A couple without chemistry is doomed to fail
We were all shocked when we first saw the Married At First Sight show that aired on DSTV’s Lifetime channel.
The premise of the show is simple; you are literally marrying a stranger, and only learning their first name at the alter before the nuptials!
South Africans also wanted a piece of the innovative pie, so the South African version was launched that saw complete strangers saying “I do”.
Surprisingly, none of the South African couples who signed up stayed together after the first season of the show. All of them opted to get a divorce.
Does this mean the love at first sight myth has finally been debunked?
The show uses professionals to match up the couples, ranging from clinical psychologists to financial planners, to ensure that the marriage is perfect in every sense.
But where did it all go south?
Psychologist Sthembile Mkhize, who has seen the show, says she does not believe that the couples on the show called it quits because they married strangers.
“We all marry strangers in the bigger scheme of things, if you really think about it. The person you are married to was not a family member or your mother’s child, but a stranger that you met at some point and took a liking to.
“Where I feel the show fell short was rushing to the marriage part of things. Yes, the show was a social experiment, but marriage is a lifetime commitment, and literally a lawful contract,” Mkhize says.
“So, entering into a relationship when you are still trying to get to know someone, yet having the yoke of marriage on your shoulders already can only spell a total disaster.”
Mkhize also thinks that although the couples on the show were brought together by a team of experts that she respects, there are several aspects that go into a successful marriage that cannot be force-fed to people:
“You cannot teach people chemistry. Oftentimes people mistaken attraction with chemistry, yet they are two completely different things. You can be attracted to someone, and they can have all the qualities you want from a partner, but not have any chemistry with them,” says Mkhize.
“Chemistry is something that happens naturally. It is being in sync with each other with regards to all or most aspects of your beliefs, your morals and values, as well as your general outlook in life.
“Also, it takes a while to really get to know a person. When we first meet someone we like, we tend to want to put our best foot forward and we go into impress mode, and it can take several months, sometimes years, for someone’s true colours to come out,” she says.
“The danger with rushing into marriage before seeing those true colours is that they may be shocking, upsetting or a complete deal breaker for the other party when they finally present themselves, which if you are already married can only mean divorce or a miserable life together.”
So, does Mkhize think that arranged marriages are also doomed to fail?
She says that any relationship that is man-made has the wrong principle to begin with.
“People in your lives, friends and family can preach to you what a perfect match you would be with a particular person, but it’s ultimately up to a couple to see if they have the right ingredients to turn the recommendations into a lifetime commitment.
“We also live in a different era where more and more people are very self-aware and know what they want out of life, so anything arranged can be a problem,” Mkhize says.