Is love blind? That’s the question that Netflix’s new hit show is supposedly trying to answer. Love Is Blind, a new reality show that has taken the world by storm, sequesters fifteen men and fifteen women from each other and puts them in windowless pods where they talk…without ever seeing one another. In less than two weeks, they have to decide if they are soulmates and get engaged.
After this first step, the couples who have gotten engaged travel to an exotic locale to find out if they have physical chemistry (and yes, that does generally mean intimately). Then they head back to the real world where they live together, meet each other’s families, and eventually walk down the aisle in front of the people they know and love – only to say “I do” or “I don’t.”
Love Is Based on More Than Chemistry
But what does falling in love really mean? And what makes love last? In the show, you see snippets of the participants’ conversations as they look for a real connection. But so much of their conversation seems to revolve around shared interests instead of shared values. If you only have ten days to decide whether or not to get engaged, does focusing on your favorite foods matter as much as how you want to raise your children?
If you only have ten days to decide whether or not to get engaged, does focusing on your favorite foods matter as much as how you want to raise your children?
Take Jessica Batten and Mark Cuevas, for example. The two had an immediate connection because they were from the same hometown and she could cook Italian meat, which he loved. But they only talked about their shared faith many hours into their conversation in the pods. And though she mentioned their 10-year age gap pretty frequently, they never faced head-on how many kids they each wanted and how that would work as she got older. Meanwhile, Jessica had fallen hard for another guy on the show with whom she’d never shared a serious conversation, Barnett.
Giannina and Damien, another couple who made it to the altar, talked about how much they liked each other in the pods. The only serious question we see is when she asked him what was important to him, and he responded family. But that’s it. We don’t know if they ever asked each other about faith, values, or long-term goals. And, more amazingly, for a guy who says that his family is incredibly important, Damien’s family didn’t support his decision to participate in Love Is Blind at all!
Infatuation Can Take Over in a Sped Up Timeline
The events of the show happen in only 38 days; the couples are supposed to begin talking, get engaged, and get married in an incredibly short time. Have you ever met someone, had immediate chemistry, and after a couple of months realized that it was no more than that? These couples are supposed to get married in that timeframe.
Have you ever met someone, had immediate chemistry, and after a couple of months realized that it was no more than that? These couples are supposed to get married in that timeframe.
Of course, many of the couples realized that such a huge commitment couldn’t be made in so short a time. Doubts were revealed at the altar, as well as before, as couples got engaged in a momentary feeling of infatuation but couldn’t go through with the wedding. Because they didn’t actually have or make the time to talk about the more serious aspects of a long-term relationship, most of the couples didn’t end up progressing past engagement to marriage.
Relationships That Last Are Built on Compatibility
As a religious Jew, I grew up around Jewish communities wherein many couples went on a few dates to find out their compatibility, got engaged, and got married very quickly after. Although that wasn’t how I myself was raised, I was familiar with the concept, so the Love is Blind premise didn’t phase me all that much.
But what very religious Jews do that the couples on Love Is Blind didn’t is discuss the nuts and bolts of their relationship. How many kids do you want? How do you want to raise them? What are your values? What are your traditions? Do you see us living near your family or mine? How do you want to divide the familial duties? These are all things that make and define a relationship.
When you have only 38 days from meeting to the altar, the most important questions need to come to the forefront.
Of course, chemistry is important too. In a natural length of time, you can get to know someone, see if you enjoy each other’s company, and figure out if you have a real chance at a future together - based on both chemistry and compatibility. But when you have only 38 days from meeting to the altar, the most important questions need to come to the forefront. And clearly, Love Is Blind’s participants were more focused on what their favorite books were than what values they shared.
Relationships are complicated and messy. But choosing to focus on your chemistry with a partner over your compatibility can only make things messier. Relationships last because both partners have a similar goal for the future in mind; they’re made fun because of the chemistry the couple shares. So, is love blind? Love might be, but a relationship needs a lot more than infatuation for it to truly last.
Abby Roth is the creator of Classically Abby, an opera, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle brand dedicated to looking at the world from a classic perspective. Abby is an opera singer with three degrees in operatic performance from USC and Manhattan School of Music. She has performed all over at companies including Opera Omaha, Opera Maine, and Aspen Music Festival. You can find her website at www.classicallyabby.com and follow her on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest at @ClassicallyAbby.