A door opened and a bride began her walk down the aisle. The thing which stopped my channel surfing and glued my eyes to the TV screen was that after she looked at the groom, her eyes teared up – and her face looked incredibly distressed. This was not a movie drama. This was a very real wedding ceremony which is part of an “extreme social experiment” called “Married at First Sight,” a very popular show which began in Denmark which has found its way across the globe to us. We learn in voiceovers that this bride was not in any way, shape, or form, attracted to the person she saw standing at the altar. Not a good way to start any marriage, I’d say.
Read this description: “Married at First Sight” is an extreme social experiment that follows six brave singles yearning for a life-long partnership as they agree to a provocative proposal: getting legally married to a complete stranger the moment they first meet. . . The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle and see each other face-to-face, for the first time, at the altar. Over the course of several weeks, episodes capture each couple’s journey as they go from wedding, to honeymoon, to early nesting, to the daily struggle of working on their marriage. After several weeks together, each couple must make a decision: do they remain together or decide to divorce?”
Of this A&E channel show, Heidi Stephens for The Chicago Tribune writes (June 3,:2014): “I love this idea. Not because it will lead to three beautiful, blissful unions. It won’t, obviously. But because it forces us to reckon with, once again, our complete and utter hypocrisy about marriage.
I have to agree with that last statement. We live in a time when marriage is still desired – and yet shunned – because it is considered by some to be old-fashioned, out-of-date, and unnecessary. Lip-service is given to fidelity, and yet too often, common practice is anything but faithful. Books, TV, and movie themes so often center on someone’s affair while attempting to keep a marriage “intact.” Internet offers 24/7 access to whatever the mind can imagine. Yet, so many who are addicted to spending time on explicit sites are often the ones we would least expect, and they would be embarrassed if it was known. Hypocrisy ruins a lot of lives!
Thousands of men and women signed up to be considered for “Married at First Sight.” Many have tried over and over to find “the one,” their “soul mate.” They have tried online dating sites and some may have met a variety of possibilities; some have not. Biological clocks are ticking and years are passing, and that special person is not showing up. People are grasping at straws to find something to satisfy their deep longings and desires for companionship. I understand that the numbers were pared down considerably when folks realized that it really did mean exchanging vows with someone they had never actually seen until the big day.
So, what about the ones who remained? Who would actually put their lives in the hands of people they have never met – a psychologist, sociologist, sexologist, and spiritual director – to choose the one they could potentially spend the rest of their lives with? Do they really believe this outside analysis can accurately decide who is compatible and will guarantee attraction? Well, apparently. For some things in life, it is easier if someone else makes the decision.
I can understand the loneliness and yearning in hearts of those who think they have waited long enough for Mr./Miss Right to show up. It seems to be logical to try something which promises longed for results. This program, however, offers an escape clause. The cameras follow the couples around for one month. ONE MONTH? If they have decided not to continue, “Married at First Sight” helps them get a divorce. Something is definitely wrong with this picture!
The whole concept makes me sad. Nothing can replace building a strong relationship before making a lifelong covenant with one another. Even then, the challenges of marriage are great. It takes both people giving 100%/100%. While this program does have a “spiritual adviser” on the panel, he is described as a “humanist chaplain” at Harvard, with the words, “agnostic” and “atheist” following his name – which shouts volumes about his interest in “spiritual things” – minus Jesus.
So, who would I want to walk into the sunset with? Well, of course, there would need to be mutual attraction and enjoyment in being together – on a foundation of mutual belief that the Bible does indeed provide instruction – which works – in all areas of life, regardless of marriage status. We would have to agree in the truth of who Jesus Christ is – Lord of lords, King of kings, Savior – God!
That would take longer than a month!
Marriage is too valuable to be called an “extreme social experiment!”