What if a panel of experts chose your future spouse for you and you did not even lay eyes on him/her until the moment you walked down the aisle? Would you trust them enough to make this decision for you? Apparently lots of single men and women thought so, and the result is “Married at First Sight”, the new reality show on the FYI channel. I am slightly embarressed to say that it has hooked me.
I’m not much for reality TV and I especially hate the Bachelor and Bachelorette – come hang out at a middle school for awhile and you will see the kind of jealousy and drama that happens on those shows. I will admit to watching The Bachelorette this summer in order to see Aaron Murray’s brother, but it mostly makes me gag. I hate the beautiful girls who can’t stand not having some guy fall in love with them and I hate the premise that going out on dates at beautiful places around the world will give you a basis for deciding with whom you want to spend the rest of your life. Anyone can fall in love sipping champagne on a yacht in the middle of the Mediterranean! But what happens when you have to come back to the real world of jobs and rent and in-laws and deciding who is going to clean the toilet? “Married at First Sight” at least has a little toe in the real world.
Arranged marriages were the norm until about a hundred years ago. The thinking was that if you had similar backgrounds and came from good families then you would get along and maybe even grow to love each other. Marriage was built more on working together than on some sort of physical attraction or “chemistry”. That system had some merits, especially if the man and woman were both basically good people and wanted the same things out of life. With the high rate of divorce these days, maybe we need to revisit this custom, since traditional dating doesn’t seem to be working too well for some folks.
The idea of the show is that a panel of ‘experts’ – two psychologists (one named Dr. Pepper), a sexologist, and a “spiritual advisor”, put the questionnaires completed by the applicants through a computer program and then came up with 3 couples that they felt would make good matches. The three women and three men are all in their late 20’s and early 30’s, attractive, but not in the perfect way of the Bachelor show, and live in the vicinity of New York City. I feel very invested in them. Over the last several weeks, we have watched them find out they were chosen, go through a whirl-wind of planning a wedding and getting married in about a week, seeing their new husband/wife as they walked down the aisle, saying ‘I do”, having a reception and spending the night with this stranger. They then went on nice honeymoons, and came back to their lives as married couples.
Whas has appealed to me about the show is that they are living their real lives, not in some artificial mansion or on a desert island somewhere. It has been criticized for devaluing marriage, but I think the opposite is true. Most romantic movies and reality shows like the Bachelor stop at the “I do’s”, but the difficult part starts then. “Married at First Sight” shows that marriage takes compromise and sacrifice. The three couples are all trying to make their relationships work and the struggles they are going through are ones faced by all married couples at some point. Every emotion they have gone through in their five short weeks of marriage are ones I have experienced in my 28 years with Keith – good and bad. Blending your life with another person is not always easy, even in the best of circumstances. Everyone faces that moment after the excitement of the wedding and honeymoon when you suddenly say – “Who exactly have I married?” The “Married at First Sight” newlyweds are literally asking that question.
Tomorrow is the 6th week since the weddings and supposedly they will decide to stay together or get a divorce. I see 2 out of the 3 couples definitly making it. I am pulling for them.
Are there any other fans out there? What are your feelings on the show?