[Note: Below is a guest blog from @MAFS_Original on Twitter]:
You don’t know me.
However, if you watch the show Married At First Sight you’ve probably tweeted me or commented on my Instagram posts. No, my name isn’t Jamie Otis or Cortney Hendrix. We’ve likely interacted because I happen to run the largest social media fan pages for the show Married At First Sight. With over 60,000 followers and growing, it’s an amazing community. (IG: @_MarriedAtFirstSight_ TW: @MAFS_Original)
Before you start making assumptions, read on.
Several years ago I was a stereotypical millennial. Educated, employed, enjoying freedom with my own place in an exciting city, constantly swiping right or left on various dating apps…and lonely. It seemed all of my friends were in new relationships and always with their significant other, which was putting a hit on my social life.
I was lonely enough to seriously consider getting a cat (I wasn’t a dog person either, Sonia…surprise!) Though a few “crazy cat lady” memes texted from friends squashed that idea. Se la vie.
I remember seeing a commercial for a new show called Married At First Sight and thinking to myself, “Garbage! Totally offensive to the institution of marriage.” And with a mental eye roll I resolved I’d never watch.
A few months later I found myself bored on a Friday night. I was channel surfing and came upon a marathon of Season 1 of Married At First Sight (thanks FYI channel!) I don’t know if it was that all my friends were busy AGAIN on a Friday night or the bottle of wine, but the show drew me in. I figured, at a minimum, watching any person crazy enough to take part in this experiment would definitely help me feel better about my current situation. So I watched. And I watched. And I watched. Every. Single. Episode. I was hooked. I didn’t know it then, but that Friday night would change my life forever.
After that, still wary of “crazy cat lady” stereotypes, I decided to adopt a dog (It’s true Sonia!) Weeks later, my neighbor Mike started to join my regular mini MAFS viewing party. I began to observe two overarching themes each episode of Married At First Sight.
The first was that MAFS provided a vehicle for viewers to discuss the hard issues of marriage in a non-awkward, low pressure way. It also really opened up my eyes to other perspectives. Mike and I debated our way through the Season 2 Sean & Davina fiasco,
“She’s emasculating him!” Mike argued during one of their particularly snarky disagreements. Ryan & Jaclyn’s issue with finding a home central to their jobs really struck home to me,
“I wouldn’t commute 2 hours to work either!” I declared defiantly. It amazed me just how much you could learn about yourself and whomever you were watching with.
The second theme, and arguably the most poignant lesson Married At First Sight seemed to communicate to viewers, was to ditch your “type”. Over and over it blew me away how the expert’s challenged participants’ view of their type. Whatever the obtuse word even meant to each individual I’m not sure they even knew. It challenges every viewer to look beyond their preconceived notion of Mr or Mrs Right and get to the heart of what they truly need in a partner.
No couple demonstrated this more than Season 1’s Doug and Jamie. We all saw Jamie sobbing at her wedding, presumably because she was not at all attracted to her groom. He definitely wasn’t her ideal physically. However, America fell in love right along with them as Jamie ditched whatever her previous type was and decided her new ideal man was honest, kind, stable, warm and funny. Doug was officially her new type. The best part is, he still is.
Those two benefits came to me from an unexpected source, a reality show. However, wisdom can be gained in the least expected place. I’ve learned to embrace it without judgement when it comes.
Mike and I still enjoy our Married At First Sight viewing parties but they’ve changed a bit. Once I stopped looking for my type, I realized he’d been sitting next to me all along, discussing hard marriage issues from the show, eating most of my popcorn, laughing with me and turning into my ideal guy right before my eyes.
Mike proposed by Season 2 and we were married by Season 3. Since then we have another little addition as well.
Thankfully, I was wrong about my type. Could it be possible that you are too?
(This is an opinion piece. The author and their social media accounts are unaffiliated with AETV & it’s sponsors.)