Sean Hollands and Susan Rawlings pictured after their wedding on the TV series Married At First Sight.
Sean Hollands and Susan Rawlings pictured after their wedding on the TV series Married At First Sight.

TV show provides reality check on coupling

OOOOOH. Guilty confession. I have become addicted to the trashy but compulsively viewable show Married at First Sight. Reality shows have never been my thing. But after tuning into one of the early episodes to see two gorgeous, smart, blonde 30-somethings walk down the aisle and marry two guys - one each, obviously - they had never seen before, I was hooked. And that's only two couples. There's plenty more, and plenty of variety.

Glued to the set at 7.30pm, I have found the show a fascinating insight into relationship behaviours, with couples moving through all the phases of romance from instant attraction, or repulsion, to sexual stirrings, romantic rendezvous, severe irritation, or finding out things about each other that they do, or don't like or really can't stand. There's been intrigue, betrayal, chemical attraction, "oh my god" moments and laughs too and we're only up to the just moved in together phase.

Humans are funny creatures and what may seem like something trivial - someone's height, or hairstyle - has proved a stumbling block for some. For others, it is concern about their partner's part time profession - male stripping - or excess drinking that has threatened to bring them undone.

The show, where couples are matched by a team of relationship psychologists who regularly appear on screen to tell us what stages the lovebirds are moving through and talk endlessly about "bonding chemicals", has also shown up the difference between the stayers and the players.

Even in the face of enormous odds, some participants still want to give the romance a go when, from the sidelines, it looks pretty much like a no-hope match. As for those who say what kind of person would marry someone they didn't know, have you looked around you lately?

Many people say "I do" without indulging in important conversations about shared values, dreams or goals. And, if you look at the divorce rate, you might also say that letting the experts match you with someone - in essence, an arranged marriage - might give you just as good a chance of living happily ever after.