Perhaps I should clarify that title…love can exist in reality, not so much in or on reality TV. Lately, I’ve been watching the Bachelorette for who knows what reasons, but its interesting and it easy to get lost in day dreams of having 25 men vying for my affections. But as fun as it can be to get lost in the day dreams, there are a number of reasons that shows like this (and for that fact, many dating scenes that exist today) don’t work.
Situations like the Bachelor, the Bachelorette and other dating scenes automatically have trust issues associated with them. How is your heart supposed to trust? Take the guys on the Bachelorette right now – how can they trust that Ashley is being truly genuine with them? I don’t know about those guys, but I’d always be wondering if she was telling me something specific to me or something she was saying to every other guy competing for her affections.
Furthermore, these guys are COMPETING for…her love? If you’ve watched at all so far, you know there is one guy who is competing for the sake of competing – how is she supposed to trust that these guys are being genuine instead of competing for their 15 minutes of fame?
2. Your heart is divided
Ashley has 25 guys vying for her attention and chances are she feels some kind of connection with more than one of them. Her heart is divided and therefore can’t focus on or nurture a deep and lasting relationship with one of them. Her heart is being taught to be divided, that its okay to have feelings for these different guys all at once. When you teach your heart, for any amount of time, that its okay to have strong feelings for more than one guy, how do you expect to be content with one guy?
3. Craving constant attention
This point is similar to the last one, Ashley has all of these men vying, competing for her attention. They pull out guitars, they wear masks, they dance her around a room, they bring her a special bottle of wine, they all do something to get her attention, and she loves it! What girl (or for that matter, what human) doesn’t want that kind of attention? However, it becomes normal for her (or any other person in a similar dating situation in which you meet a lot of people at once) to get a lot of attention from a lot of different guys. Just the amount of attention she receives becomes something she starts to expect. When she narrows her pool down to one guy, what happens when he isn’t always focused completely on her? What happens when they return to their everyday lives and she is still craving that attention? She’s quite likely to seek (and probably find) it somewhere else.
I’m not saying that people don’t or can’t find love and happiness in this way, but it is quite unlikely. So what can we learn from these countless failed TV romances?
1. Trust is key. If you can’t trust your significant other or you find they are constantly talking to other girls in the same way they talk to you, its probably not a relationship you want to pursue any further. All good relationships are built on a solid foundation of trust and communication and if you don’t have that foundation, then work on building it or move on.
2. Don’t let your heart be divided. Love God first. If you (being a male or a female) are divided in your heart about love, if your significant other (or potential significant other) doesn’t push you closer to God, its probably not a relationship you want to pursue any further. God wants your heart for Himself, He is a jealous God, just check out the first commandment – He doesn’t want you to love any other gods (read: boyfriend, girlfriend, cute guy down the block, etc.) before you love Him. A true partner will, by their actions and their words, love you enough so that you can love God more. To love is to will the GOOD of another, to push them towards God, not away from Him, and certainly not divide someone’s heart between God and your relationship.
3. Seek attention from God. He loves you. He wants to shower you with His love, He stands at the door and knocks (Revelation 3:20). His love, His attention is the attention our hearts seek, in fact, its the only attention that will truly satisfy us. St. Augustine said, “You have made us for Yourself, oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” When we continually seek the attention of the opposite sex perhaps we need to take a step back and realize who our true hunger is for: God. No man or woman should ever give us the attention we are supposed to seek from God.
May we find our hearts at home in the loving hands from the God who loves us and desires to be in an ever-closer relationship with Him, AMEN.