Tags: marriage

New Reality Show Proves that Marriage Means Nothing


In a relatively little-known (read: terrible) movie called What Happens in Vegas, two strangers, played by Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher, get married after a boozy night in Sin City. During their hearing to get the marriage annulled, the judge declares, “Gay people aren’t ruining the sanctity of marriage, you people are,” and orders the couple to stay married for a set amount of time. Now the FYI television network has taken this thin premise and turned it into the reality show Married at First Sight.

The show, which marries three couples without their ever having met each other, is just as boring as What Happens in Vegas, and the people are less attractive than Diaz and Kutcher. However, the first episode justifies at least the latter part of the movie judge’s statement: People like this are ruining marriage.#ad#

The couples are paired based on the opinions of four “experts:” the Sociologist, the Sexologist, the Clinical Psychologist, and the Spiritual Advisor. The experts spend the first ten minutes of the show repeating how this is not a reality show, but a “radical new social experiment.” The couples will be legally married and, after four weeks, will have the option to stay married until the cameras turn off or jump ship while the cameras are still on.

It took me longer than four weeks to decide if I wanted to buy a WiiU.

The show’s social experiment is “radical” in one sense, though it’s not exactly “new.” Zsa Zsa Gabor, Dennis Rodman, Britney Spears, Dennis Hopper and Eddie Murphy all had marriages that didn’t make it to the 28-day mark. In 2012 a man in Dubai reportedly divorced his wife mere “seconds” after the wedding. But the four-week premise does argue that marriage means absolutely nothing in today’s society. It’s disposed of quicker than most people get rid of a broken sofa.

Is even that true, however? Most couples already undergo a limited-duration test of compatibility. It’s called “dating.” The fact that many of the rules of courtship have faded — most notably the expectation that unmarried couples would put off sexual intercourse — makes it even less vital to conduct elaborate experiments to find out if people are right for each other.

The next forty minutes of Married at First Sight consist of the singles assuring the camera that this “social experiment” is indeed crazy, emphasizing how crazy they must be to become a part of this crazy show. The singles, who are all living in New York City, also repeat how tough dating is and how this is the right decision for them.

The show demonstrates how serious the experiment is by showing its experts flipping through books and highlighting things while they analyze the singles’ personality tests. The experts also say the word “scientific” a lot. While discussing the “sophisticated instruments” used to evaluate the participants (actually they just use a questionnaire), the Clinical Psychologist asserts that these same methods are used by the “CIA and FBI.” According to documents made public by Edward Snowden, the Central Intelligence Agency’s 2013 budget was $14.7 billion, but that figure does not seem to include any line items related to a top-secret matchmaking program. (Maybe that’s part of the $2.6 billion Langley spent on covert operations.)

Meanwhile, the Sociologist visits each of the singles at home and draws connections between couples who will be paired up. Girl A performs in a burlesque show and wears costumes. Boy A is a professional wrestler and wear costumes. They both wear costumes! It’s a match made in heaven! Huzzah! According to First Sight, these details are the makings of a successful marriage.

The first episode concludes with one of the brides, Jamie, struggling to say yes to her partner, Doug, because she doesn’t find him attractive. She says to her bridesmaids, “I need to have something to work with.” Don’t worry, Jamie. Judging by the previews, you’ll say yes to a marriage with a total stranger with more ease than I will say yes to watching the second episode of this show.

— Christine Sisto is an editorial associate at National Review Online.

Tags: marriage

‘Social Justice’ Begins at Home


My husband David French has an excellent article, which begins with a proposition:

Dear Christian parents,

I’ve got a deal for you. It’s simple: If you sign up for my program, there’s a roughly 80 percent chance that the man’s happiness will increase substantially. And women, there’s about a 50 percent chance you’ll be happier as well. Sounds good, right? After all, happiness can be tough to come by. How about a few less sleepless nights? A few more smiles? And what about some joy? I bet you could really go for some joy.

The cost? Oh yes, the cost. Nothing’s free, after all. Here’s the thing. If you join my program, your kids will likely become more depressed and anxious. They’ll have a much greater chance of being abused, living in poverty, and becoming addicts. That’s the cost. In short, I’m asking you to purchase your own happiness at the cost of your children’s happiness, not to mention their safety and mental health.


Almost any self-respecting Christian parent would throw me out of their house. Could there be anything more obviously selfish? Can you imagine something that more perfectly contradicts Christ’s call to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him?

Yet that’s the deal millions of Christian parents willingly choose every year and then defend zealously. That deal is called divorce.

He goes on to explain how divorce affects children and society. Could it be that this oft-discussed “social justice” idea could actually be solved by the kind of values for which Murphy Brown mocked Dan Quayle?



David continues:

Throughout my Christian life, I’ve heard much talk of “social justice,” often defined as the desire to create a society that is more compassionate, helps the hurting, and lifts up the impoverished…. I find it interesting that in most discussions of poverty and cultural decay, one rarely hears of the simplest and most obvious solution: marriage.

Read David’s take on how marriage can actually solve many of our cultural problems.

Tags: social justice , sex , marriage , values

He Said He Was leaving. She Ignored Him.


I found this 2009 article, which first appeared in the New York Times, particularly touching:

Let’s say you have what you believe to be a healthy marriage. You’re still friends and lovers after spending more than half of your lives together. The dreams you set out to achieve in your 20s — gazing into each other’s eyes in candlelit city bistros, when you were single and skinny — have for the most part come true.
Two decades later you have the 20 acres of land, the farmhouse, the children, the dogs and horses. You’re the parents you said you would be, full of love and guidance. You’ve done it all: Disneyland, camping, Hawaii, Mexico, city living, stargazing. Sure, you have your marital issues, but on the whole you feel so self-satisfied about how things have worked out that you would never, in your wildest nightmares, think you would hear these words from your husband one fine summer day: “I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did. I’m moving out. The kids will understand. They’ll want me to be happy.”
But wait.

Keep reading this post . . .

Tags: marriage , Laura Munson

Five Marriage Tips from Jeff Bridges


It’s a feat when a couple’s been married thirty-five years. But in Hollywood? Well, let’s just say it’s really notable.

Tom Rapsas recently wrote about the long relationship between actor Jeff Bridges his wife Susan by summing up Bridges’s five stages to a successful marriage. The third one — called “In time, you see the depth and beauty of married life” — held much wisdom: 

Once you get past the first few shaky years, you find your relationship growing stronger, the roots growing deeper. You have a perception shift where you no longer see what you’re missing, but see the beauty in all that you have. (This was especially true in my case when our first child came along.) You close one door, the door to all other women, but you open a door that leads to a long hallway lined with doors. Incredible doors like children, grandchildren, deeper intimacy with the woman you love, and so many other things that would not be available to you without marriage, without the water under the bridge . . . thank God I went for it.

Tags: marriage

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