The TV show Married at First Sight is really nothing more than a reflection, albeit sensationalized, of the abject misery of the current dating scene and our desire to do something, anything, to make it better. In today's society, it is not at all surprising to me that 60 psychologically healthy people would sign up to be married to a stranger.
They describe it as a 'social experiment' but there is really very little that is experimental about it. Arranged marriages have been the norm for most of human history. In reality the current dating 'scene' is actually the more recent innovation. As a social experiment, it is proving to be more and more of a failure with every generation. The only thing stemming the dramatic divorce rates is the simple fact that less people are getting married in the first place!
Due to this, dating has become big business. 'Experts' now abound and, from my experience, their direction to potential clients is usually the same. It is some variation on the legitimate advice that one should define negotiable and non-negotiable things you need in your spouse and conduct your search and dating choices accordingly. However, the 'who' is really only half the story.
Where Married at First Sight departs from the model of most dating shows (e.g. The Bachelor) is that, past the first matchmaking episode, the show is very much focused on how these people came together. It is the process that the experts tout as the game-changer.
I myself have had the privilege to coach many many women through the dating process successfully but its not because I'm a good 'matchmaker'. I'm actually pretty bad at making compatible suggestions. What I am good at, and I hope that some of my friends will agree, is helping provide a method to dating once the girl has found a guy to spend some time with.
In my experience, dating is as much about technique as it as about content. When it comes to success how you date is just as important as who you date. The same is even more true within a marriage. So here are 5 of my top most often given pieces of advice for women about HOW to date once you have found a 'WHO' to date:
1. Intimacy before commitment is more likely to end the relationship than develop it.
2. Nice guys will want to jump the bar that you set for them so communicate and don't compromise on the standards you expect to be treated by.
3. When you go to the movies you are spending 'quality time' with the on-screen actor NOT your date.
4. If he is not physically repulsive go on a second date. Love at first sight is rare and even more rarely does it last.
5. One at a time ladies... While its so tempting to juggle a few boys at a time and keep our FOMO (fear of missing out) at bay this strategy usually ends in many short lived low potential relationships rather than the one big one.
Let's put a little bit more method into the madness of dating and perhaps we might be able to turn this experiment around.
Hat Tip to my own dating and marriage coaches: Ilana Cowland and Sarah Oppenheim!