Love Is Blind. At least that’s what the latest show on Netflix, which ranked #1 of all shows on Netflix last week, is trying to make us believe.
If you haven’t seen it (I’m not recommending you go watch it), I’ll summarize and let you know that premise of this new TV show is to give people a chance to meet each other without actually seeing each other.
Participants are put in “pods” – little rooms, where they have access to hearing one another through a wall, but where they’re unable to see each other. The idea is that they build an emotional connection first (which isn’t a bad idea…)
They then go on a series of dates each day, narrowing down the candidates based on the people they’re feeling an emotional connection to. Sounds good so far, right?
The twist comes in, when they have to decide who they are going to “propose to” by the end of the series of dates — “site unseen” – aka – they will never get to SEE their fiance until they propose.
By the end of the first couple episodes, 6 couples were matched up based on an emotional connection, and after they proposed and and the proposal was accepted, they got to meet each other for the first time…get ushered away to a tropical vacation together…move in together…and begin preparing for the wedding.
I honestly wasn’t planning on saying much about this show, because you know what, people do crazy things and if that’s their prerogative, so be it. If you like drama, there’s a lot of drama out there to be had.
But something I heard on a specific episode, from the mouths of the hosts of the show, really bothered me…to the point where I found myself yelling at the TV screen (I think most healthy people found themselves doing the same…) I HEARD THE LIES. And now, I can’t keep my mouth shut.
The first lie? The host of the TV show looked at the couples and said, and I quote:
2. “In the pods, you guys all built an amazing foundation…”
FIRST OF ALL LADY….
How can you build an amazing foundation in 5 days of dating?
The very fact that she used the words “amazing foundation” about killed me. Dating someone that you haven’t seen for five days is not an amazing foundation, it’s a decent start to a relationship AT BEST. To go as far as to say it’s an amazing foundation is absolutely insane. There’s nothing amazing that can be built in 5 dates. NOTHING. That’s the beginning…and only the beginning. There is SO much more to a healthy relationship. By five days they still new slim to none about one another’s family of origin, past relationships, habits and struggles, communication styles, conflict styles, background, expectations, secrets….I could go on and on and on and on….
In fact, one of the couples totally disintegrated before they even got to this point, so to say it’s an amazing foundation is really disheartening, and mocks the very essence of what a healthy relationship needs to look like.
Healthy relationships build an amazing foundation with effort and time. An amazing foundation doesn’t magically get established in five days whether or not you can see the person…it takes time to grow, and develop. It takes intention, focus, and being deliberate about establishing key ingredients that make up a healthy relationship.
LOVE HAS TO GO THROUGH SEASONS TO PROVE ITSELF
In my newest book, Love In Every Season, I talk about the importance of making sure your relationship has gone through the four seasons of love: spring, summer, fall, and winter. Now, you don’t necessarily need three months to get through each season – but just like in nature, seasons take time to unfold. Important things happen in each season, crucial ingredients are established, and each season shows you a little bit more of the health (or lack there of) of your relationship.
Spring is the season of attraction and affection and growth.
Summer is the season when things get hot, and you develop emotional, spiritual, and physical intimacy.
Fall is when your true colors shine through and you work through your compatibility issues using healthy conflict and good communication.
Winter is the seasons when you deal with the cooling off of feelings, and establishing comfort and familiarity with one another in a deep way.
Every one of these seasons is important, and there’s so much you need to know and do in each season. I hate to break it to you – but five days of basic emotional connection is going to do nothing for you in the long run.
Emotional connection takes a lot more than that. It’s not that easy, and it shouldn’t be! You’ve GOT to pass through the four seasons – you’ve got to know them, understand them, and navigate through them with intention. If you want to increase your odds of a healthy relationship, you need to get studying about love…not waste your time watching this Netflix doozy.
The next lie that the host said that made me yell my head off at the TV screen was her very next comment, which was:
2. “If you make it through these tests, I promise you your marriage is going to move forward on extremely solid ground”.
Really solid ground…? [Insert crying emoji here]
If 5 days of dating + one vacation to tropical paradise with a stranger + moving in together before marriage = extremely solid ground, then I might as well quit my job as a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in marriage and relationship issues and start sending people to Mexico!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is completely false information.
First and foremost, research shows us time and time again that couples who co-habitate before marriage have been proven to have a higher divorce rate than other couples. This is not the bible, people, this is scientific research. And it continues to show us the same data.
Sometimes, the data is masked because couples who co-habitate tend to have an easier first year (because they’ve already experienced the natural stress of combining lives), but long-term data shows that the dissolution of marriage is still higher in couples who co-habitate. It’s more HARMFUL in the long run.
Simply put: It sets you up for divorce. “The literature on cohabitation has usually described the experience of cohabitation as a negative for marital stability”…research continues to affirm this reality. This is not even close to the realm of the category of “really solid ground”, my friends. Don’t believe it.
The last lie that drove me loony was when she told them their relationships, and the connection they’ve built…
3. “It’s as strong as, or stronger than, any marriage ever. We’re giving you the absolute best chance for lifetime success…”
So, you’re telling me that these marriages are going to be stronger than any marriage ever? That’s a pretty big claim to make if you ask me. Especially with people that barely know each other yet and absolutely no professional counseling involved WHATSOEVER. No training. No preparation. No education. NOTHING.
According to research, what really makes marriages strong is doing the hard work of marriage. THE WORK OF MARRIAGE!!! Couples who are willing to do the work are the ones who build a strong foundation.
The work of learning to communicate in a healthy way.
The work of dealing with their past.
The work of learning how to forgive.
The art of apologizing.
The work of learning to become one in their schedules, interests, and hobbies.
The work of meeting with a professional counselor.
The work of building a lasting and deep emotional intimacy – which takes time, and effort, and consistency.
The work of establishing a spiritual connection.
The work of getting healthy and whole while standing alone so they can pour into their marriage without hindrance.
The work of vulnerability, and authenticity, and honesty.
The work of setting boundaries to protect themselves from outside influences.
The work of learning, and downloading, and absorbing information about what it takes to create a healthy relationship.
The work of choosing WE before ME.
There’s a lot to building a healthy relationship, and I can guarantee you this much: it doesn’t happen in five days.
REAL love isn’t blind.
Real love sees it all: the flaws, the failures, the sins, the struggles….and works hard to get healthy and whole because it knows that is the KEY to a love that lasts a lifetime.
Don’t get your relationship advice from Netflix, when you can get it from a licensed counselor and national relationship expert. Start doing the WORK of healthy relationships – no matter what your relationship status learn the four stages of every healthy relationship and start working on yourself from the inside out. Because, let me repeat for the people in the back: love times time…and work…and intention…and it definitely doesn’t happen in five days.
MORE BOOKS BY DEBRA
Get busy learning what you need to know about healthy singleness, dating, and marriage. Check out Love In Every Season: The Four Stages of Every Healthy Relationship, Choosing Marriage: Why It Has To Start With We > Me or True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life.
And Check out Debra’s Love + Relationships Podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts!
DEBRA FILETA is a Licensed Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of Choosing Marriage and True Love Dates, and Love In Every Season. She’s also the host of the hotline style Love + Relationships Podcast. Her popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, reaches millions of people with the message of healthy relationships. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twi