Welcome to Plathville’s Olivia Plath and Ethan Plath, both 22, met when they were just teenagers at a Christian summer conference. Although Ethan immediately fell for Olivia, she took a little longer to come around. When the young couple finally started dating, they got married not long afterward, when they were both 20 years old.
Although they grew up in similar Christian fundamentalist homeschooling families, Olivia began to drift away from the strict rules of her childhood as she got older. Ethan wasn’t too far behind – and his parents, Kim and Barry Plath, were none too pleased, even going so far as to call their daughter-in-law a bad influence on their son.
Needless to say, this state of affairs caused tension in Ethan and Olivia’s marriage. On the Nov. 17 episode of TLC’s Welcome to Plathville season 2, Ethan revealed that he felt his marriage was suffering in part because of the lack of communication skills his parents instilled in him as a child.
Ethan admitted he struggle to communicate effectively with his wife
Ethan and Olivia argued on a recent Welcome to Plathville episode as the stress of the COVID-19 crisis bore down on Olivia’s business and income. The 22-year-old wedding photographer had weathered a number of cancellations already, and she was stressed and irritable.
When Ethan tried to empathize with his wife – and keep from annoying her while she worked from home – he admitted that he often came up short.
According to Ethan, his parents didn’t teach him much about how to communicate effectively, especially when it came to emotions. “Growing up as a kid, I really, really, really don’t think any of us, especially not me, were given any type of a tool set to understand emotions and deal with difficult things in relationships and stuff,” the Welcome to Plathville star explained to TLC producers.
The ‘Welcome to Plathville’ star said he rarely connected with his parents about major issues
While Olivia often wanted her husband to address emotional issues head-on, Ethan explained that emotional intimacy wasn’t a reality for his family growing up – at least not in his experience.
“Trying to communicate emotions with my parents? That never happened,” Ethan exclaimed, adding that that connection was simply “never made.”
Instead, his default reaction was simply to “block things.” This led to issues in his marriage when he had to resolve conflicts with Olivia. Instead, he explained, he’d often clam up and avoid the problem altogether.
“I just move on and busy myself with other stuff,” Ethan said sheepishly. “So I’m not thinking about maybe what I should be thinking about.”
Moriah was similarly frustrated by her family’s lack of communication skills
Ethan wasn’t the only older Plath child who felt that the family didn’t communicate well with others. Moriah Plath, the Plaths’ 17-year-old daughter, addressed her own issues with effective communication on a date with her new boyfriend, Max.
Max lamented Moriah’s apparent lack of interest in talking to him, which often made him feel that they would never build a connection.
“Whenever I first started messaging you, it would take, like, 24 hours to get a text back,” Max complained. “I was like, ‘Wow, this girl hates me. There’s no way.’”
The Welcome to Plathville star admitted that this was one of her major flaws – and she placed the blame on her family’s shoulders.
“The biggest fault my family has is communication,” Moriah admitted. “Every single one of us sucks at communicating. So I’m trying to learn.”
Moriah asked her new man for patience as she tried to improve. Likewise, Olivia revealed that she had to learn to navigate a new world of emotional honesty with her husband as they continued to try to make things work.