Admittingly, it has been awhile since my last blog post, and I am very sorry for that.  The fall is always insane, and I got caught up in it all.  Well, I am still right in the heart of it, but thought I would take a few minutes to post about a show that has been on my mind for awhile: Married at First Sight.  These are my thoughts on what reality shows teach us about marriage.

I first watched Marriage at First Sight when it started in July in order to make a commentary on the unrealistic premise behind the show.  For those of you who haven’t heard of it, I will give you a quick rundown.  This show describes itself as a social experiment, a documentary of sorts, instead of a reality show.  Six people were expertly matched in four different areas to be “perfect matches” for each other.  Once the experts agreed on these three pairs, the couples finally got to meet…at the alter on their wedding day.  That’s right, folks.  These people got married without even knowing each other’s names, let alone anything else, until standing on the alter together.  After the wedding, camera crews followed these three couples around for 5 weeks, and the experts offered advice and guidance along the way.  At the end of the five weeks, the couples had to make a decision to either stay married or get a divorce.

Ok, where to start…  First of all, marriage should never be taken lightly, especially purely for entertainment’s sake.  But this is hardly the first reality show to capitalize on relationships.  The first one (in my memory) was MTV’s Real World, where a group of young adults were placed in a house together and we watched their relationships unfold.  Then, we were blessed with the Bachelor, Bachelorette, and Bachelor Pad, as well as a slew of others, all of which I have never seen.  However, after watching all the episodes to date of Married at First Sight, I realize that my initial thoughts were wrong.  I really do not feel that this show was purely entertainment.  They took more of a social scientific approach, with forming a hypothesis (two of the three couples would develop successful relationships), testing the hypothesis, and analyzing the execution.  Most of the participants appeared to take this experiment just as seriously, as well, by putting their full effort into making their marriages last. This brings me to some very interesting insights that this show attempts to bring to light about marriage.

1. Marriage is hard work – If you think that marriage is all fairytales and rainbows, you are not only completely wrong, you have apparently never been in a long term relationship.  Those initial butterflies are replaced with security and commitment, and THAT is what gets the two of you through the tough times.  Those tough times, though never fun, are essential in building the relationship and making it unbreakable.  These couples didn’t have the years of understanding to fall back on, they just had the commitment that they made on their wedding day.  They did appear to take their commitments seriously, though, which is something I did not expect in this show.

2. Marriage is not disposable – In our society, if something is too much trouble, we toss and replace it with something else.  Somehow, we have yet to learn that the grass is never greener–its all just a mirage.  When I married my husband 9 years ago, I told him that I am NEVER signing those divorce papers EVER AGAIN (Yes, I was divorced at the young age of 22…).  That means, we had to MAKE it work, no matter what it takes.  The problem that I had with this show in the beginning was that they are given the option to just call it quits at the end of five weeks.  This isn’t fun anymore, so lets get a divorce.  Again, I was proven wrong.  Married at First Sight wasn’t trying to promote disposable marriage.  Though marriage may take more effort, it is definitely worth it!

3. Love is a commitment, not a feeling – The divorce rate in our country is about 50% because we often marry for the romantic idea of love; that overwhelming feeling that your other is the one and only soulmate that you were destined to be with.  Not to burst your bubble, but that isn’t necessarily the case.  Chemistry does have its place, but as one of the couples proved on this show, it isn’t everything.  Jaime wasn’t attracted to Doug at first.  She was scared and nervous, and had an unrealistic expectation that there would be an instant attraction.  Needless to say, that wasn’t the case and she was extremely disappointed.  But as the weeks wore on, she realized that Doug was a great guy, and fell in love with him on an entirely different level.  Love is caring about someone else so much that, even when everything isn’t perfect, you go the extra mile to MAKE it perfect.

Honestly, I could go on and on about this show, but maybe you should check it out for yourself.  All the episodes are still being shown on the FYI website.  Leave comments below on your thoughts.  =)  Their 6 month follow-up episode is coming up this Tuesday, and I am excited to find out how well the couples are handling their decisions.

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