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Married at First Sight and Love at First Kiss are banking on instant chemistry to find love

My work as a marriage and family therapist in Scottsdale, Arizona helps to  instill hope and change through the use of techniques including: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Parenting Skills Training, and Brief Solution focused therapy. I u...

Can reality shows really create lasting love from instant attraction?

Married at First Sight and Love at First Kiss are beginning new seasons, and I wonder if love can be found in these nontraditional scenarios

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These two reality shows are about couples searching for love and are fascinating glimpses about relying on instant chemistry and allowing a relationship to develop with time. While I have doubted and questioned the concept of Married at First Sight in the third season, I think the matches this season make more sense and will hopefully allow for the relationships to develop and last, though the six-week time frame is still a detriment. While it is difficult to match people just on paper, if the experts can produce the matches and in-person chemistry, then it is a better start than last season where the concept failed all the couples.

Married at First Sight on FYI goes into its fourth season, this time with two new experts sitting on the panel, Pastor Calvin Roberson and Rachel DeAlto join Dr. Pepper Schwartz and three new couples (Heather/Derek, Lillian/Tom and Sonia/Nick) are married at first sight. Last season ended without any of the couples staying together and instead choosing to divorce after the finale aired. There were many flaws in setting up couples by matching them on paper and assuming commitment would create stronger bonds on its own. But this season, I watched the first few episodes and have already observed some potential due to the unspoken chemistry and the appearance of them being more at one with each other. If these couples believe in marriage and find each other not only falling in love but really liking each other as friends, maybe this season will work out better. Can this season create the magic and the compatibility this time? We will have to see.

The couples at the wedding ceremonies appeared to be more attracted to each other even through the awkwardness of just meeting. When the pairs first laid eyes on each other, they had positive comments and the chemistry seemed unspoken to most of the three couples in the first meeting. Now, we know chemistry is not everything, but it is a good start if it is shared by both people. While the show will continue to show the development of the couples moving forward, I found these three couples refreshing in that they appeared to all state that they really wanted to find love and commitment in this process, and they seemed genuine to me as a viewer. Time will tell if season four turns out better than the last and if errors that were made last season are seen again.

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Another new dating show that also hit the airwaves recently is Love at First Kiss on TLC, and it is a really interesting concept as well. This show puts two strangers together who are meeting for the first time with a kiss to see if they would like to continue on to the mini-date in the next segment. If so, it is followed by another date if they both decide to continue on. I like the format of this show because it really empowers each person to decide what is best for him or her, as each is only going off that first kiss and not a lot of other information. Can chemistry be enough to create a connection? I think this idea about attraction and chemistry is more than just physical attraction, but it's that unspoken magic that may or may not occur when the two meet. Although the show is just beginning, it will be interesting to see if this concept can create long-lasting relationships.

Both shows are basically real-life settings without all the manufactured fantasy and romance we see on The Bachelorette. The Married at First Sight couples are in their own settings and the Love at First Kiss couples have to decide a meeting after a kiss, so there is nothing else influencing them other than the person and that kiss. Time will tell how these shows fare, but it’s another way to look at love through instant connection and the process afterward. Can an unspoken connection create a long-lasting relationship or is it not enough? Can the idea of marriage and commitment allow a couple to grow together without the usual dating stages?

I will be watching the seasons to see what happens.

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