If you’re unfamiliar with “Marriage Boot Camp” it’s where they take (barely) celebrity couples and put them in a house for several weeks for “Marriage Counseling.”
The season where they hosted previous stars of another cerebral show, Bridezillas, is on Netflix. And SINCE we’ve cancelled cable and SINCE I am about 99% homebound thanks to a gorgeous newborn baby peach I just finished the finale last night while the husband was out watching the fights.
It was horrible. First, it was just bad TV. Second, it was horrible.
I was almost most interested in the four licensed counselors.
When they would interview them and they had to describe why they were doing these specific “drills” they must have had to reach far, far down to justify them. It was great. “OF COURSE we have to put one spouse in a coffin and hire actors and make the other spouse, on the spot, perform a eulogy.”
You guys. Seriously.
Super helpful stuff. Not at all dramatic and surface. Not at all for TV.
SO ANYWAYS. I am going to elaborate on two exercises that I felt were the most damaging (it doesn’t even include the one where they have everyone take off their wedding bands and go to a bar…) and then two exercises that I felt were … the least soul crushing and possibly, under the right circumstances, maybe even helpful.
First, the bad.
The Sticky Note Drill
This one I thought was going to be awesome.
They gave each spouse one minute to write everything they needed from their spouse on a sticky note. They ranged from “more bling” to “trust” to “sex” … whatever.
Then they had each spouse explain each need and then post each sticky-note-need on their spouse.
Awesome! I thought. What an opportunity to then take off the sticky notes and put them on the giant crucifix they were obviously rolling out next.
Then, weirdly, they edited that part out or something because they were literally kind of left in this sticky-note filled purgatory of “….so what now?”
The message was “do better.” “Try harder.”
Your wife NEEDS more bling. That’s important to her. And if she doesn’t get it. You’re failing.
And, the WORST-worst-WORST …
The Fake Proposal
Now this one there is NO WAY those “marriage counselors” developed this one.
This was ALL the directors.
They had the men line up on one side and the woman on the other side.
Publically, they had to then propose to anyone BUT their spouse and then explain in front of EVERYONE what that person has that their spouse doesn’t.
Oh GOOD GOD. That’s stuff you cannot unhear. That’s stuff you cannot unsee.
It was AWFUL.
Comparison ROBS us of joy.
Everyone together: Comparison ROBS us of joy!!
Not only had they known these other “spouses” less than 72 hours, but what a horrible experience for everyone.
And, not to mention the underlying message of, if you don’t like this one, get another one!
Their actual goal in this “exercise” was to ACTUALLY create jealousy to “motivate change.”
Again. OH GOOD GOD.
And, now, two exercises that didn’t in my opinion immediately illicit further ACTUAL counseling:
It was simple. They had to learn a tango as couples.
This drill actually addressed actual marital issues.
#1. Communication. They had to communicate. Both of them.
#2. Physical Touch. This was an appropriate level of public intimate touch for married couples. Sounds simple but apparently quite a few of them hadn’t touched in quite a while!
#3. Male Leadership. This isn’t even from the Bible y’all. This was from the women on the show. These are Bridezillas. These men didn’t get a whole lot of opportunities to lead. But, their spouses craved it. It was a recurring theme throughout the series. Eventually, these men forgot how. This was a teeny tiny step (pun intended) in the right direction.
The Boxing Match
The spouses were given a hypothetical fight and 3 minutes to mock fight.
Unknowingly, each person was knocked off a point every time they fought “unfairly.”
This included putdowns, name calling, history-bringing-upping, etc.
One gal got TWENTY “knock offs” in THREE MINUTES.
No wonder nothing is ever accomplished!!
Fighting fairly, and not avoiding the fight, is critical in a marriage. Unfortunately, this was kind of abandoned after the actual screaming and no actual growth was practiced. But…maybe a seed was planted?
In conclusion, I want to talk about my absolute FAVORITE part of the show.
It was also absolutely cringe-worthy.
As I mentioned before, a common theme with all these broken and struggling marriages were the husbands’ inability to express themselves in the relationships; let alone lead these marriages.
The counselors were “trying” to touch on this and the subject of “being able to check your wife” became a common conversation. This was said as a “desirable trait.”
Unfortunately, when you crave something Biblical (male led relationships) but you don’t go about it Biblically (i.e. 50 Shades style) it sounds a lot like that.
This one husband, in particular, had struggled for years with no voice.
Here at boot camp. He was finally given a voice.
However, like most unaddressed issues in a marriage, it bubbled over at the complete worst time.
No drill was going on.
The gang was eating breakfast.
The wife asked her husband to get her more potatoes.
And, after years of repression, he screamed at her, dead seriously, “You get your own G*damn potatoes, b&(*$TCH!”
And then, crickets.
It was amazing you guys.
It was like “Yes…nice try! … but…. Maybe about her maxing out the credit cards and less profanity and more Jesus?”
…can you just get her more potatoes?
I could literally talk about this show for hours and hours, but I want to leave with just a couple remarks.
#1. Address your issues now so you don’t end up like “No More Potatoes Joe”
No one wants to be married to “No More Potatoes Joe.”
#2. If you have a teenager in the house, I would really think this would be a GREAT exercise to watch with them and discuss these episodes. There is SO MUCH content in here about what the world thinks about relationship, verses the TRUTH, verses…oh my gosh so much to talk about. Skip the episode with the sex dolls.
#3. It’s on Netflix…so…if you liked this blog and wanted to get more “information” and you’re near the end of the vino…. You know what to do.