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Married At First Sight first premiered on July 8th, 2014. The series was the first of its kind, marketed as an experiment to see if two people that were matched by experts could develop the foundation for marriage in 8 weeks. And the caveat? Each couple had to legally get married. Nine years later, the show has grown more into a spectacle than a social experiment. And it’s time for it to come to an end.
‘MAFS’ Uses Their Successful Couples to Project the Idea That the Experiment Works
It is very easy to hop on Google and see what MAFS couples are still together since the show’s premiere in 2014. The lists seem lengthy, and for a person who has never watched the show, it sounds like it works. This is the image the series projects: they keep their successful couples involved with the programming as proof that the experiment does work. The structure of it when it first began was more realistic. The couples had to deal with the issues of cohabitation, work schedules, and the occasional counseling session. The structure of the experiment was not as curated as it has been in recent years. These elements are what made the show exciting to watch; seeing two perfect strangers attempt to get to know each other, fall in love, and decide if they want the marriage to last forever, or get a divorce after the timing was up. It was fascinating to see how they navigated unforeseen issues, like not being attracted to their new partner. It was even more exciting to watch the couples genuinely begin falling for each other, and seeing them choose love on Decision Day. The couples that do stay together on Decision Day become instant staples on Lifetime. From baby specials to Where Are They Now specials, MAFS puts its successful couples on display as much as possible to prove that the program can create solid marriages. The problem with this? It’s a big lie.
The ‘MAFS’ Experiment Is A Proven Failure
All experiments are founded under the scientific method. The hypothesis of MAFS is that if relationship experts match two total strangers in a marriage based on their own personalities and desires, then they’ll be more likely to stay married. The real question now is this: is the experiment a success?
The answer is no. In fact, it should be seen as a massive failure. The series has been airing for 9 years with 16 different seasons having taken place since it first began. 64 couples have gone to the altar to marry, for the most part, a total stranger. And of those 64 couples, how many are still together? 11. That’s right, only 11 couples in the history of the series have stayed together. Granted, this number is based on who’s still married now, not who said yes on Decision Day. If the experiment were judged based on Decision Day alone, those numbers would be much higher. But Decision Day is not a proper barometer for the series success rate, as many couples have broken up in the weeks following the day they agreed to stay married. In order for the series to be considered a success, the percent of couples that do stay married would be slightly higher than the national divorce rate percentages, which are between 40 – 50%. MAFS current success rate is extremely low, at 17%. As a matter of fact, 6 of the 16 seasons that have aired have had zero successful marriages; seasons 2 – 4 and 13 – 15. If there are more failures than there are successes, that means the hypothesis is incorrect. The experiment is a failure, which means it’s time to end it.
The ‘MAFS’ Experts Ignore Red Flags & Encourage Toxic Relationships
It’s time to talk about the MAFS “experts”. Dr. Pepper Schwartz and Pastor Calvin Roberson are the most well known and consistent counselors that have been featured. Dr. Pepper has been involved since the series first began, while Pastor Cal joined the series in the 4th season. The idea behind the experts is that they put the couples together, and after marriage give them counsel with the goal of them staying together. The show has had plenty of additional experts coming in and out throughout the years, and from varying fields (but one is usually a sex therapist). Every expert theoretically has the credentials to be involved, but they also most likely have a contractual obligation to do everything they can to keep the couples together for as long as they can. They come off as extremely sympathetic on the show, but as always, actions speak louder than words. They may not be trying to encourage emotionally abusive cases, but they certainly aren’t doing much to stop them when they do arise.
The idea has been seen time and time again throughout the series’ nine-year history, but have definitely become more frequent in the past three years. In fact, fans have been very vocal about the couples that were a clear and obvious mismatch from the jump. The experts claim to be matching everyone based on their values and other deeply personal matters that can affect relationships, but that seems to be a half-truth. There is always that one couple that leaves many wondering how they ever managed to match them. Earnest participants like Paige Banks, Kate Sisk, Chris Collette, and Derek Sherman were paired with incredibly toxic partners. Both Paige and Kate were paired with partners who toyed with them physically and emotionally, all the while constantly being told by their new husbands that they weren’t attractive enough. Chris was paired with a woman who did not find him attractive and did everything in her power to make him look like the bad guy, which failed miserably for her. They also had different political ideologies, which is something one would think the experts would pay attention to due to the extremely divisive state of politics in the United States. Derek was partnered with a wife who told him that he shouldn’t dream, and in addition to being emotionally abusive towards him, she was allegedly unfaithful in their marriage. In all of these situations the abusive party was given a stern talking-to by the experts, but nothing more than that would happen. The emotionally abused party would remain that way unless they made a decision to leave the process altogether. The idea of persuading people to stay in unhealthy relationships is not a good look for a series that claims to be about love. Not only that, but living in that situation can have extreme effects on a person’s mental health. Mental health as an aspect of reality television is an idea that has been coming up more and more in recent years, and the primary complaint is that these major production studios are not doing enough to protect their casts.
It’s Time For ‘MAFS’ to End
As it stands right now, each new season of MAFS is worse than the one before it. The toxic matches are beginning to outnumber the relationships that have potential, and that’s not okay. Imagine how triggering watching the show is for people who have been in emotionally abusive relationships? The series is getting to a point in which it’s doing more harm than good, and it’s time to let it go and make the way for something new. The experiment aspect of the series has been proven a failure, and now that experiment needs to end.