Viewfinder: Spouses and other strangers
Arranged marriages used to be common in Asia, but times have changed, so it strikes some viewers as a bit unusual that a new show has made it to the TV screen that focuses on three couples who get married without the benefit of courtship, falling in love, etc.
The “extreme” reality challenge, “Married at First Sight,” seeks to find out by way of its exotic “social experiment” if relative strangers can learn to like—and love—each other in the course of their five-week trial marriages, and not end up in divorce court!
So, how is the extreme “experiment” in the vagaries or strengths of human emotions panning out?
First off, we have to question the “total strangers” premise of its experimental protocol: For one thing, all six of its “guinea pigs” are good-looking and articulate people so some preselection was obviously done.
Thus, the social study is not as its creator want us to believe. Therefore, its findings after five weeks would not necessarily apply to the general population. That should be clear from the very start.
Another key aspect to the reality challenge that colors the entire proceedings is its contestant-couples’ generally self-centered view of marriage.
Each bride and groom appears to have gotten hitched with the motivation of getting as many personal perks from the arrangement as possible!
Since “love” has yet to fully blossom between the newlyweds, their egocentric impulse makes their wedded union less romantic, and more expedient and utilitarian.
The incipient conflicts come to a head when the newlyweds have to figure out where they will live as a married couple. This takes the usual, sexy question, “Your place or mine?,” to unexpectedly contentious heights, because the self-centered “contestant-combatants” want to grab the most advantageous arrangement for themselves!
The biggest bone of contention is the length of the commute that each bride or groom will have to make to and from their new abodes. None of the contestants thought of giving their new spouses the advantage in this regard—and that bodes badly for a happy outcome to their five-week marital “experiment.”
A third contentious factor is what the couples will do when their initial sexual ardor and excitement ebb after their protracted honeymoon!
Since they’re all physically attractive, there’s a lot of sensual and sexual activity going on—but, even perfervid ardor eventually tapers off—so, what will take its place?
If each contestant is basically looking out for himself or herself, what will keep the liking—if not the loving—going?
The last time we viewed the show, its “bickering” and “complaining” level was steadily on the rise, so it looks like most of the arranged marriages won’t go the distance when the reality series ends.
We hope we’re wrong, but isn’t a marriage, whether love-driven or arranged, all about thinking not about yourself, but of your chosen life partner?
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