in waterfalls, it starts to rain so Tom and Lilly recreate their wedding ceremony (In his People blog Tom says he actually repeated his wedding vows to her… awww.)

This reminds me of a bad joke. What’s worse than when it’s raining cats and dogs? Hailing taxis. Give yourself a minute. Got it? Good.

So with their crazy chemistry, it’s no surprise that Tom and Lilly were the first to do the deed. But Sonia opens up and admits that she has thought about it a lot (especially now that she’s seen him undressed) but is going to try hard not to have sex too quick. So, she and Nick continue creating some PG rated (not G, because there is a little bit of cleavage) honeymoon memories by going stand up paddle-boarding. Sonia is tackling her fear of water with this activity and “She’s kind of a badass,” sums up Nick.

This is also awesome because facing a fear together as a couple is SO powerful! So yes, Lilly and Tom, you do want to go skydiving together. We highly encourage this in our book. But this post from our team building blog explains how fear makes us vulnerable and builds mutual respect.

Nick and Sonia continue their fun day with a super lame looking horseback ride which was redeemed by the super romantic kiss they share beneath a waterfall at the end. A kiss that gave us viewers some hope that they aren’t actually just stuck in the friend zone while trying to convince themselves otherwise.

Meanwhile, the mood is more subdued with Heather and Derek as Derek’s smoking continues to create a divide between them. Heather confesses to him that she is super uncomfortable with his frequent smoking… and then should have stopped talking, instead of continuing on to tell him she is “so turned off”. That’s going to make any guy instantly defensive, and sure enough, Derek walks off feeling betrayed. Heather says she doesn’t know where to go from here and I’m yelling at her to please call Dr. Pepper, stat! Let her mediate this for you so you can enjoy the rest of your honeymoon!!

We’re ready to move on from this drama to more lovey-dovey sweetness, but instead are left like

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Because out of nowhere, the other two couples are fighting. Especially confusing was Sonia’s emotional reaction to Nick’s comment about not wanting to rush anything. Maybe we didn’t see the whole conversation? But our hearts sink when Sonia tells us “I’m kinda over him.”

Tom and Lilly’s fight stems from yet another one of his unsuccessful attempt to “tell” Lilly about the bus he lives in without actually telling her the truth. And now it’s feeling like maybe this confession is becoming a bigger thing than it needs to be? And also starting to feel like a Dr. Suess rhyme:

Would you like a tiny house? One that’s built more for a mouse?

Would you live there in that yacht? Now that we have tied the knot?

What about a bus for us? One that’s not a lot of fuss?

You may like it, you will see, you may like it there with me.

Both of these arguments feel like more of a reaction to the stress and exhaustion of the whole experience, not as if they are going to send the relationships off course. Unlike Derek and Heather, whose ship seems to have sailed into an iceberg, after a painful second attempt to reconcile their differences on the definition of occasional and whose vice is more offensive.

Reflecting on this exchange, Heather looks like she’s modeling for her own line of sad face emojis. And I’m sad for them too. Even sadder after reading all the stupid social media comments from mean trolls judging Heather. Stop, just stop. She’s a real person.

The previews tease that things are looking a little brighter for Derek and Heather next episode… can’t wait to find out!

 

Season 4 Married at First Sight Recap: Episode 3

The wedding night has arrived and is ushered in by an ominous reminder from pastor Roberson that although these couples just met and don’t know a lot about each other, ”they are husband and wife. Legally. Married.”. Dun, dun, duuuuuun.”

Tension builds as we, along with Nick’s friends, make bets on who will consummate that legal marriage, and who won’t.

