Why I’m Ditching The Bachelor

Red Rose for The Bachelor

Photo by M J M

Ok world, confession time.

(deep breath)

I am totally and disgustingly hooked on The Bachelor (gasp!).  It’s true.  Worse then that, the longevity of this relationship is embarrassing, I’m talking years, and I’m not proud of it.  I’ve journeyed with countless couples, watched them meet, find love, follow their hearts and all too often, part ways.  I watch every week for months.  I willingly strap in for the emotional roller coaster.  I anticipate the highs and I’m shocked by the lows.  Chris Harrison seems like a good friend and I believe him every time he tells me that this will be the most dramatic rose ceremony yet.   When it doesn’t end the way I want, I swear I’ll never watch again and when it does, I boldly declare my belief in love and reality TV (somehow I end up watching the next season either way).  After more helicopter rides, cocktails parties, The Women/Men Tell All episodes, sobbing rejects, awkward group dates and high hopes crushed by eventual breakups, than I can count, I think it might be time to quit.  (Do they have a patch for this? gum? pills? injection?)

As much as I want to believe that Sean (from the Big D… what what!) will find the love he didn’t find in Emily this coming season, I don’t think I can do it.  Here’s why.

Unrealistic Expectations 

As a single girl, I’m starting to think (ok fine, I’ve thought it for awhile but I’m finally starting to admit it) that my addiction to this “reality” show is unfair to any guy that would ever engage in the pursuit of a relationship with me.  What is ironic about The Bachelor is that it’s coined a reality show and it couldn’t be further from it.  My grandparents have been married for sixty plus years, and I’m pretty sure their first date wasn’t a group date involving cocktails and bikinis.  My parents, just celebrated thirty years, and my dad didn’t propose on a beach after six grueling weeks of rose ceremonies.  In fact, it was at a restaurant and he said, with great gumption, “I want you to be my wife.”  It wasn’t necessarily glamorous, but it was real.  I’m not saying it can’t happen (The Bachelor is now responsible for three eventual marriages), but I think it’s fair to say, with humility and gentleness my fellow addicts, it’s not the norm.  Most guys don’t get to choose from a line up of twenty five beautiful women all vying for their attention (Side note: Since when is that okay?  Since it’s made to look glamorous?  Reality: This is walking into brutal televised rejection for most girls, not pretty and not okay.)  We tread a dangerous line when our expectations of reality are formed from the unconventional, uncommon and flat out untrue.

Unfortunately, The Bachelor encourages physical expectations and more even dangerously, emotional ones, that can only be met by a guy whose casted and coached, made up, wardrobed, placed in ideal and favorable circumstances and then edited, so his acne and insensitive remarks are dissolved as if they never existed.  How unfair of us to hold men to that.  And these expectations are not only placed on any relational counterpart, we place them on ourselves.  We hold ourselves to a standard too high to ever be reached without the wardrobe, make up, and final cutting room.

A friend of mine recently finished a six month online dating subscription and I can tell you one thing, dating can be ugly and quite a contrast from what we see on TV.  It can be fun and exciting but it can also be awkward, extremely awkward.  Relationships take work and time and commitment.  There’s uncertainty and risk, imperfections and annoyances.  Feelings fade, humans disappoint, lets not be disillusioned into thinking the opposite.

So what should our expectation be?  God’s sovereignty.  And friends, you can take that to the bank.  Scripture doesn’t provide explicit instructions on dating, but it does tell us that God has a plan and he is working it out in us.  He is in control, he is faithful and he wants our good, even when we are doubtful and don’t see how our current circumstance could be any form of it.  Scripture is clear on what marriage should look like, so we pursue that, seeking to portray Christ to a broken and dying world.  We release the idea of any human nearing perfection and pursue Jesus, the perfect sacrifice for our sinful imperfection.  If he provides a way for us to do that in the context of marriage, great.  If not, we do it with deep and abiding community with other believers and lovers of His glory.

