I love watching Married At First Sight! I am thoroughly addicted to it.
I am not sure this is healthy, for a celebrant who’s role in weddings is to support couples in announcing and celebrating their sacred union and to highlight the solemnity, sanctity and honour of pursuing matrimony. And I’m pretty certain that I would turn down the offer to officiate at one of the ceremonies. So what’s the attraction?
It’s certainly not pretty (or even realistic) when such a contrived and ‘grotesque escapism’ (according to the media) displays overtly toxic alphas, exchanging lies, betrayals and manufactured dramas. Instead of highlighting sacred honour, the ‘made for TV’ shenanigans highlight the most extreme gender stereotypes – catty, vindictive women pitting themselves against each other whilst spouting the ‘girl code’; and misognynistic men, gaslighting their spouses and evidencing that conscious and unconscious gender bias is still mind-blowingly rampant.
And it’s no longer the social experiment that it once billed itself when the creative editing and ‘spliced’ scenes show how incompatible from the outset some are – matching a guy who desperately wants children with a woman who clearly states she doesn’t? That’s not sharing values! The ‘experts’ seem to have used their insider knowledge to deliberately mis-match couples to increase TV ratings and I’m sure that most of the partners we see aren’t entering the experiment for love – at least not the ‘Pragma’ of the unique bond that develops over years and is everlasting. Rather, some are pursuing fame and the adoration of a couple of million social media fans.
But it is addictive!
I was trying to figure out into which category of addicted viewers I belonged…there is a certain element of ‘I told you so schadenfreude’ when I observe the most shallow of them being made to accept responsibility, being forced to sit – cringing or preening – on the couch while the ‘experts’ pass judgement and encourage them to address their issues in order to love and respect themselves wholly, before seeking it elsewhere. Then there’s the fact that I am genuinely invested in some of them – I have a childlike hope that couples will find their happy-ever-after and that love at first sight is a possibility.
But I think that mostly I am addicted because of the lessons in love that I can learn from it – this albeit myopic perlustration, looks at the complexities that affect all relationships, and makes me think about what efforts are required to take the erotic love of Eros or the playful love of Ludus into the realms of an unconditional and selfless ‘Agape.’
If you both want it, you have to stick at it.