To The Producers of A & E's “Married at First Site”
One of the most innovative shows on relationships to hit the small screen in a long time is called “Married At First Site.” It is one of the few relationship shows that made it into a second season. The second season just ended, but you can still see re-runs or catch it ON DEMAND.
It is about six people, chosen from thousands of applicants who have given up on finding “the love of their lives” on their own. They decided to hand over who they marry to a team of specialists in their fields to decide for them.
For the most part, the show is very entertaining. It does what I would want to do as a creator of relationship minded reality programming. It explores, exposes and tries to raise up the importance of having quality, happy relationships while other relationships reality shows focus on “hooking” up.
There are four experts who choose six participants to take part in the real life “experiment” which is to attempt to find three couples who will actually marry, except they do so with someone they see for the first time at the alter. It is up to these experts to choose three couples who have the best chance of staying married after the trial 6 week period.
As a Relationship Coach studying relationships for forty years, I was frustrated after watching the final show of the second season when they brought back the three couple six months later to see how they were progressing. The one area the experts did not seem of have the knowledge about is a subject that has changed society for what I believe is for the worst. It has taken modern day relationships and put it on a roller coaster ride from hell. It has literally made it impossible for a majority of people to ever find a workable relationship!
That area that has especially troubled our most successful and influencial people in our society is the role that “masculinity and femininity” plays in our love lives. The leader who has made the most strides understanding and explaining this difficult subject is Dr. Pat Allen. Perhaps you have seen my mentor on Patty Stanger's “Millionaire Matchmaker.” When Patty has an especially tough time with one of her fee paying millionaires, she calls in this little old eighty or so year old Clinical Psychologist with decades of experience in an area where it is most striking and damaging.
Dr. Pat lives and works in Los Angeles. To this day, she gives weekly lectures to the toughest audiences in the world, people from the show business world. She packs movie theaters with actors and actresses, producers and directors, casting directors, agents and managers who have all fallen victim to the masculine/feminine confusion.
Dr. Pat states in these lectures that modern day women, in order to be competitive in the work force, have become much more masculine in nature than ever before. She states that this has created a double edge sword for them. One side gets those jobs and work they so desire by revving up a much more aggressive (masculine) approach to get the jobs they want.
They then must deal with the second side of that sword which is, do they really want to become the masculine, aggressive person in their love and romantic relationships. Even though the majority of women in the our modern day world has taken on this role, does it really serve women to be the masculine, aggressive person in romantic relationships?
There are four combinations of masculine/feminine roles and Dr. Pat's work explains why one combination can work and has worked for thousands of years, while the other combinations simply cannot work, even though it is what is called modern day, “new school thought” on relationships.
Here is what she says cannot work.
If a masculine female meets a masculine man, as the masculine character, she approaches the man. She says hello, perhaps offers to buy him a drink and is the aggressor in the relationship right from the start.
It puts the previously masculine, aggressive male into a feminine, receptive role of either accepting the aggressive attention and accepting the advances of the female...or not, formally the role of the typical feminine, receptive female for centuries. If the males sees himself as masculine and wants to be the aggressor, he will abandon that role if he wants to be with the female and what looks like an easy and simply way to have sex with her. The problem is, the masculine, aggressive male wants to be the one to pick who he will proudly take home to mom. If a female picks him, she loses that “special” perception and he will not value and cherish her the same way if he doesn't do the choosing.
Two aggressive/masculine type people will not last long because they will be battling each other for power inside and outside the bedroom. Two feminine/receptive people also cannot work well and for very long because neither will be able to make up their minds where they want to go, what they want to do...without someone in the relationship taking the reins and making choices and decisions for the two. A masculine female choosing an available feminine, receptive male will eventually not work as they will both become bored and frustrated with the role they have taken and the role the other has taken on.
Dr. Pat explains the only combination that can work for the long run possibility for love in relationships is if the male is the masculine/ aggressive one in the relationships and the woman is the feminine, receptive one, a combination that has worked fairly well for thousands of years.
Ladies...men, please do not get mad at me for bringing this up for your attention. It is not my research, but it is work that I greatly admire and respect and work that clearly explains why our modern day world is so lost and troubled when it comes to relationships.
This brings me back to what the host of the last show of “Married At First Site” revealed six months after “experiment” and after the initial production asked the three couples to decide whether to stay married or divorce. They focused on one couple that US WEEKLY wrote about in their article “Married at First Sight's Jaclyn Methuen, Ryan Ranellone Split for Good.”
This couple seemed to have a great chance of making it. What made them the most interesting couple was that Jaclyn was not the least bit interested in or attracted to Ryan at the alter. She was terribly disappointed in who the experts choose for her. It was only after time that her feelings for Ryan started to grow. This created a wonderful opportunity for Ryan to play the masculine, aggressive personality as he tried to win her over.
Then something dramatic happened. Even though they did not become intimate on their honeymoon, Jaclyn's feelings started growing and along with that exposed her aggressive, masculine nature that carried her efforts so well for so many years at work and failed her in her previously unsuccessful attempts at relationships in her past.
After the first night of intimacy, they both emerged with big smiles on their faces. Then another energy took over. Jaclyn not only became the aggressive one in the relationship, but sexually as well and reversed the roles they were both playing. Ryan went from being the aggressor and pursuer, the role he desired and most wanted to play, to then becoming the receptive partner, needing to rise up to the occasion when Jaclyn, whom reportedly had not had sex in many years, wanted to make up for lost time.
During that last show, the blond female sex expert seemingly wanted to punch out Ryan for being so threatened by this strong, willful women. What she didn't get at all and what has changed things so drastically for the love, sex and dating world is, Ryan wanted to be the aggressive, masculine leader and provider, and Jaclyn was taking that role away by pursuing him, paying for dinners and generally trying to get him to do things her way. He lost his attraction for her when she switched from being the one he so wanted to pursue and win over, to becoming “too much for him” as he unknowingly put it. None of the judges saw this and as a result, could not help this couple that obviously cared a lot about each other, to move ahead with their relationship.
The other two couples were also good examples of why a relationship can work and why another was doomed from the start. One couple that had a real good chance of surviving past the show had a masculine, aggressive male and a feminine receptive female component fully in place. The other that had very little chance of working was made up of a feminine, receptive male who was married to a traditional receptive, feminine female who had to take on masculine, aggressive personality at work, who truly wanted to be a pursued, feminine receptive female.
This reversal of the masculine/feminine role has had devastating effects on the way men and women interact in the dating world today. Masculine men simply don't know what to do to approach someone not knowing who wants to do the approaching. Women don't know why they can't seem to find the ideal man after taking aggressively pursuing the men they want. The confusion and frustration has never been more apparent and this reality show did a great job of exposing this phenomena so well.
I am committing the rest of my life to helping men and women figure out what role will best serve them to provide the best opportunity to find happiness and self-fulfillment in their relationships.
More next time.