Rachel advises the couples to approach the night with an “optimistic point of view.” And we hear a lot of optimistic comments from the couples, like Tom “Seeing her sexy lips grab the strawberry and tear into it – kind of a turn on”

One thing that isn’t a turn on is Sonia’s (who’s looking super cute in her retro PJ’s) subtle jabs to Nick’s masculinity. First she fears that he’s too scrawny to carry her over the threshold. Then later she describes him “definitely a little metro,” with “girly ways” after hearing that he is the “best ironer alive.” (which makes him a keeper to every woman alive)

Heather is the only one doesn’t leave us in suspense, telling us flat out that she has “No intentions of having sex”. Later she clarifies that she eventually does want to be intimate but is conscience of “not making this feel like a hookup.” OK, we can respect that.

Sonia is hit with the realization that what’s really weird about this whole situation is not being in a hotel room with a stranger (let’s remember that one-night-stands happen), but the fact that there’s a camera man document her wedding night.

But because she can’t admit that on camera, she takes a self deprecating approach. “I’m terrible at this”, to which Nick replies “you’re perfect”. So sweet and subtle, just like his “I love her” from the previous episode.

18t69yWe Nick’s friends wait impatiently as we get the token shot of the Do Not Disturb sign as the hotel room door closes, then we skip ahead to the morning-after diary cam. Everyone is lovey dovey, snuggling and kissing in bed. OK, except Derek and Heather. They are not snuggling, they are discussing their favorite vegetables. (and mom’s across America argue that corn doesn’t count as a vegetable, it’s a starch).

But it’s just a tease as one-by-one they reveal that all three couples had a chaste night. Maybe that’s a good sign, as only one MAFS couple has (confessed to) DTD on the wedding night and they didn’t stay together.

Tom is a fount of imagery and after saying that meeting Lily was like “sparks and lightning bolts.” It’s hard to believe their wedding night was so uneventful. He addresses that by confirming that he’s really excited to make it happen. And “not just because I’m horny.” He’s happy to wait for the moment that’s going to be “like a champagne bottle and explode.”

Once diary cam duty is completed, the couples get to find out where they are honeymooning. Nick will get his first passport stamp in the Dominican while flight-attendant Heather being all “yawn”, off to Puerto Rico again.

Heather should be thankful that Derek’s not headed to Jamaica (more on that later) like Tom and Lily, and that because the show is doing well enough to earn a little product placement this season, she don’t have to honeymoon in Phoenix in June. (yes, that really happened in season 3, and that couple never recovered).

The Season 4 couples get off easy at the post wedding family brunch, it seems that expert Rachel has briefed the families that this is supposed to be a time of “encouragement and support.” Not just a time to joke about what did or didn’t happen the night before (which we’ve seen in previous season). The families follow their marching orders, as Lily (rocking her beautiful new necklace from Tom) tells us that she hasn’t heard negative things from anyone.

Expert Rachel checks in before departure and encourages the couples to spend their honeymoon “making memories.” But Tom tells us that he plans to take a break from his champagne dreams for some serious talk. He has to prepare Lily for the reality that he lives in a bus.

Previews hint that maybe he doesn’t get around to this… but he at least starts dropping hints, getting her to swear that she could “live anywhere.” Anywhere, really? Like one of those “Tiny houses” anywhere? So, Tom is satisfied that he’s sufficiently prepped Lily and she is sufficiently not “high maintenance.” But Pastor Roberson doesn’t let him off the hook.

“One of the red flags for Tom,” says Roberson, “and I don’t want to throw him under the bus… but he lives in one.” Har har.

But then he continues on to point out that “It’s important that he tells Lillian because after the honeymoon… they’re going there.” Good point.

Fortunately, Tom has more tricks up his sleeve. “My thing is that I’d much rather eat some food before talking about issues. Because when you’re hungry nothing good happens. Brilliant. This is the kind of quote that should be on a motivation calendar.

Rachel also has some seriously great relationship wisdom “vulnerability is important for this process… being willing to show the sides of you that you might not think someone would fall in love with but the probably would.” As Sonia’s teary reaction tells us, that can be so hard, to believe that someone out there could not only put up with, but actually love things about us that we consider flaws.

