3 Marriage Secrets from The Amazing Race Winners
In the final months of 2011, Major Dave Brown and his wife Rachel embarked on a 40,000-mile trip around the world as part of the popular reality TV show, The Amazing Race. Millions of viewers tuned in throughout the season to see Dave and Rachel crush the competition and win 8 of the 12 legs in the global competition. Then, in the season finale, they tackled the final roadblocks of the race, crossed the finish line first, and captured the $1 million dollar prize. With that massive cash prize, Dave and Rachel most likely won’t have to worry about their mortgage or any military loans, but the two will continue to work on a successful military marriage for the rest of their lives.
To anybody who watches the show, it’s obvious that the winning team needs to have the perfect combination of race-winning characteristics. Several of these qualities are already part of the typical military marriage. For example, physical strength, a good sense of direction, and knowing a foreign language are critical in some legs of the competition. Here are three characteristics that Dave and Rachel proved were indispensible for the race and are essential in their marriage, too.
1. POSITIVE COMMUNICATION
Dave has served in the Wisconsin Army National Guard since college. Before coming to The Amazing Race, he served a yearlong deployment in Iraq as a helicopter pilot. The couple hoped to reconnect throughout the course of the show, but sometimes that was extremely difficult. Several times during the race, their personality differences made for angry and spiteful communication.
At one point, Rachel got directions from a local, but Dave’s insistent backseat driving made her furious. Rachel’s stubborn attitude made Dave even angrier. The couple usual had at least one communication breakdown like this in each leg of the race. When Dave’s pessimistic attitude got the best of optimistic-orientated Rachel, the couple took a break from each other to cool down. When they came back together, they eased the tension with jokes and apologies. By patiently listening and considering each other’s opinions, the couple battled right back to the front of the pack.
2. STRENGTH & RESILIENCE
Dave and Rachel faced several mental and physical challenges in each leg of the race. One member of the couple had to complete each roadblock before they could advance in the competition. The challenges were artistic (like art and dancing) and physical (like staking hay bales and hauling buckets of water). Sometimes, navigating through the roads, airports, and bus stations of foreign countries was even more difficult than the roadblock challenges.
The couple had their fair share of setbacks, even accidently bypassing one required challenge in the final leg of the race. Through it all, they remained strong and resilient. They never showed a grim attitude. They hit each challenge with a “we can do it” attitude and were always ready to tackle the next obstacle with gusto.
3. SUPPORT & ENCOURAGEMENT
The Amazing Race editors emphasized the couple’s bickering and fighting in almost every episode, but Dave and Rachel were also strong supporters of each other. Cheering from the sidelines was critical to their success. Dave said in one episode, “When we’re supporting of one another, we’re unstoppable.”
At its worst, a military marriage can be stressful, lonely, and difficult to hold together. But, as Dave and Rachel proved, it can also provide strength, love, and teamwork worth $1 million dollars. Taking time to honestly communicate, support your spouse, and improve your attitudes can prepare your military relationship for a lifetime of love and companionship.
How does your relationship compare to Dave and Rachel’s marriage? Do you have a go-to form of communication that comes out in stressful situations? How do you and your spouse stay connected through the hard times?