There were two standouts in this episode, Dr. Amador and a sailboat called the “Maria Cristina”. Jason and Bethenny, as well as another couple, Chad and Luz, were on the boat ride, but the 22 hours aboard would have turned out very differently were it not for the doctor and his sailboat. The two couples, there for an exercise in relationships, took turns piloting, cooking and buoy spotting, and the therapist saw to it that they walked away with much more than how to maneuver around shoals.
Jason started off the trip, begrudgingly, and thought he had found an ally in Chad, who had similar thoughts about how and why he had come along. Both felt pressured to spend the day on a boat with their partners, and weren’t completely open to what they had imagined was going to happen. Dr. Amador, however, refocused both of the reluctant men, making the trip about their significant others, their relationships and how to understand themselves, as well.
Dr. Amador first laid out some basic guidelines for the trip by telling all four of them that if he asked them to do something, they had the right to decline, but that if he told them to do something, they were to follow his instructions and comply. He, ever so gently, and without judgment, made comments about what he had observed with regard to how the couples communicated. When Jason said that he liked to push Bethenny’s buttons because he loved her, the doctor said that he found that when he, himself, pushed buttons, it was because he was acting out of hurt or frustration. He told all four that almost everyone is nicer to others than they are to their spouses.
Luz said that she and Chad had problems arguing because he could become hot-headed, something with which Chad agreed. Bethenny said that if she had called Jason hot-headed, he would have responded with the fact that she is damaged. When Dr. Amador asked Jason what he wanted for himself in 10 years, Jason said that he wanted to be married to Bethenny.
Jason was dispatched to the galley to help his wife with dinner preparations, something that didn’t work out very well. Below deck, Jason became seasick, unable to stay below as he became increasingly nauseous, and went to the deck to get some air. When he returned, he went straight to bed. Dr. Amador talked to Bethenny and Jason, bedside, about their ongoing and circular arguments. Bethenny said that she felt as if her spirit was broken, and that, in order for Jason to love her, she would have to become someone she wasn’t. Jason replied that he didn’t want her to change, that he had, in fact, married herbecause of who she is. He also admitted that he had said painful and hurtful things to his wife.
Dr. Amador suggested that when Jason makes comments about Bethenny’s loss of a “real” family, that she should accept that as a fact, but not necessarily a fault. He told the two that Bethenny’s differences with regard to the definition of a family doesn’t mean that they and their daughter, couldn’t be their own family. Jason brought up how he felt about his parent’s marriage and Bethenny’s hesitance to let them in more. He described his parents as having unconditional love – a concept, which while romantic, doesn’t truly exist. All relationships have conditions. We love others because they support us, they don’t hurt us and they treat us with respect and dignity. Those are the conditions, as simple as they may seem, that keep relationships in tact. Should any of us fail to meet those basic requirements, and the relationship will begin to erode.
Bethenny said that she is making an effort to accept her in laws, just as much as she is learning to let Jason in, more and more, as their marriage grows. She is as much a stranger to her husband’s definition of family as he is to hers. For that, they are beginning to realize that they will make their own family, combining their experiences, rather than judging and dismissing them.
Dr. Amador then sends the Hoppys back to the deck to take their watch, relieving Chad and Luz. The doctor tells them that he has lost the GPS, that it has broken, and that he is trying to get them some help. He has called to Coast Guard in an effort to find another boat that might guide them to shore, as they are at the mercy of the tides and in danger from the rocks and shoals. The Coast Guard radios back that they have found a boat towing company that is willing to act as their guide to Nantucket, but that it will take some time.
All throughout the very long wait for the tow boat, Dr. Amador never appears to lose either his sense of calm or good humor. Although he says that, in his 30 years of sailing, he has never experienced the loss of an instrument, he did admit that he had been in his boat as the cabin filled with water from rough weather. When the tow finally arrives, Dr. Amador comments that “Life is what happens when I’m busy making plans”. I guess that’s it in a nutshell. While we are busy making lists and scheduling our activities, life sometimes has other ideas for us.
Back on dry land, Bethenny and Jason are ecstatic to see their daughter, and little Bryn is smothered in affection and kisses. At lunch, with Dr. Amador, the couple do seem to have learned some individual lessons. Bethenny realizes that she has never considered the possibility that they may not always be there for their daughter. Jason says that he had his eyes opened to the fact that he does push his wife’s button’s out of frustration at times, and that, perhaps, he should be a little more patient to her needs. The two agree that they have to find a way to get through things that bother them – big and little things. They both learned that no amount of money, or homes, or cars, or careers can make things better when you’re really in trouble. Dr. Amador tells them that he was impressed with the fact that they managed to experience the 22 hour ordeal without an argument or becoming defensive. For that alone, it was a day and night well spent.