I remember watching "Who wants to marry a millionaire" when it originally aired on Fox 10 freaking years ago. My mom was pissed!! She said it made a mockery of marriage, and was disgusting, and made us change the channel. If I remember correctly my mom left the room and dad changed the channel back (or maybe it was me, or more likely my brother Brian), and we got to see Rick Rockwell emerge from his dark balcony and choose Darva Conger over my favorite Barker Beauty from the Price is Right (I have no proof of this but trust me, I remember that very distinctly). Needless to say mom was pissed when she came back in at the end of the show and found us watching it again. We of course augured "what's the big deal?" Mom's sticking point seemed to be that a relationship much less a marriage can't be started instantaneously with out 2 people taking lots of time to get to know each other, therefore this was about 2 people wanting to have sex and not about a life together. (Of course Rick was stonewalled on the honeymoon by Darva, citing her guilt at betraying her religious beliefs, and mom was vindicated. That is until Darva posed naked in Playboy for the $$. I don’t remember how much she was paid but it was less than a million and that apparently was more than Rick had to offer, which meant the show's title was inaccurate, Ergo, mom was right the show was a mockery, but she was wrong it wasn't about sex it was about money, which I think we all knew in the first place. But I digress.)
Of course my mom is a big fan of the Bachelor. A guy slowly eliminates one woman after another until he finds his perfect soul mate, all on national TV in front of a camera and production crew. And as disgusted as she was with who wants to marry a millionaire, she is that enthralled with the Bachelor (Of course she also is enthralled by "the Ghost Whisperer", so make of that what you will).
Now I'm here to tell you that if you’re looking for a model of how to go about finding someone to marry and spend the rest of your life with, Who wants to marry a millionaire is the way to go.
The Bachelor certainly tries to give guy every opportunity to find out all he can about these women and make an informed slowly (painfully so) thought out decision. That is good in that you can say "I didn't rush into this" but that is even a bit of a misnomer.
Basically the bad thing about the bachelor is that it perpetuates the myth that there is one special person out there for you, and the happiness in your future depends on choosing the right person. While marrying a miserable person will make you miserable yourself, there is no perfect person for anyone, and so any good persons will do nicely. The real key is your commitment to the relationship. The problem with all the emphasis on choosing "the right one" is that when things don’t go so swell, you automatically blame the current problems on "I made the wrong choice" and that is an excuse that makes divorce not only easy, but inevitable if not altogether necessary, because of course you made the wrong choice in women. It's a fatal attribution error, blame the past for the present. This is Dr Phil stuff.
John Gottman, who is a big shot marriage expert, researcher, author and former professor at the University of Washington explains finding a marriage partner like this. "You are choosing a problem you want to deal with for the rest of your life." Life is full of problems, they are unavoidable, but you can exercise some control in the type of problems you have in life.
The most recent Bachelor is a good example of this. Jake is down to Tenly and Vienna. Now most people, my wife most of all, hate Vienna and believe her to be a fake, ugly, classless, lying, gold digging slut, with a boob job. On the other hand Tenly is a sweet, loving, shy, good-natured girl, who has been hurt in the past.
OK now you’re Jake and you have to chose the problem you want to put up with for the rest of your life; Vienna might cheat on you, or Tenly's paranoia that you will cheat on her.
Macho bravado and arrogance can compensate for your own insecurity, but there’s little to nothing you can do for someone else's insecurity.
So in Dr. Gottman’s view Jake picking Vienna is not such a bad idea.
The bachelor before that is a good example of how the myth of choosing "the right one" complicates things, but also shows how well things can go if you can eliminate that myth. Jason chose Melissa and for whatever reason decides almost immediately that he made the wrong decision and goes back to Molly. Now tough luck for Melissa, but for Molly and Jason this is a god-send. Now that Jason has already plaid the "I made the wrong decision card" he is committed to Molly. Molly
took him back so quick because, 1.) It validated her telling herself and America in the limo ride to the airport that Jason made a mistake, and 2.) It shows she is not petty and vindictive. Unlike most reality TV fixups, this relationship has a chance.
Jake and Vienna have a chance too because when it comes down to it, Jake picked Vienna in his heart of hearts from the very beginning. He had to of. He had every reason to cut her at any point and he didn't. Why? Because he picked Vienna and then left it up to the rest of the girls to prove themselves better than her. That is impossible because attraction is not a conscious decision. However love and commitment are. And you will never make a commitment to someone if you put the onus on them to illicit that commitment from you. You have to give love and commitment freely. However if your attracted to someone, be it via sex, compassion, laughter or otherwise, giving them love is easy.
So when it comes down to finding someone to love, the question is not who or which one?? But it's a yes or no to whoever you’re with at the moment. When the bachelor says he is falling in love with all 3 of these girls, then he's in trouble. You see once you reach a yes, the search should be over, but the series has 12 more episodes to shoot. That means 12 more episodes of making the bachelor look for reason to doubt his decision, only to have to make an arbitrary one based on suedo-information like his families' opinion after meeting her once for dinner. (I find it funny that the families snap judgment is considered good, but the guy is supposed to agonize back and forth forever to make a good decision.)
Ultimately, a show like "Who wants to marry a millionaire" forces someone to make a decision based on instinct and attraction ( the millionaire) , and then forces the yes/ no decision on "can I live with this person" (the woman when picked and proposed to with a $35,000 ring) and then forces both people to commit right then and there. Now of course the big question is do they really mean it. And in Darva and Rick's case they didn't and you see what happened. But in a lot of the Bachelor cases, I think maybe they did mean it, but it didn’t matter because they went about it all wrong.