Couples on the show FYI show Married at First Sight have a lot of work to do to make their relationships succeed. Like, say, learning each other’s last names and whether or not they’re actually attracted to each other. Participants agree to marry whomever a crew of relationship experts pick, and at the end of six weeks of living together, they have to decide whether or not to stay together.
One of those relationship experts, Rachel DeAlto, doesn’t just advise married pairs in reality TV (read: extreme) circumstances. In her career, she’s met, coached, and even hypnotized couples to help them work through their issues. With so many of those brutal conversations under her belt, she shares a few universal truths about what needs to be Marie Kondo-ed out of your marriage if it’s ever going to work.
1. If he doesn’t do the dish fast enough
“The biggest thing that I hear [in sessions] is tidiness, not having the same style of picking up after yourself or cleaning the house,” DeAlto says. Yes, there are couples out there who are dedicating therapy sessions to arguing about who takes out the trash! It sounds silly, but of course, having that fight regularly is truly frustrating. “The advice that stand out the most is the most cliched: Don’t sweat the small stuff. That’s on point when it comes to marriage.”
2. Getting along with every member of each other’s family
Yes, it can be painful to know that two of your favorite people on Earth, whom you love more than anything, would prefer not to hang out with each other. “This thing may seem big to you, but it doesn’t play out in the relationship in the long term,” DeAlto says. “It’s okay if they don’t get along.” You don’t need to force your husband and sister to be buddies — you just have to maintain your relationships with each of them, and let them be themselves.
3. Past relationship pain
The ghosts of relationship past have a way of hanging out in your marital home. “You need to let go of you past, period,” she says. “Get past expectations that your partner could be similar to an ex.” It’s easier said than done to move on from all those ugly times, which is why DeAlto is such a fan of hypnosis. “It’s a great way to work on getting past relationships, using a lot of visualizations on ways you can move forward.”
4. Fear of what may go wrong
Getting married means putting your full faith, finances, and future in another human being, which is a terrifying concept. A focus on past relationships might also mean that you’re terrified of your S.O. exhibiting traits of behaviors of your exes. “I see that getting in the way a lot, like you’ve been cheated on in the past and now you’re afraid your husband will do it,” DeAlto says. Talk out those fears with your partner to you can both identify when your anxieties are clouding your vision.
5. Single selfishness
Hey, it’s not a bad thing to be focused on yourself when you’re single. Who else is there to consider? “Let go of your selfishness — I say that in a loving way!” DeAlto laughs. “When you’re married, you have to start putting someone’s feeling along with yours. I’m not saying above yours, but along yours. In a marriage, you need to be more empathetic and compassionate than you’ve ever been.”
6. The earlier version of yourselves
When you first got together, you and your spouse were likely ultra affectionate, passionate, flirtacious, and that can naturally change as the years pile up. DeAlto is a fan of The Five Love Languages, the popular book that demonstrates the different categorical ways people experience and express their love for each other. “It’s a very simplified understanding of how to make someone feel loved. The problem with them is we use them as an excuse, like ‘He doesn’t get me,'” she explains. “It’s a tool to let someone else know, This is what I need.” If you want some of those early honeymoon-style dates, speak up.
7. Your idea of a perfect marriage
You might know a couple that seems to have your ideal marriage, but you’re not seeing every part of it all the time. “Understand that there’s an evolution of self that will continue forever,” DeAlto says. “Change isn’t bad as long as you’re changing together. Let go of the thought that things will be stagnant. Who wants to be stagnant?” Nobody.
Alright, who else is ready to go kiss their mate?