Please Join me in my Obsession with “Married At First Sight”

After last night’s episode of “Married At First Sight” I am totally optimistic about seeing love grow between the couples who volunteered to be married as complete strangers. However, the episode ended with a season preview that has me sitting in suspense (I mean, we know marriage isn’t a cake walk, but can these strangers really work through their shit together?) Now, I will spend the next several weeks watching them work through changes and their issues and at the end of six weeks, they will decide whether to stay married or get divorced. 

This is my current TV obsession. I have been hooked ever since the title caught my eye during season one. Once it became clear that it was way more intriguing than just a reality show, I caught up on any missed episodes and now I record every single one and follow all of the couples on Twitter.

The title explains exactly what the show is, but it is much more scientific than two random people getting paired up to be married to each other; it is not just a cast of good looking characters. Instead there are three experts (Seasons 1-3 used four experts) who pore over information on thousands of applicants. Applicants are vetted through several phases which includes surveys, in-person interviews and in-home visits. The experts of MAFS get to know the potential candidates VERY well to determine their compatibility. The result is three carefully paired couples who are notified that a spouse has been found for them and will be married to that stranger in two weeks.

Out of the three couples from season one, two are still married. The couple that made the show particularly interesting to watch was Jamie and Doug. As soon as they were married, Jamie was visibly shaken up and was almost immediately regretful because she was not attracted to her chosen spouse. I cringed for poor Doug every time Jamie rejected his efforts to get close. It seemed like Doug would never catch a break even though he was such a good match for her. Over time, however, Jamie got more and more comfortable with Doug and even started to, as she puts it, “get a crush on [her] husband.” She finally began to allow physical contact like hugs. In the end, they chose to stay married and are still going strong!

Jamie and Doug in season 1 of Married at First Sight

The downside to the show is the success rate of the couples in seasons two and three. Despite a few of them initially choosing to remain together at the end of the experiment, ultimately none have actually stayed married. I could go into deep detail about how I feel about all of these couples, but I will spare you my pointless 100-page analysis of a reality TV show.

Instead, I just want to get others hooked on this show for a couple of reasons: 1) It is a very good lesson on the work, care and compromise that go into a marriage and 2) I want more people I know to work through all the emotions with me on Twitter. It’s a roller-coaster of emotions for the viewers, there’s a lot of cheering the couples on towards success mixed with frustration with individuals who seem to can’t get out of their own way when it comes to building a relationship.

So, what do you think? Are you highly skeptical of the whole concept? Interested to see how it goes? Well, when you’re ready I’ll be tweeting about it on Tuesday evenings (and beyond). Catch it on FYI, Tuesdays 8:30/7:30 CT.




By Claire

Runs: Half-marathons at most. Prefers relays.
Mom to: 3 boys - no more, no less.
Wine: I'll take a cab.

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