This week I saw an ad for the new show Married at First Sight and decided I was curious enough to actually watch an episode. I ended up watching three. (For research purposes!)
The show’s premise is that six strangers will be married off to each other for the purposes of a social experiment. The catch is that they will have never met until they meet at the altar. (To make matters even more amusing, the wedding officiant actually introduces them before the vows begin.) But these aren’t just random couplings. They are ideal matches according to a team of professionals including a Psychologist, a Sociologist, a Sexologist and a Spiritual Adviser all working together to interview and evaluate the individuals.
My first reaction was that I can sort of relate to these folks. They are hopeful, (mostly) settled and pretty much just tired of the dating scene. Friends and I have joked in the past (generally after a bad breakup or date) that we would probably be all for an arranged marriage. Provided that the people doing the arranging were ones who loved and know us quite well, of course.
These couples just happen to be willing to put their trust in professionals in the fields of human relationships and behavior. Heck, if you can’t trust your Psychologist, Sociologist, Sexologist and Spiritual Adviser to find you a good mate, who can you trust?
There’s a certain appeal to putting your love life into the hands of someone (more likely someones) whom you trust. These people can look at matters without warring with butterflies or misgivings based on initial impressions or physical appearance. They can also pinpoint the major warning signs that someone in love (though more likely lust) can’t seem to identify clearly.
And going into a marriage with your head rather than just your heart seems to be overall a successful way to go into things. With similar values and goals already established, love and respect for each other can grow rather than just relying upon that “head over heels” in love sensation to continue. Because it won’t.
The only problem I have with the show is that-while it did initially seem to take matters seriously-the temptation to highlight “drama” eventually won out. Marriage and these people’s emotions are very real and serious things. I’d almost prefer that this was not a television show but maybe just an experiment for a written study. I say this because I do think there’s a possibility it could work with two stable individuals but I question the wisdom of generating relationships and the resulting emotions for TV ratings.
Will I watch more of the show? The answer is: maybe. On the one hand I am really hoping for this experiment to work and for these folks to finding lasting relationships and happiness. (It might even inspire me to get a crack team of relationship professionals together to try to find a spouse for me.) On the other hand I still struggle with the whole reality TV aspect of the study and hope that these couples don’t feel exploited (or ultimately humiliated) in the long run.
Would you allow your trusted family and friends to choose your future mate?