Jerry Seinfeld’s The Marriage Ref premiered on NBC last night with an intimate peak into the lives of two couples navigating the unique challenges of their relationships.
While the particular issues highlighted in this first episode were unusual – a husband wanting to keep his deceased dog’s stuffed body in the family room and another eager to install a stripper’s poll in the bedroom – differences in every human relationship, especially between intimates, are not.
Together with panelists Alec Baldwin, Kelly Ripa, and Seinfeld himself, host Tom Papa navigated the very real issue of relationship differences with lighthearted humor that is too often missing when couples find themselves at odds with each other.
With weekly episodes beginning this Thursday in Jay Leno’s previous 10:00pm time slot, celebrity panelists such as Madonna, Tina Fey, Eva Longoria Parker, and Larry David are sure to bring a valuable message to millions of couples: differences are a normal part of every relationship. Learning to deal with them with humor, empathy, respect and structure is a message that can make a difference for countless marriages.
Ultimately, few couples will bring the challenges of their lives to the show’s panel of comedic commentators and analysts. In the process, however, many more will find new perspective, strategies and opportunities to become their own marriage refs. As those insights help couples reach out to each other with love, levity, empathy and respect, Jerry Seinfeld’s journey through the absurdities and inanities of modern life has the potential to be a brilliant success.
Seth Eisenberg is President & CEO of PAIRS Foundation, one of the nation’s oldest and leading relationship skills training organizations. This post originally appeared in his blog, Redefining Relationships.