This season on Couples Therapy, there’s a lot of drama in the house thanks to the incredibly diverse and occasionally divisive personalities that have been cast. One couple, reality veterans Simon van Kempen and Alex McCord, have offered to review and recap each episode of the season to tell us the truth about the way things really were and what they think of the therapy process.
First of all, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone…this year more than ever I am thankful for my family, and have to extend that thanks to Dr. Jenn and her team for giving us tools to make our family life better. Now, onto the episode, and Simon’s take is on his blog here.
As much as I like Shayne, I wanted to hold her upside-down by the ankles and slap her repeatedly this week. Then, I took a moment to think about her background. She came from a family of actors and entertainers, most if not all of whom are over-the-top personalities. Maybe in order to get any attention at all, she had to top their actions. That would explain the operatic crying, the melodramatic reaction to Nik’s surprise date and her tantrums. I was glad to see she made the effort to reconnect with her husband, but also found myself wondering how long it will last.
Tiny and JoJo broke my heart again this week. At first I was thrilled to see Tiny stand up for herself and confront JoJo — we saw her struggle with that almost the entire time we were in therapy. It was so scary to see JoJo’s reaction to her — I cannot emphasize enough that he didn’t show us that side of him around the house. He morphed into a different person, someone I certainly wouldn’t want to be around. His reaction to Tiny probably came from fear and helplessness, but manifested as cold, uncaring dismissal of her and everything they have together. It all boils down to a simple choice: does Tiny want to continue to feed her best to his worst? At what point do you pull the plug?
Doug seems to just not be able to help himself when it comes to the women in his life. Without knowing it, he used Courtney to cut the cord with his mother, which given all we heard about her in those three weeks was probably a good thing. Yet the tool he used to find freedom might break his heart again, as Courtney matures and finds out what she wants from life. The cynical side of me thinks that she’s not going to want to keep him around; however, even if she does ultimately choose him, the road to that choice is going to be frustrating and painful.
I was completely bowled over when we spent an evening with Eddie and Norma Kennedy. Hearing the story of losing their daughter to cancer, the striking parallel to the lyrics written by Doug Johnson and how they have moved forward as a couple was profoundly moving. I can imagine how easy it might have been to withdraw, to succumb to the depression both the Kennedys must have felt after Sara’s death. That they reached out for comfort from each other, rather than searching inward fruitlessly, is an example I want to follow. It’s very easy when times are tough, when you get to the “worse” part of for better or for worse, to try to fix things yourself, to retreat and take all the responsibility on your own back. While it might seem like a show of strength to do that, really it’s taking something away from your partner. When speaking publicly in the past about Simon’s and my marriage, I’ve often said that it’s like a relay race and we pass the baton to each other. Maybe it’s time we jog side by side for a while.
For more information on the Kennedy’s foundation, visit SaraCare.org. And if you’d like to know what else we’re up to in real time please follow us on Twitter@SimonvanKempen @McCordAlex as well as onFacebook. For more on us and our family see ourwebsite. Until next week…have a great holiday!!