Unfruitful Commitment

The second reason is the ridiculous commitment that this show demands.  Ok, maybe it doesn’t demand it but I am all too quick to give it.  Maybe you have the resolve to leave it all in your living room, but not me.  The time and energy to plan around the show airing is just the beginning.  As much as I would like to deny it, I get totally and completely emotionally committed.  I spend time debriefing what happened this week and predicting what might happen the next.  Emotions are spent liking certain contestants, disliking others, none of which have I met and engaged in conversation with.  Rarely do I give them the benefit of the doubt, admitting that they’ve been intentionally portrayed a certain way and away from the cameras they might actually be decent sane individuals.  Nope.  It’s fun to laugh at their shortcomings and pity their emotional rants.  I want good for the good ones and can’t wait to see the dramatic crazies get in their limo and ride off into the sunset.

I can’t say the Lord would approve of such a commitment and such harsh judgment of others.  Would he not rather me spend time waiting and watching, anticipating with fear and urgency the outcome of the souls that I encounter daily?  Would he not rather me spend time building meaningful relationships, unhindered by a flat screen and 1080p?  Should I not be a good steward of what is right in front of me, loving like Jesus did?  Time and emotion spent crying out to God in prayer, fighting against real live injustice, and anticipating Christ’s return seems a little more eternally valuable.

Warped Priorities

Finally, I think one of the most unfortunate results of this socially acceptable addiction is the illusion that love with another human is the end all be all of our existence.  This is something to put your life on hold for, to give anything and everything to the pursuit of.  Yet, according to Scripture, that’s just not the case.  Jesus alone is cause for those things.  Marriage and dating are a vehicle for God’s glory.  The desire is good and God given, but we must be weary of making it about us, because it’s just not.  God knows if and when marriage will better serve Him in our lives and when it won’t.  And it may never, he may give us the gift of singleness indefinitely.  And this is no less a gift to be stewarded well.  I read this quote not too long ago and found it to be a perfect reminder when the world tempts me to believe, as a single, that I am missing out.  “Your greatest need is not a spouse. Your greatest need is to be delivered from the wrath of God, and that has already been accomplished for you through the death and resurrection of Christ.  So why doubt that God will provide for a much, much lesser need?  Trust His sovereignty, trust His wisdom, trust His love.”  Seek first His Kingdom (Matthew 6:33).

Bachelor lovers, hear me: I stinking love this show.  Trust me, a deep affection for watching others find love and happiness on reality TV is not lost on me.  And I would love nothing more than to journey with Sean this season (and then be waiting in the wings in Dallas when his new found love goes sour).  But I think God is asking me to do otherwise.  I’m not saying this is a black and white rule, but simply my conviction, after much wrestling, to which I must be obedient.  I would encourage you, if you find yourself hooked to this or any other program or media outlet, to pray and seek the Lord in humility.  Find out what commitments and priorities please Him and bring Him great glory.  Then do accordingly.  Jesus was unafraid to challenge the cultural norm, lets follow close in his footsteps.

*Quote taken from Single Blues in the Land of “I Do’s”

I am just a girl living each day with a deep affection for Christ and the journey I am on with Him. I am daily discovering that the nearness of God is my good. The earth has nothing I desire besides Him, He is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:25-26).

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  • VKayS

    Hi, Erica! We haven’t met, but I almost feel as though I know you, I’ve heard so many nice things about you! I’m Kay Sanderford, Stefani Johnson’s mom. First off, thank you for taking such good care if my precious granddaughters when you babysit for Stef & Cory! I read your thoughts about giving up the UNreality show you’re addicted to. I wanted to write & applaud your efforts.

    I’ve been married for 34 years to a man that I know in my heart was intended for me by God. Your mate is out there, Erica, God is preparing him & grooming him just for you. And in the meantime, He is preparing your heart & grooming you for him, too! But already you are a most beautiful bride …. a woman seeking after God’s own heart … for you already are the bride of Christ. And you’ve hit upon something in your post that is very much a concern to me, while also resonating deeply within me. And that is the unrealistic expectations we … romantic & emotional women that we are (just the way God made us to be!) … place on our mates/potential mates. Truthfully, they are all but doomed from the start! I myself went into marriage with those lofty expectations … based on my too avid reading of romance novels! I was looking for the fairy tale! There were many, MANY bumps in the road during the first full ten years of our married life, something not all that unusual I don’t think. We were so young and so naive. But many of those bumps were so unnecessary because they were a result of my unrealistic expectations! Where were my roses?! Where was my poetry? Where were my love songs?! Actually, I married a man that is not much of a romantic … at least not as the world defines romantic. Thankfully God led us through those rocky early years and now I understand that my hubby is exactly the man God made him to be … for me. And thankfully, God helped change my perceptions of what true romance really is. Romance is a man who comes home every night to me, and romance is not ever having to worry otherwise. Romance is a man who brings home his paycheck every single payday, never begrudgingly, and never holds back anything for himself because he truly sees it as “our” money, not “his” money. Romance is a man who is seeking God’s will constantly for his own life, as well as for our life together. Romance is a man who puts his family first as much as he possibly can (even though he told me many years ago that his commitment to God as a clergy person is his #1 calling.) I can live with that, playing second fiddle to God! ;-) Romance is a man who is as faithful to me as the sun coming up each morning. Romance is a man who actually lives out Ephesians 5:25 … and that is exactly the romantic guy God created for me.

