As if the formal decision days at the end of the experiment were not stressful enough, Married at First Sight has been inserting informal decision discussions into the middle of each season. During the last few seasons, either Pastor Cal Roberson or Dr. Pepper Schwartz have sat down with each cast member and asked them if they want to continue with the process. This gives them an easy out if they don’t want to continue for the full eight weeks.
These informal mid-season decision days on Married at First Sight season 16 may have been inspired by Married at First Sight Australia, where they hold Commitment Ceremonies every week. In MAFS Australia, the couples are all gathered together each week and called up one by one to reveal to the experts whether they have written down that they want to stay or leave. If they both write leave or stay, they follow that decision. However, if one person writes leave and the other writes stay, they are forced to stay together for at least another week.
There’s Lot At Stake In Married At First Sight Decisions
This strategy seems to work in Australia, but mid-season decisions are problematic in the U.S. because the couples are legally married. In the Australian version of the show, they are only “pretend” married, meaning there is nothing legally tying the couples together. In America, the stakes are much higher because as the MAFS experts often remind viewers, these are legally binding marriages. If the couples decide to go their separate ways, they must get a legal divorce.
The Pressure For Married At First Sight Couples Is Off The Charts
The pressure of decision day looming over the Married at First Sight couples’ relationships has always caused a great deal of tension. It is strange knowing that after just two months of getting to know a stranger, the couples must decide whether they want to spend the rest of their lives with them, which is mentally and emotionally taxing. Now that the show’s experts are also asking them the decision question halfway through, albeit in a less formal capacity, the MAFS couples are forced to make a life-altering choice after just a few weeks.
It is one thing if a MAFS couple is clearly not going to make it, and goes to the experts to tell them they want out. Chris Collette and Alyssa Ellman from MAFS season 14 are a perfect example. Alyssa couldn’t even stand to be in the same room with Chris, and they chose to end the marriage well before the official decision day. However, actually putting the “stay” or “leave” option on the table so soon for couples who are still unsure could put unnecessary stress on their already tense relationships. It is a lot harder to walk away on MAFS when actual divorce papers have to be filed.
Clearly, whatever Married at First Sight has been doing in the last few seasons has not been working. The one couple who had stayed together out of MAFS seasons 13, 14, and 15 combined, Lindy Elloway and Miguel Santiago-Medina, recently announced that they are getting divorced. The success rate for the pairings has gone consistently downhill over the years, which may have something to do with the changes the show has implemented, like having all the couples live in the same apartment building, and inserting mid-season decision discussions into the mix.
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