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Married by Mom and Dad: Why these relationships could work out

A recent episode of TLC’s Married by Mom and Dad included some couples meeting their future spouse for the first time, others ending their journey for love, a marriage at the altar even before their meeting and a honeymoon in wine country.

More: Married by Mom and Dad tackles arranged marriage in America

The show opens with John and his parents meeting his future bride in a dress store. John Coultrip and his parents seemed very excited for him to meet his bride, Chandlar. Chandlar seems to be concerned that she is just getting to know John, while “he is starting to have second thoughts,” as anyone would without really knowing their partner. This episode showcases the anxiety setting in for some of the couples, which seems justified considering they are marrying strangers.

The show continues with Marivic Febiar and her father exploring the process of Marivic finding love on TV. Marivic makes a poignant statement to the camera, saying she will stay single, accept where she is and appreciate her family. The acceptance of where she is tells all of us that sometimes we can’t force what we want to happen. Time is an important concept in relationships, and with time I have no doubt she will find a partner — just not through this medium.

More: Why technology might actually be making dating worse

Marivic’s parent’s supported the process but decided it was not something they wanted to continue. Father and daughter have a heart-to-heart and work things out in a touching moment, displaying that sometimes things turn out differently — but maybe better — than we expect. She ends the quest to find a husband, but her mother states, “We are closer.”

Christina Rollyson meets her groom at the altar in South Carolina, with the couple’s families looking on. A discussion ensues between her future husband, Tom Haas, and his friends on the challenges of never meeting the women he is going to marry. He fears, “She won’t walk away.” He seems optimistically confident and excited at the prospect of getting married, as Christina hopes her fairy tale comes true. She appears nervous as she walks down the aisle with her father, where she and Tom meet for the first time with some smiles and laughs. She says, “My life is about to change,” and worries whether or not they’ll like each other. The concept of an adventure and surprise really suits this couple, as they really had not met until their wedding day. They seem genuinely excited to go on this journey together.

Arranged marriages have been around for a long time, and though an unorthodox way to wed now, this show helps remind us that love comes with adventure, risks and hope. A typical relationship might not start out with this amount of mystery and risk, but that doesn’t mean these couples can’t be just as successful as those who date before their engagement. Love comes in different ways and forms.

The important lesson to take from this show and the many other dating and relationship shows is that love can grow fast or slow, conventionally or in an unorthodox way. What matters in the long term really is exemplified by some great research from John Gottman. He discusses his seven principles for love in an article entitled, “How to Keep Love Going Strong.” Couples should know each other’s goals, worries and hopes; nurture fondness, build emotional connection; share decision making and respect; problem solve together; be able to overcome obstacles together; and create shared meanings.

If these Married by Mom and Dad couples can find Gottman’s seven principles, they are on their way to a successful union.

More: What Married at First Sight gets wrong about relationships

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