Soon though, Sonia and Nick have jetted off on their honeymoon and are bonding over corny jokes (S: “It’s kinda hot”. N: “or I’m kinda hot?”) and solidifying their soulmate status based on a mutual dislike of mustard.

Derek and Heather start out joking about which super power they would choose. Oh wait, even that is serious because Heather has “thought about this multiple times. Because it’s a big deal.” She would speak every language (OK, that’s actually a really good one).

But what is an actual big deal is the major anxiety Heather is getting as she gets to know more about Derek beyond his kind, laid back façade (or maybe the reason he is so good natured). “Derek smoked right before dinner. If I was going out with a guy and he’d been smoking, no way I’d go out with him again.” This isn’t Derek’s only vice, he also likes to drink and gamble. “I don’t want to be judgmental,” says Heather. “I want to give Derek chance to be himself. I want to make sure I don’t start getting pissy about little things.” Eat some food, Heather, eat some food.

Before anyone goes crying foul that Heather shouldn’t have been matched with a smoker, Dr. Pepper jumps in to defend the team. “During the process, Heather said she didn’t mind if someone smoked occasionally and of course we respected that. The point of this experiment is to start with commitment. Stop looking for flaws and start looking for why they were matched.”

Unfortunately some more digging reveals smoking to be Derek’s daily habit, and a quick visit to dictionary.com declares Heather to be the winner in this semantics debate. Occasionally is defined as “irregulary”, so she is correct in that something done every day would not be considered occasionally.

So this may be a SPOILER ALERT ….. but a tweet from Heather indicated that maybe it’s not just cigarettes that Derek is smoking? And that it’s enough of a problem to break their deal/vows? Hopefully not!

heather seidel ‏@heather_mafs  Aug 8

My dealbreakers:

Anger issues

Violent tendencies

Substance abuse issues #realtalk

Married at First Sight Recap: The Weddings

Our wedding day episode resumes with the downpour that is memorializing Tom and Lily’s wedding. Lily is understandably freaking out as her beautiful updo melts to her face and her veil melts to the sidewalk. She finally commits to walking down the aisle and as Tom says “I see her and it feels really good. She is gorgeous. The fact that she’s still willing to walk down the aisle (in the rain) speaks volumes.” Truth.

We don’t learn whether Lily’s mother viewed rain at the wedding as an omen, but hopefully for her family it’s representative of positive things like fertility, cleansing, unity and renewal.

As Lily, Tom and the minister snuggle in under the only two umbrellas to be found, the women guests scramble to cover up with something that looks about as useless as a washcloth. The men are left to just shiver and soak.

Just as we’re all shouting at our TV’s telling them to move the ceremony indoors – there has to be an empty meeting room or even a lobby that can accommodate a small group for a few minutes –the sun comes out.

“He’s smiling, and I’m smiling too because he’s so handsome. I feel like I’m a very lucky girl.”

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And the attraction is…
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Mutual!

Phew, there seems to be a mutual attraction. This is a big deal, as past seasons have had couples with an attraction disconnect and it’s always a little awkward. It’s usually the girl who isn’t excited by her surprise dude, and let me tell you, you’ve got to be pretty cool, confident guy to handle hearing out on national TV that a girl doesn’t find you attractive (I’m looking at you, Doug from season 1).

Meanwhile, Heather has wisely chosen and indoor wedding. This is good because she’s already getting the pukey panics and the rain definitely would not be good for her stomach. We all know this feeling – like when you have an important presentation. Or you’re about to lead a hard rock climbing project (OK, so maybe not everyone has been there). Anyway, you’re jittery and your stomach is churning and you just want to cry, scream and throw up at the same time?

“He’s got a nice face. I’m kinda big on faces. He’s got a nice one.” OK, I love this glimpse into Heather’s dry humor! We learn that she is into hip hop, and that Derek has a dog named Josh (great name!)

Lucky for Heather, her beachy indoor ceremony is tasteful affair. The first couple seasons had some pretty terrible décor where not much was done to improve the drab, austere conference room, just adding to the discomfort of the whole thing.

