Weddings are the ideal occasion for family and friends of the newly-weds to meet. A wedding involves new faces, first introductions and possibly slightly embarrassing name-forgetting. But surely this is just a concern for those coming to support the marrying couple? Not necessarily, indicates a recent reality TV programme.
In the US programme, Married at First Sight, total strangers agree to marrying each other, despite not knowing the other person at all, based on the match-making of a team of experts. The experts match couples by comparing their personalities, interests and other scientific measures to find couple compatibility. At the end of the series, viewers can find out whether the carefully matched couples stay together or divorce.
Science or Romance?
Although this arrangement could not be further from the traditional, romantic image of falling in love, it does have some scientific and psychological backing. It could be argued that this more rational pairing based on the statistics and minds of potential couples makes more sense than simply finding a nice-looking or well-paid partner-to-be on a night out. Indeed, one of the contenders of the show agrees with the unromantic and scientific approach of pairing couples, and admits that normally, the women he has been with ‘didn’t have (a certain) something…but with my wife (found on the show), she has it.’
Sociology professor, Dr Pepper-Schwartz, thinks that such a method of pairing would probably result in a smoother and more successful marriage, as opposed to the commonly occurring self-selecting process that so often ends in divorce. Dr Pepper-Schwartz states that the show provides his team of experts with ‘an opportunity to match people with (others that) complement them.’ He hopes that with such an approach, his team ‘can end the kind of mistakes couples make by themselves, such as basing their choices of romantic partners heavily on attraction or a misperceived need for a certain kind of person who is really not good for them.’
A Social Experiment
Sexologist Dr Logan Levkoff adds a more scientific objective to the show, framing it as more of a social experiment than a callous, romantic-killing form of entertainment. He states that the show is an ‘experiment seeking to determine whether social science can play a role in marital success. If we offer a new way to find a connection- and a long lasting one- imagine the possibilities.’
Where is the Dating Dynamic These Days?
Although this approach is not romantic, perhaps pre-arranged marriage based on scientific personality matching will be the new thing. After all, the online dating phenomenon that has swept the singletons of our nation is based on matching profiles based on personalities and interests of potential couples. We cannot deny that science does have a significant part to play on our interest and compatibility with a loved one, and perhaps the show’s scientific approach could be the future. Hopeless romantics, turn away now…