I’m not sure just how radical an idea FYI network’s “social experiment” Married at First Sight truly is. Haven’t there been arranged marriages since the beginning of time? Which, to me, doesn’t even sound like all that crazy of an idea. This “experiment” should be even better than a traditional betrothal as it’s not simply a financial or bloodline preservation arrangement, but one that is based on actual compatibility with the great potential for a true romantic love match. Who wouldn’t want the convenience and confidence of a thorough screening and interviewing of your mate, who (theoretically) should be everything that you’ve ever wanted (at least on paper)?
I suppose the difference and more “radical” part of this would be that it is also being aired worldwide for millions to see. Which brings me to the part that does raise my eyebrows a bit: that ultimately, it is a show that must be “watchable”. My cynical side would never be able to shake the suspicion that I might be made the butt of some plot twist for laughs and ratings. Even assuming the folks of FYI have the best of intentions and nothing but goodwill in their hearts (and after watching the show so far, I do believe that to be the case) I would still have some reservation about whether this specifically could work. Whether you believe that everyone has one true soul mate, or if you reject that idea (like me) but still generally believe that everyone can potentially find a greatly compatible match, you would still have the same lingering reservation: what is the likelihood of that very person, at this very moment , also applying to be on this very show? Not very likely, I would think. And so would be the concern that pairings can therefore be made only from the available pool of cast applicants and not necessarily because its my true best match from out of, say, the entire state even. I would also have been a bit concerned about only having 4 weeks in which to make a decision on whether or not to stay married. Not that 90 days is a lifetime, but even 3 months would have seemed a bit more reasonable of a time frame for the learning curve of melding lives together.
All that being said, I am truly a fan of this highly watchable show. As a (relatively) recently married person, it’s always interesting to compare my experience to that of other couples also navigating the work and compromise that marriage requires. And as so much of reality TV only seems to focus on the demise of relationships, it is truly refreshing to find one that is centered on building and maintaining a committed partnership. Whether is was successful still remains to be seen, at least to us viewers, until tonight’s finale! And I’ve been sitting on pins and needles all week waiting for this show to air tonight because I honestly can’t say that I feel certain that any one couple will make it or not.
After watching Doug and Jamie’s wedding, I’m sure many may have immediately thought they would not make it. I certainly felt bad for Doug as it can’t be easy to see the person that’s supposed to (eventually) love you the most is cowering in the corner in a pool of tears because she didn’t feel an immediate physical attraction to you. My heart ached for him in that moment but even so, I didn’t immediately write Jamie off as some evil witch. A wedding is overwhelming even for those that picked one another, so I found it relatively easy to cut her some slack. And as episodes have progressed, I find it refreshing to hear how she has admitted wholeheartedly how wrong her initial reaction was and what great of a person she is finding in Doug. And he truly does seem like great husband/father material, CigaretteGate notwithstanding. That disappointing moment in Doug’s behavior was actually a good reminder that we are none perfect and that it’s not always the transgression that was made that’s important, but rather the love, patience, and understanding that follows from both sides in working to heal and move past the issue together. I have high hopes that these two will make it.
Jason and Cortney seemed to have a good start. And even though they are the youngest, they are surprisingly giving off the best vibes in terms of who may actually make it. They truly seem a great match, if Jason will allow them to be! He does seem extra reserved at times with that relentless nagging belief that maybe things won’t work out and maybe they should end things now so that he won’t get hurt in the long run. That’s no way to live, especially when the other person hasn’t even really given you reason to doubt them yet. And it does make you wonder how he even found it possible to be on this show if this fear for him is that big and that debilitating. How can you want marriage for the stability and permanence it offers but then doubt that that’s what the other person will bring? But hopefully these weeks have allowed him time to grow and believe that this is for real that she is there for the long haul (and hopefully she is. Nothing portrayed on the show so far would lead anyone to think that she isn’t). Their biggest obstacles right now just seem to be their schedules and making time for one another. Their calendars definitely seem like a single person’s calendar. And that’s just not what they are anymore! They will definitely need to make more concessions and changes to allow their marriage the proper time and attention that it deserves. But school doesnt necesarily need to be one of those things and so Jason should go for it if that’s the career and path he wants for himself. Marriage is sacrifice and it looks like Cortney may be the one to have to do that right off the bat, which I’m sure will be challenging, but hopefully it will also be rewarding in the end. I have high hopes that these two will make it.
And then there is Vaughn and Monet, who also seemed to have a good connection even at the moment of meeting on their wedding day. But then it seems conflict arose even before the honeymoon was over and it has been a roller coaster of emotions ever since. Vaughn was clear in what type of wife he was looking for. Although maybe instead of the word “traditional” he should have used the term “archaic”. Because he does indeed seem to want a spouse that is an archetype of the 1950’s housewife. And that’s his prerogative and it’s what he clearly asked for. But Monet is clearly not that type. When Monet said she also wanted a traditional marriage, I think I get what she meant in terms of wanting a husband that has a strong presence in his role as “head of the household” but I don’t think that meant she would be the traditional wife! She seems quite capable and willing to be a wife that loves and supports a husband, but not necessarily a wife that is interested in coddling and giving the worship, adulation, and unwavering attention that Vaughn comes across as wanting. Maybe instead of “traditional”, Monet should have asked for leadership in a “progressive” husband? It seems they thought they had “turned a page” every episode and then apparently realized they had not. But each and every time, they’ve also continued to try, which was very satisfying to see. Still, they’ve had to to try again and start over a lot for a couple that’s essentially just met. Maybe this is a bit too much to ask someone to work through, especially when maybe they weren’t even truly a compatible match to begin with. So if anyone doesn’t make it, it wouldn’t be a surprise in the least if it’s these two, and maybe it would be for the best.
Yet and still, I am hoping with all hope that maybe, just maybe, Vaughn and Monet can reexamine what they thought they wanted and realize there is something so promising in the other that makes them each want to adjust their expectations in their mutual desire to work things out and stay together. I still have high hopes that these two will make it. Because, as cynical as I am at just about everything in life, at the end of the day, maybe I am still a romantic at heart. One who believes that in a marriage at first sight, an enduring love can definitely be arranged.