So we’re two for two with the mutual attraction, setting the scene for much worry by Sonia and Nick about being found attractive by their spouse. We’re left hanging a couple times, first when Sonia hesitates for an uncomfortably long moment before saying “I Do”, leaving Nick’s mom literally on the edge of her seat.

While Nick is not forthcoming in confessing his attraction in person, we do hear voiceover’s of him saying things like “She’s very pretty – I couldn’t have asked for more of a beautiful bride,” which were clearly interviews done at some point in the future. Because all he gives us when his bride appears is “I’ll take that.” Like, to go with a drink and side of fries???

Nick is really uncomfortable about giving a strange woman a compliment. In everyday life, there’s a risk that a guy would come off as creepy or leering, but on your wedding day… it’s kind of important, at least according to Nick’s mom who says she’ll talk to him about this grave omission, immediately contradicting last week’s proclamation that she would be a mother in law that “minded her own business”. Well, maybe she did remember to mind her own business, because instead of Nick coming forward with a compliment, Sonia’s mom essentially forces poor Sonia to as Nick herself, as she translates for her mother. Cringe.

So, finally we’re three for three mutual attractions. One of the changes made to the matching process this season was to submit photos of exes to gauge the time of person they’re attracted too. Seems to have worked, yay!

Eventually the couples and their families are feeling better about this whole weird situation and we get tons of feel-good, alcohol induced sentiment.

Tom’s sister tells Lily that after seeing immediate chemistry between the two of them, he gets her blessing. “Your family is so sweet and so warm, I feel like it’s our gift that we get you.”

Derek’s mom tells Heather that “as crazy as I thought this was when I heard about it, I don’t think that any more. I just like you.”

Nick, who couldn’t tell his bride that she looked nice, now has enough liquid courage to tell her friends that “I love her. I might have found love at first sight.”

After so much surgery sappiness, we need clear our palate, so Lily’s sister throws in some salt with some drama about not being included in the bridal party. Honestly what was most uncomfortable to me was that the sister referred to the groom as Tommy. Please don’t give an adult an adult man a nickname ending in a “Y” without permission.

Just like the conversation, the dancing loosens up as the alcohol flows. Nick succinctly describes the first dance “We got past the 1st grade level, almost got around to 8th grade, 9th grade, almost senior year.” Then the night winds down and we’re off for the wedding night. The word chemistry is thrown around by all couples but of course we’re left hanging as to whether the marriage will be consummated and whether or not Nick’s best man loses all his money from betting against them.

And just as the show ends and we’re all wiping away tears of happiness, we’re treated to a montage of dramatic season preview clips. Fights and tears that leave us doubting that any one of them are going to last.

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.

What do you think, any predictions on who will stay together and who won’t? Which couple would you like to have as guests as a dinner party?

Recap: Married at First Sight, Episode 1

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I’m just as excited for the return of MAFS as sweet Sonia is upon hearing the news that she’s matched

Married at First Sight is back! I’m (Aminda) obsessed with this show, the fourth season premiered this week. If your cable doesn’t include the FYI Network on which the show airs, or you missed because, um Bachelorette MTA, no worries, you can catch MAFS at FYI.TV.

 

The show opens with a brief explanation of its raison d’etre – help singles find the partnership of their dreams. Apparently, the modern dating scene, with countless ways to meet people, makes it easier to find dates but more difficult to find love and commitment. Is that like how buffet restaurants are full of lots of things that are OK to eat, but not really anything we want to make an entire meal of?

The process starts with a large-scale audition designed to winnow out three compatible couples to be set up in arranged marriages. Yes, legally binding marriages, that will require a divorce if they wish to separate. The show films for six weeks, requiring them to stay together at least that long (and hopefully longer!)

Before you go judging this show as degrading… well, give it shot. There’s actually tons of relationship wisdom. It’s not quite the role-driven, frankenbite-laden, ominous music-filled sensation that is the Bachelor.

