(EDITOR’S NOTE: This post originally appeared March 15)
Given that I’ve been pretty vocal in the Bible studies about my distaste for the TV show The Bachelor, I figured it was only fair that I admit that I’ve been drawn in to the show at the end of this season. If you missed it, last night America discovered in the season finale that Brad chose Emily rather than Chantal. The process had begun with no less than twenty-five potential soul mates for Brad.
On the surface, one might think that this process would surely lead any bachelor to a happily-ever-after life. Brad had focused time and virtually unlimited resources at his disposal as he looked for women with whom he had a deep “connection” (Brad seemed to use that word a lot).
Interestingly, though, this was Brad’s second season on the show. In the first season, he chose . . . nobody! This season, he did choose Emily, but the third hour of programming last night (yes, the third hour) revealed that their relationship since the end of the filming process had been quite rocky. This was sad since Brad and Emily seem like nice, sincere people.
Connection, compatibility, and chemistry are not enough to make a marriage work. This is one reason why The Bachelor’s selection process does not inevitably yield a happy couple. If anything, the emphasis in the show is on how people can find someone that makes them feel good rather than on how they can focus on the needs and desires of someone else. Solid marriages usually include connection, compatibility, and chemistry, but they always include loyalty, faithfulness, and care, which are fundamentally other-centered traits.
I’m not suggesting we go back to arranged marriages, but I am suggesting that we embrace a view of marriage that elevates our spouses above ourselves. Men, if you are looking for a spouse, don’t forget to approach marriage as an other-centered relationship. If you are already married, don’t use perceived lack of connection, compatibility, and chemistry as an excuse to be distant from your wife. You have as much compatibility as the Lord wanted you to have.
Our responsibility as husbands is to love our wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). Thank God for Christ’s unconditional faithfulness toward us. May we show the same unconditional faithfulness to our spouses.
And may Brad and Emily show the same unconditional faithfulness toward one another now that their “real” relationship has begun.
— Beau StanleyFollow @beaustanley