After getting engaged in Thailand, in what has been called the most romantic Bachelor proposal yet, the two rode off together on an elephant. There have been 24 seasons of The Bachelor so far, so what makes these two so different? If you’re like me you’re thinking, well duh, the fact that they rode off on an elephant, but it’s much more than that. Sean Lowe is, to this day, the only Bachelor after 24 seasons of the show to marry his final pick.
Sean Is the Only Bachelor To Marry His Final Pick
The Bachelor, likely as a result of having nothing to film during the COVID-19 pandemic, launched a new series this summer airing the “greatest seasons of all time” with each condensed into a three-hour episode. Sean and Catherine from season 17 were the first of the Monday night specials to air, and last night they served as a reminder of just how different their success is.
Sean Lowe is the only Bachelor to ever marry his final pick. Does that make you do a double-take? I don’t think I realized how low the success rate for The Bachelor actually was. Sure, there’s Arie Lukendyk and Jason Mesnick, but they both married their runner-ups, not their initial choice.
They Were Committed To Making It Work
When asked by OK! Magazine, why they were the Bachelor couple that lasted Sean, credited a big part of their success to Catherine’s willingness to change her life when they got back to the real world, leaving Seattle behind for Texas. Her choice shows a determination to make things work with Sean, a trait that’s likely been important to the longevity of their marriage, especially with the public scrutiny Bachelor couples face.
The two have often spoken about the importance of being committed to one another. Case in point, they tied the knot in January the year after getting engaged on The Bachelor rather than having a very long engagement period as many Bachelor couples have done with differing success.
Sean Was Celibate While on the Show
Perhaps even more different was Sean’s attitude about the Fantasy Suites. While last season’s Peter Weber and Madison Prewett (who is a devout Christian) struggled with Peter’s revelation that he had sex with at least one of the other women in the Fantasy Suites, many seasons before, Sean made it known to the women, producers, and people watching at home that he didn’t want the Fantasy Suites to be about sex. He followed his own advice to other Bachelors to remember “Grandma is watching.”
The creator of The Bachelor has said that the average Bachelor has sex with three women each season. Knowing that sex creates an emotional bond between people and that at least two of the women will be rejected within a matter of weeks, that choice is a little startling. Not only does it make getting dumped so soon that much worse for the woman who has created an emotional bond with the Bachelor, but it’s plausible that it could confuse the Bachelor about what decision to make. In fact, Sean himself agreed that not having sex with any of his final three helped him to make the best choice, while he noted that his choice to be celibate was “purely faith-based.”
Sean wasn’t the only abstaining Bachelor, but there was less focus on his choice during filming.
Wait, but what about Colton Underwood? He was a virgin Bachelor. While this is true, I believe his recent breakup with Cassie Randolph could have been predicted in her fear about marrying him that caused her to leave the show (and subsequently him to chase her down) in the first place. But it brings up a good point because their experience was very different. Sean’s celibacy didn’t really come out until after his season had finished filming, while Colton’s was made to be a big part of his season. The show really didn’t emphasize Sean’s celibacy or faith. In fact, many of the girls on Sean’s season had Bible study every morning, but that never made it onto the air.
The quiet position production chose to take on religion and sex on Sean’s season reveals a shift given the last two seasons of the franchise have involved the topic of sex and religion on a large scale. Hannah Brown and Luke Parker sparred over sex and its relationship to Christianity. And on The Bachelor, Peter Weber and religious contestant Madison Prewett faced a similar issue of compatibility in that area which was made the center point of the show in the final weeks.
After US Magazine called him the “Born-Again Virgin Bachelor,” Sean, similar to Colton, seemed to only answer questions about that and talked to Marriage Today about how “it could be respectable news outlets like Good Morning America and all they want[ed] to talk about [was he and Catherine’s] sex life or lack thereof”. But he and Catherine are both big proponents of their decision to wait until their wedding night to have sex. And given their unique success on The Bachelor, it might be time for the media to stop sensationalizing virginity and celibacy as something weird and instead talk about it as a legitimate decision that has many merits.
Influencer Culture Hurts the Authenticity of The Bachelor Franchise
The other major difference for Sean’s season? The contestants didn’t feel like they were there to start their new Instagram careers. Runner-up on Sean’s season Lindsay Yenter only has 55.6K Instagram followers with a bio that even says, “Not an influencer, just a girl who got dumped on TV.” When compared to the runner-up (sort of) from Peter Weber’s season, Madison Prewett, who has 1.8 million followers, it becomes clear that things have changed a lot.
Could the difference in numbers be a fluke? I’d say no. Desiree Siegried (formally Desiree Hartsock) has 543K Instagram followers, and that’s after finding her success story on The Bachelorette. Meanwhile, Bachelorette Hannah Brown has 2.8 million.
But why does that matter? Jed Wyatt can be our case study. He and Hannah Brown were engaged, which was short-lived after Hannah found out that Jed had a girlfriend during filming, whom he had told that he was only going on the show to promote his music career.
And while that might be the most brazen example, the endless slew of FabFitFun boxes and the increasing numbers of models and pageant queens as contestants — as opposed to normal, everyday women like Catherine (even though she's gorgeous) — puts into question whether the main motive is still to get a husband or if it’s become something else altogether. Today, Catherine Lowe’s Instagram, which looks like one of a normal mom, filled with pictures of her now three children, as opposed to one that looks like she has a daily photoshoot, is refreshingly different.
So congrats Sean and Catherine on now seven years of marriage together! And also on some very cute kids (Samuel, Isaiah, and Mia). When you say faith and commitment to each other are what helped you to be The Bachelor couple who made it, I believe you because it’s what set you apart from the start.