These are arrangements with a modern twist (FYI Network also has a show on traditional arrangements. It’s called Arranged). A team of experts shoulder the responsibility for the matchmaking – all with different professions but fields that allow them insight into human behavior and relationships. Dr. Pepper Schwartz is a sociologist, Rachel DeAlto is a dating and relationship coach and Calvin Roberson is a pastor and counselor. Rachel and Calvin are new this season, so it will be fun to get to know them!

The Couples

The intense matchmaking process involves extensive questionnaires, interviews and background checks. So, out of thousands, the selected couples are:

Nick and Sonia: quirky, caring Sonia is matched with reserved Nick because they share values, education, ambition and have a similar “energy”.

Derek and Heather: Flight attendant Heather is matched with optimistic Derek because they are both attractive and intelligent with good temperaments and similar thinking patterns.

Tom and Lillian: creative, free spirited Tom is matched with affectionate Lillian because they will motivate each other’s entrepreneurial pursuits and because Lillian has the love Tom wants. (no mention of whether Tom has anything to offer Lillian – hopefully there’s more to this match!)

Of course all of them explain how they are ready to marry and settle down after flailing unsuccessfully in the Miami dating scene. The first two seasons of MAFS were filmed in New York City and the third in Atlanta, so this is the first opportunity for Miami singles.

OK, I have to wonder if the experts make any extra contingency matches? Like, in case people just can’t find the time to take this on, or they bail?

Sharing the News

After a matched individual finds out that they have two weeks until they are married to a stranger, their first task is to alert their friends and families. Kudos to all six of them for being able to eloquently share this crazy news without a script, or a teleprompter.  Waiting until after the alcohol had been served was definitely a smart move.

The families, not having time to rehearse their response, are not quite as articulate. We’re first introduced to Nick’s mom who we later find out is very well spoken, however being choked by this bombshell, her reaction is a pleading “No. Nononono.” Sonia’s dad can only spit out a single syllable “huh?” and Tom’s brother a “what?!” Then Derek’s mom is stunned completely speechless.

After they get a few moments to check and see if they’re being pranked (Oh wait, the camera’s aren’t hidden. Or is that part of the prank?)  the families resign themselves to the reality of the situation and muster up some support, like Nick the high five and “go for it” Nick gets from his mom’s boyfriend.

Planning and Shopping

We actually see very little planning, which makes me assume that there is a wedding planner is involved in putting these weddings together in two weeks (I will have to find out). What’s really missing is the cake tasting, because that definitely the best part of wedding planning.

All we get to see is the tux, ring and dress shopping. All six appear to go to the same ring shop and talk to the same salesman, who acts surprised each time he’s told that they don’t know their spouse-to-be.

Tom jokes about wearing a Dumb and Dumber tux, while the producers prompt Lillian to tell us that she hopes her groom to be won’t be wearing a bright orange or baby blue tux. She clearly doesn’t get the movie reference as she seems completely clueless about why there’s a risk of those very specific colors making an appearance.

Sonia says she hopes her groom sees her in her dress and thinks “damn, she’s hot”. Based on previews, it seems this might be a little foreshadowing. Meanwhile Lillian and her friends debate pearls vs no pearls while Heather’s team debates watermelons.

So I can’t decide which would be more stressful for a woman… planning a wedding in two weeks, or the stress of having two weeks until being filmed for TV (hair, nails, spray tan, facial, brows, lashes, diet, NOW!)

Bachelor(ette) Parties

The couples get some relief from the ulcer-inducing stress of having two weeks in the form of an alcohol drenched bachelor party.

Good guy Nick disappoints his juvenile friends (who are really into hamming it up for their 15 minutes of fame) by not spilling any juicy drunk secrets.

