My accidental viewing of Married at First Sight was during the second season, but I continued to watch all of the episodes out of sheer fascination over the process. Despite voicing my positive hope of success for the season two contestants, it was not enough—all three couples went their separate ways. Much of the public has commented that season two was a failure, but I can’t agree to pointing a finger of blame at the show’s experts. I think we should really be looking at the contestants. Not just one or two, but the collective.
Although season three is over, and the contestants are living their lives under a shroud of secrecy until it finishes playing out on TV for us, maybe this might help them grow their current or future relationships; or maybe it will help future participants have a positive experience. I’m rooting for a season that boasts a successful match-up hat-trick.
When my not-yet-husband and I signed up for online dating, we both silently agreed to a process—to allow an outside source to connect us with our soulmate. Whether the process is at Plenty of Fish (where we met), Match, Lavalife, eHarmony, or countless others, they all are a process to the same end goal—coupledom. MAFS is also a process. A process for which, I sincerely doubt, any of the participants were unaware. Before the camera light switched on, they committed to following a process to meet their mate.
A friend of mine was on a reality show a few years ago, and said that, after a while, you forget that you’re hooked up to a mic and on camera. As much as I can say that it would be logical, I think about how I would feel. I can’t stand being in front of a camera. Whether it’s a still shot or video, I am not comfortable at all. I am self-conscious and completely weirded out. Although I’m confident the contestants must assure the producers that they will be comfy when the red light goes on, there is definitely a level of change/reservation from each of them. I’m not going to point fingers, but I’ve seen it in the eyes and body language of a few of them. I ain’t no dummy. Would the results of the show be different if the experiment did not involve cameras? I guarantee it would. And no, I’m not referring to Neil.
What I want to outline today is the pattern I noticed in seasons two and three. My conclusion is that none of the participants, without exception, completely surrenders to the process.
Here are some of the complaints that keep coming up:
- “He’s not the type I usually go for.” Maybe you don’t actually know what your “type” is. Although you may be drawn to certain physical attributes of another person, maybe your “type” isn’t readily available in that model of human. Maybe you need to test drive a vehicle you wouldn’t normally be drawn to.
- “I’m not physically attracted to him.” Again, read what I said above. You know what? I’m not physically attracted to the guy in line at the supermarket, but what if he happened to be someone who I got to know in a social setting instead? Maybe over time (as we got to know one another), I’d become attracted to him based on our personalities meshing. As I’ve said before, “You fall in love with the heart first, and then the face will follow.” Falling in love with the face first, is sheer lust. It’s not to say that a true love can’t blossom from “love at first sight,” but lust should not be confused with love.
- “Oh my gawd! I married a stranger.” Umm… yeah, you did. Is this a surprise to you? Not only famous for rocking a pair of floating eyeglasses that never fell off his nose, Irish poet William Butler Yeats also coined the famous quote: “There are no strangers here; just friends we haven’t met yet.” As hokey as that may sound, there is some real validity to the statement. So get over it, and start unstrangering your new partner.
- “I’m not sure why the experts matched us.” Stop trying to figure out how they get the caramel in the Caramilk bar, and just enjoy savoring the treat. As difficult as it may be, draw a very clear line, cross over it, and vow not to paint your new partner with the brush of your past—the answer of your pairing will then become clear.
- “Why did he/she even do this? I don’t think he/she even wants to be married.” First off, you have no clue what your partner is thinking. Other than potentially being in it because they are a media whore (and want a burger named after them), if your partner is holding back or seems disconnected, it might be due to these two issues: 1) They are not fully committing to the process; and 2) You are not speaking their love language. This is the part where I repeat myself and say, “You committed to a process. Take off your friggin’ water wings and dive in for gawd’s sake!”
I could keep listing arguments until the second coming, but those are a few I hear repeatedly. All of which, I believe, are due to either dishonesty as to why the individual is participating in the experiment, or their lack of commitment to the process.
I’m going to abruptly stop there, but check out part two!