Tagged Op-Ed

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My Thoughts on: Married at First Sight

MAFS-S2-Key-Art-Gradient-DYesterday, I watched the first few episodes of season 2 of Married at First Sight. If you’ve never heard of the show, Married at First Sight is a reality show in which singles allow 4 experts in the fields of sociology, psychology, and spirituality to match them with their spouse. The couples meet at the altar, marry, and after six weeks of living as man and wife, decide if they want to stay married or get divorced.

Oh, friends, I am so on the fence with this show! Here’s my major problem: you can’t test drive marriage! I really don’t like that aspect of the show. This was brought home to me as I watched each couple wed. When the officiant asked them if they took this person to be their spouse and we were able to hear voice overs of their thoughts, I wanted to grab some of them and run them far away from anybody’s altar. Some were having serious doubts and weren’t getting over them in a healthy way; others had unrealistic expectations. By far the worst, though, is that at least one person just seems really in love with the idea of love and marriage and being able to call someone her husband.

I don’t have a problem with arranged marriages. I think they can work. I also don’t have a problem with someone allowing experts to match them. But the reality TV element, that escape clause…it gets under my skin. I think that the experts make the best matches they can. I haven’t seen a couple that couldn’t make a success of their union if they are both committed to it. I don’t see the couples being put together for ratings gold or anything, so in that way, I don’t see this as exploitative. But there’s something about it that just doesn’t sit well.

Yet I still watch it. I watched the first season. I loved how the couples really worked through their issues. I loved watching the follow up show showing their first year. I’m fascinated with people who live in a society where you can choose your mate who decide to let someone else choose for them. And as a single, the show intrigues me.

Here are a few of my takeaways/opinions about this show:

  • I’m a huge proponent of having elders involved in the mate selection process.I think that the experts here do a really good job of choosing mates for each individual based on what the individual has told them is important to them as well as what the experts know about human nature. I think many singles can learn to be less closed off to wise counsel in their romantic lives, and that their openness could be very beneficial to their future relationships. However…
  • Sometimes people can’t communicate what’s really important to them. Last season, I think a big reason the couple that divorced weren’t able to make it work was because even though they got the person they said they wanted, they didn’t get the person they wanted. Some people outright lie and give the expected answers when asked what they want in a mate, but more often I think people don’t have a good idea of the cons that come along with the positive characteristics of the things they want. I may say I want a hard worker, but then I’m mad that he’s never home, etc.
  • This show stinks of desperation. While some of the people on this show are older than the traditional marriage group and seem to be taking a mature approach to this, it’s apparent that some of them are just tired of being single, are in love with the idea of marriage, feel like this is their last chance, and generally seem to be grasping at straws while they’re still young enough and look good enough to get somebody. The overwhelming majority of women on the show are hovering around 30 who have been previously engaged or single a long time. I don’t want any of you reading this to see any upcoming dates on the calendar as reasons to despair about your relationship status. Don’t end up saying I do to just anyone because an imaginary clock is ticking in your head.
  • The institution of marriage is no longer being held as something sacred by the world. It’s now a step above a game show in some instances. People try it on like running shoes and exchange one mate for another just as quickly as you’d change running shoes. But God still says the same things about marriage. What He has joined together, let no man separate. Marriage isn’t a fad, a whim, something to do, a logical next step. It’s an illustration of Christ and His church, the beginning of a family, a God created and ordained institution, a lifelong commitment, a ministry, and the fulfillment of a need God saw in His creation had. Let’s not minimize it or reduce it to sin free┬ásex, someone to split bills with, responsibilities to meet, the prerequisite to babies, someone to take care of us, or a way to escape loneliness.

That’s my two cents, anyway. Feel free to leave yours in the comments section