‘Welcome to Plathville’: Ethan Plath Admits That Marriage Is Much Harder Than He Anticipated

Welcome to Plathville star Ethan Plath – the oldest son in the Plath family of nine at age 22 – and his wife, Olivia Plath, went into marriage with high hopes.

After meeting at a summer camp when they were 16 years old, the two sheltered teens (both of whom were raised in large fundamentalist homeschooling families) developed a budding romance. They tied the knot in 2018 at just 20 years old.

But in a recent interview segment for TLC’s Welcome to Plathville season 2, “Ethan’s Story,” Ethan admitted that his first two years of marriage weren’t all smooth sailing. In fact, he implied that he might have gone into his marriage with rose-colored glasses.

Ethan had a highly romantic view of marriage at first

Olivia met her future husband at a Christian summer camp in North Carolina four years before the young couple ultimately tied the knot. Ethan fell for Olivia right away, but she didn’t reciprocate his feelings right away – especially because she thought he had some growing up to do first.

After their initial summer together, Ethan and Olivia stayed in touch through handwritten letters. Over time, Ethan explained, their relationship grew (and Olivia realized that her teenage crush was growing into a more mature man).

“She just could tell that I had kind of grown up a little bit,” Ethan said of Olivia’s perspective as they wrote letters to each other for over two years. “We both still have all these letters. It was really cute.”

Eventually, the Welcome to Plathville couple reconnected in person at age 18. For his entire life, Ethan knew that he wanted to marry his first-ever girlfriend; he wanted a “happily ever after” with the first woman he had feelings for. Their vows at their wedding were the picture of romance: Ethan promised never to leave his wife and to love her until the day he died.

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The ‘Welcome to Plathville’ star admitted that marriage was ‘hard’ and took ‘a lot of work’

Despite their chemistry and their commitment to their relationship, Ethan and Olivia admitted to struggling after they got married.

Both spouses have confessed that they weren’t entirely ready for the reality of married life – especially because they were so sheltered growing up. Neither Olivia nor Ethan was completely prepared for the obstacles they would face, and they eventually even considered divorce.  

“Marriage is definitely hard,” Ethan confessed. “Marriage takes a lot of work, and girls don’t come with instruction manuals.”

In particular, Ethan was never sure what to do when his wife and family didn’t get along. His parents, Kim and Barry Plath, made it clear that they didn’t approve of Olivia and what they saw as her “rebellious” ways. Bridging that divide had proven to be nearly impossible. Eventually, Ethan decided to cut off all contact with the rest of the Plath family in order to save his marriage.

“The other part is, you bring two families together that are completely different,” the Welcome to Plathville star lamented. “There’s drama, there’s conflict. Both me and Olivia feel kind of stuck being so close to my parents and not really trusted to see any of my siblings.”

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He made a promise to himself to defend his wife more in the future

As for his own role in the near-breakdown of his marriage, Ethan confessed that he hadn’t been brave enough at first to stand up for his wife when her in-laws made negative comments about her. He generally tried to play the role of peacemaker, but that had left Olivia feeling abandoned and betrayed.

“One thing that I do really regret is that I tried to keep the peace,” the Welcome to Plathville star told TLC producers, “when I should’ve said, ‘Don’t treat my wife like this. Don’t talk to my wife like this.’”

Now, although his parents didn’t even allow him to see his siblings anymore, Ethan had made his choice – and he was confident in it. And one thing was for sure: He would never make the mistake of failing to defend his wife again.

“The best thing that has ever happened to me is meeting Olivia,” Ethan declared. “Going forward, I’m going to stand up for her. I really do think that we can make it through this.”