    Many years ago an elderly woman/friend who had been married 50+ years (to a man who I’m pretty sure put his legal career above her and their family) gave me one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been told. I was actually complaining to her about my UNromantic spouse at the time! She said, “Honey, you’ve got to love him for what he is, and forgive him for what he isn’t.” Wow! That rocked my world! That changed my life! It stopped me in my tracks and made me realize I needed to be thanking God for all the many positive traits in this man He created for me …. not lamenting over his shortcomings (as I perceived them to be.) And then the biggest eye opener of all swept over me … this was God’s grace at work in my life! For where would I be if my husband had not already been doing the same thing for me: loving me for what I am and forgiving me for what I’m not? Thank You, God, for Your grace in my life … thank you for my husband … became my daily prayer. Now, my last conscious thought before I go to sleep is to thank God for the man who draws breath beside me, every single night.

    Really, Erica, I share all of this in an effort to support you … to encourage you …. to spend the time you used to spend watching the show (and the time thinking about it afterwards and between episodes, as you mentioned was your norm) and instead focus on continuing to prepare your heart to be the godly woman that your mate is looking for. God’s timing is perfect and He will reward your faith and perseverance.

    “Whatsoever is true … noble … right … pure … lovely … admirable … think about these things.” I can’t say 100% for sure, but if I were to hazard a guess, probably The Bachelor isn’t exactly what Paul had in mind! (Phil 4:8.)

    Fondly, your sister in Christ,

    • Thanks so much for your comment Kay!  I am greatly encouraged and affirmed.  Your experience just confirms that God is faithful and knows exactly what we need (first and foremost, Himself) and when!  Our expectations can simply rest in His goodness!  I am excited to see what God does with my former Bachelor time on Monday nights… I know he will redeem it for good!  

  • Thanks Christy!  Joining you in that prayer sister!  :)

  • Well said Christy, thanks for praying!

  • great post! I am not a fan of The Bachelor myself, but I can see it’s appeal! And this lesson applies to all TV. We need to be careful about what we allow into our minds and hearts and how it changes our focus on God and this lost world! 

    • Awesome comment Tamara! I’m definitely guilty of what I allow to enter my brain with TV shows. Have to constantly be on guard to see if what I am taking in will glorify God or not. Plus, do I spend at least an equal amount of time with The Lord, if not more than I do watching TV.

    • Thanks Tamara! The media can definitely alter our perspective and shift our focus from where it needs to be! It really is a discipline to fix our eyes on Jesus with so much vying for our attention and affection! Hope we, as believers, can be an encouragement to one another in that!

  • Thomas Pujol

    Thanks Erica,
    I hope I am not being judgemental, but I have felt extremely uncomfortable in the staff room of my job where a group of Christian woman talk a lot about, “the bachelor”. I had wondered if I was just off in how I was feeling, but it seems I may be okay after all. Maybe you can give me some advice on how you think it would be most helpful for a christian brother to respond?

    Keep writing, keep worshiping.


  • Megan Reece

    Thanks for your post! I used to really enjoy watching the Bachelor, but I came to the same convictions as you have: It is just too much of a commitment! I would become so emotionally drained after watching the show, that I had no sympathy left for the real people in my life. I see myself doing that now with Grey’s Anatomy (if it’s not one temptation it’s another). This was a good reminder that my walk with God and how I relate to the people in my life is much more important than indulging in my guilty pleasures.