While Tom parties in an ice bar, it’s Sonia who tells us her feet just aren’t cold, they’re freezing. Tom’s friend Chris’ brain appears to freeze up too, as he morphs from the funny RomCom sidekick to creepy drunk guy with some weird, slobbery message to the bride to by about how “Tom’s coming for you”.

Derek piously swears not to do anything that he would not be proud to tell his wife the following day, setting him up perfectly for a lap dance. Then he swears that they kept the night classy and PG, just like his cuddle-filled wedding night will be.

Derek also tells us that he’s afraid that it will be an ex-girlfriend he finds walking down the aisle. OK, so this would be a valid fear if the show was filming in Arlington Iowa, but Miami, a city of 5.5 million, how many exes does this guy have? Even Tom is afraid he’ll encounter a Tinder match – or at least one he’s swiped left. (What are the chances? I’d say like one out of million)

The Wedding Day

A cute tradition on the show is to have the couples exchange pre-wedding gifts with their mystery spouses. Sonia gets cold feet socks from Nick to keep her freezing feet from running away like she feels like doing. Nick’s friends approve of the scotch he receives from Sonia, though the alcohol still doesn’t give him the diarrhea of the mouth his friends hope for, so they come up with the brilliant suggestion that he throw himself in the ocean if he’s not attracted to his bride (hmmm… more foreshadowing?). Fortunately Nick’s cute mom is more optimistic that everything is going to be alright, including her own performance as a mother- in law. (though she’s right that most women do appreciate a mother-in-law who mind’s her own business.)

Heather is, understandably, having a bit of stage fright and not feeling herself.  This can’t be an unfamiliar feeling for a flight attendant, so hopefully she works through it.

Lillian has a meltdown about Tom’s bad-omen gift of a pearl necklace while Tom insists it’s a classy, traditional gift with absolutely no hidden meaning. Hey, at least he didn’t write anything in her card about a school boy.

Tom describes his wedding day feelings like waiting in line for a rollercoaster. A perfect analogy since rollercoasters are always awesome and worth the wait. Unfortunately roller coasters do get shut down due to inclement weather, and that’s exactly what happens as the wedding is about to begin, and where we’re left hanging this week.

Messy Marriage

Want to Re-Kindle Your Love Life? Try These Tips.

So, instead of documenting our honeymoon (Belize! Snorkeling! Fun!), we’re excited to have Keelie Reason of Love Hope Adventure  share her tips for keeping the honeymoon feeling alive, long after it ends. Good stuff, thank you, Keelie!

Here’s what Keelie has to say.

My husband and I have been married for 13 years! In the grand scheme of life, 13 years, isn’t that long, but in marriage it can take the death toll on your relationship if you don’t actively work against it. Many people get into a rut in their love life when they have been married for even a few years.

Over the last few years, we have worked even harder to keep the spark alive in our marriage. I think that we hit a bit of a rut when our kids were babies and toddlers. That is when we implemented these things into our relationship that truly awakened our love for one another once again.

Regular Date Nights Are a Must

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, that date nights are important to your marriage, but I’m telling you again, this is so important. You and your spouse need to have times throughout the month where you retreat from the world into one another. Going out on a date is a great way to reconnect and feel excited about your love for one another.

When it comes to regular, you and your spouse need to determine what that means for you. I would suggest no less than monthly. Even if you are unable to go out on your date, you should dedicate a night of the month to have an at-home-date night.

Carve Out Time For Love Making

When I say to make time for sex, I don’t just mean frequency. I’m talking about setting aside at least an hour on to make love to one another on a regular basis. Again, you will need to decide what regular means for you and your spouse.

Decide a night that you can devote a lot of time to spending it together in intimacy. During this hour or so, you can try new things with one another and find ways to please each other that you haven’t done before. It is so important to be adventurous in the bedroom with one another.

Say “Thank You” Every Day

We all like to be told “thank you” for the things we do. Sometimes, this common courtesy is something that we forget to extend to our spouse. It really makes a huge difference in your attitude and their attitude when you find something to thank them for.

