Recently, a popular Calgary radio station created a contest called “Swap your Wife for a new Life.” I make it no secret how I feel about a contest like this, it almost made me stop listening to the radio station altogether. The contest name alone plays on outmoded ideas that a wife is a possession and she has no authority on her own person. Not to mention how the name only includes heterosexual couples. Surprisingly, there was one gay couple who participated in the contest. Essentially, the contest included five couples who were required to swap partners and live with them for two weeks while undergoing a series of challenges. The prizes: A condo and a fancy car plus many other smaller prizes.
Put your relationship on the line for a condo? I think I’ll pass. Part of me thought of the old adage, “each to their own,” that is until I saw what the challenges were. Kissing? Boudoir photos? Sleeping in the same bed? Is this what we have to do for entertainment these days? Is this how radio stations increase their ratings? Not to mention the companies who supported this by donating cars, condos, massages and wine for a year. Every year my husband and I attend the Banff Couples Conference to enhance our relationship and try different tools to keep ourselves connected. We have done this since we have been engaged. We take our relationship and the desire to not become a statistic seriously. Our connection has deepened every year just with the intention to do something to prioritize our relationship above all else in the picturesque backdrop of the rocky mountains.
Relationships, these days, compete with a lot of noise. With the rise of social media and living in a society that demands so much from its citizens, our families and our selves get put at the bottom of the priority list. Is it any wonder divorce is on the rise? The Banff Couple’s Conference infuses couples with reminders to welcome silence, presence and connection back into your relationship. It centers couples back to a place of receptivity so that we may honour our partner’s experience. If you ask me, I would not sacrifice this gift for anything. Not even a mansion.
At the end of this two-week contest, the pseudo couple that won went through a pseudo divorce and split up the winnings. One took the car and one took the condo and went back to the partners they actually chose in this life. Not on the list of prizes was marriage counselling nor a trip to the Banff Couple’s Conference. I only hope they do not feel the backlash in the name of material things. If any of those couples are reading this right now, they still have one day to register for the conference and get the early bird prices! As for me, I think I’ll turn the dial to AM and stick to CBC.
by Samantha Baldwin (BCC volunteer)