I recently stumbled upon re-runs of a reality show called Married at First Sight. That's right, these “contestants” have all agreed to legally marry a stranger who, based on the show's expert opinions and calculations, is their scientifically compatible soul mate. The reality show follows six singles who are ready to say I do in a veritable arranged marriage in the hopes of finding their true love. But that's not where the show ends- these singles have also agreed to then allow these same camera crews to document the four weeks following the wedding, where they'll have to decide whether they want to stay together or get a divorce.
Clearly being that this is a reality show these singles- in my humble opinion- have more than finding LOVE in their starry eyes- i.e.- each one is looking for their 15 minutes of fame in the hopes of either: a) getting their own spin-off reality show and nabbing the brass ring of Reality Star personality or b)Using this show as their springboard for endorsing diet pills. And if I have learned anything about reality TV it is this- IT IS NOT REALITY- it is a carefully scripted unreality that is intended to be appear as though these situations were not contrived and choreographed by a gaggle of behind-the-scenes production assistants.
So, while I probably will not be watching the show- I think the premise is an interesting one to contemplate. Is there such a thing at Love at first sight? Can an arranged marriage actually go the distance and lead to a long and fulfilling relationship? I don't believe in love at first sight- I believe in lust at first sight which some might interpret as love. But real in-the-trenches-I -have-your-back-and-I-am sticking-with-you-even-though- sometimes-it-feels-like-I-want-to-throttle-you love; that cannot be achieved instantly. That kind of love and commitment takes years to develop and is a result of weathering a myriad of experiences together and coming through them not unscathed but still committed to one another.
#1 True love is a product of making hard decisions as a team and sticking by them and each other regardless of the outcome.
#2 True love in a relationship begins when you allow yourself to be completely vulnerable with another person without fear that they will manipulate your most unguarded and raw state of being.
#3 True love in a relationship begins when you put yourself in a situation that you would otherwise never consider- because you know it is important to your partner.
#4 True love is standing beside your partner as they take dive off a cliff into an unknown-be it a new career or the beginning or end stages of an illness and you hold onto their hand for dear life because you don't want them to take their journey alone.
#5 True love is about saying things in desperate anger that could damage the very fabric of your relationship- and yet accepting your partners' forgiveness, when forgiveness feels extra-ordinarily hard to manage.
Ultimately when it comes to marriage whether it is arranged or not– true love in a marriage develops over time and is not about lust, attraction or how much time you have known this person- rather it is when you cannot see your life without your partner for better or worse.