Every day, come up with something you can tell your spouse you appreciated that they did. This will cause you to see the little things they do. Also, it helps them to feel more confident in what they do for you.

Flirt With Each Other

Find ways to flirt with your spouse. It is so important to come up with fun ways to let them know you like them. Some of the ways you can flirt with them might be to pinch their butt, text them something private, whisper in their, or anything you like to do to communicate you enjoy them.

These are a few of the ways that you can re-kindle your love life with your spouse. No matter how long you’ve been married, all of these things can be beneficial to your relationship.

Keelie is married to her high school sweetheart and is the mom of three awesome boys. She is a creator and loves sharing with the world around her. One of her biggest passions is to help married couples fall deeper in love with one another. You can read her marriage tips at Love Hope Adventure.

Messy Marriage

A Perfect Proposal

We can’t say it was a “picture” perfect proposal because we’ve never been the best picture takers, and don’t have any from the actual proposal (and very few from the weekend). So, we keep the moment is engraved in our memories.

The surf teamed with leopard sharks as we launched our tandem kayak and paddled out towards the open sea. After an hour or so, we stopped to rest our arms. With the beach in the distance, our only company was a pelican and the stillness only broken by the hacking barks of sea lions. I turned around to talk to Josh and was surprised with a proposal!

How long had Josh been working to set up this perfectly romantic scene? All of 24 hours. But I’ll let Josh tell his own story…

It Starts With the Ring

Shopping for the engagement ring was lame. It was not my favorite thing. Everywhere I went I was upsold. If I had had access, I would have made my own.  I’ve always been creative and grew up going to art fairs with my mom. I also wanted a personal touch. When I was a kid, my dad made my mom a wooden mirror. It was beautiful and fantastic, the perfect gift. That definitely left an impression, so I’ve always believed that anything special in life should be personal.

I thought about finding a hippy jewelry maker but ran into the challenge of where to buy a stone. I still plan to create a ring some day, but didn’t want to delay the proposal too long, so I ended up going corporate, but at least chose something meaningful; the design has the feel of a dihedral with a chockstone).(it’s beautiful and perfect, Aminda butts in to add)

So, finally I can move on to the proposal. It has to be on top of a rock. Where else, dinner? Aminda was obsessed with climbing. She had seen some pictures online of a place in Big Bear, California that looked to have a perfect pinnacle. We made plans to go over Labor Day weekend.  The area turned out to be a little disappointing compared to the pictures. After two days we felt we had fully sampled the routes. And that cool pinnacle? Was really a 20-foot boulder overlooking a parking lot. There isn’t really such thing as a bad summit—  I didn’t need to waste time chasing the perfect towering peak with  breathtaking view – but this one just wasn’t inspiring. So, I started thinking about what else was cool to do in the area. I had really enjoyed my time kayaking in La Jolla Cove and Aminda had never been, so it seemed like the perfect detour.

I had been carrying the ring around all weekend in a zippered pocket and moved it to our daypack for our kayaking. (Aminda definitely noticed how overproctective he was being with the backpack, but didn’t catch on, she was still surprised!) I was kind of winging it, didn’t really know how to do it out there in a compressed space and with Aminda’s back to me. But I for sure wasn’t going to back down— if I didn’t do it on the water, the only other option would be on the beach and that would be way too lame. Plus, I was happy to get the ball rolling on our wedding!

5 Fears of Flying with a baby (and how to get over them)

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Happy baby on his first flight

Of the billions of people who have walked the earth, most of them have never traveled more than a few miles beyond their birth place. If you are reading this, you are among a very privileged few with the opportunity to explore all of God’s great earth and meet so many beautiful people. So save your pennies, plan your time and don’t let fear hold you back from giving the gift of travel to your children.  The thought of traveling with a baby can be daunting for new parent so here is some encouragement from our own experience, with help from an online community of moms.

  1. Screaming baby on the plane

So, there’s no guarantee a baby won’t act up on the plane. However, babies are

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Ready for takeoff

more likely to fuss during takeoff and landing, when air pressure changes cause discomfort. The easiest way to alleviate this discomfort is through sucking: nursing, bottle or pacifier. With any luck, a younger baby will simply fall asleep. Older babies requiring more entertainment benefit from a small assortment of new toys. So, make a dollar store run in preparation or, like Josh prefers to do, simply make new toys out of convenient objects like a bag of airplane peanuts. Also bring some antibacterial wipes so baby can explore his/her surroundings.

  1. Security will be a huge hassle

Nobody likes to wait in those endless, snail-paced security lines, so a baby can actually give you (and others nearby) a pleasant distraction from the wait. Use a baby-wearing carrier to keep your hands free for easier removal of shoes, liquids and laptops. As a bonus, the family will even be invited on a special trip through the old-timey metal detectors, in lieu of a body scan. Did baby distract you from fully separating your liquids or emptying your pockets? Fortunately, nothing cracks the exterior of even the sternest TSA officer like a smiling baby.

Traveling with breast milk? No problem. Just set it out as you would other liquids. At international airports, agents don’t blink an eye – they’ll simply have you step aside with them while they scan the bottle. If you don’t have the milk packed in something obvious like a bottle, consider alerting them to the contents as your bag is going through the scanner, rather than waiting for them to dig it out and attempt to identify. (I have been told that traveling with milk can be a little trickier when traveling without the baby, so prepare to be patient and maybe with some baby pictures)

  1. Managing Mountains of Luggage

Not only are you travelling with an extra person who’s incapable of carrying their own luggage, you have to carry the person!

The bad news when packing is that babies require frequent clothing changes. The good news is that baby clothes are small and compressible. Instead of a ton of extra cloths, pack bibs and layers that can help minimize clothing changes.

But what really creates the mountains isn’t the tiny baby clothes, it’s all those big, bulky car seats, strollers and beds? Baby-wearing is an easy way to eliminate the stroller (We’re still traveling sans stroller at 10 months). Many other items can be rented, borrowed or purchased cheaply at your destination.  Consider keeping a Pack N Play at a frequently-visited family member’s home, renting a car seat along with the car and using a crib from the hotel. If little one will be flying as a lap baby, the car seat can be checked at ticketing (for free), meaning you can at least move through the airport with a light load.

If you end up traveling regularly, a variety of lightweight, portable baby gear is available from inflatable beds to gadgets that allow your carry-on bag to easily carry your carseat or even your child.

  1. It will all just be too stressful

Babies pick up on stress. The more you stay relaxed, the better chance baby will too. It helps to make sure you are prepared. This could mean creating a check list, packing in advance, getting up extra early the day of the flight – whatever it is that will help you personally to feel more prepared. Nothing creates stress like running late, so definitely plan extra time.

I always assume we’re going to leave half an hour late. When planning our departure time, I set a goal time ½ hour earlier than needed and work backwards from there to determine our pre-departure schedule. For example, if we need to get of house no later than 11:00a.m., than I plan to put the baby down for a nap by 8:30a.m., so he is awake by 10a.m. and we have time for a snack, diaper and clothing change before a 10:30 departure. Which will be 11a.m. in reality, because the baby will, off course, immediately poop his diaper. Then we end up shoving last minute items into our bags and double-checking that the doors are locked, and the air conditioning is off. (Oh wait, I was supposed to be explaining why family travel isn’t stressful. Oops!)

  1. Travel will be a waste of Money

Children under two fly for free or reduced price, making the investment easier to stomach. So that means you don’t have to question going because “baby won’t remember the trip.” You’re only paying for mom and dad’s memories. Yes, travel with a baby will be different than solo travel. Days will be shorter and the pace will be slower. Sights will be missed. But even though your baby may not fully understand what they are seeing, it is always a joy and a gift to discover the world through a child’s eyes, whether near or far.

What did we miss? Please share your tips or travel success stories!