Oh reality TV shows. I’m a sucker for them… along with most of my generation. A few weeks ago, I found myself doing what many girls my age do on Monday nights: watching the Bachelorette. I’ve only watched a handful of episodes, but everyone seems to be talking about it…why not check it out? Lucky for me, I tuned into an episode that left a huge cliffhanger, so once again I found myself watching another episode after waiting impatiently to find out what happened.
As someone who has struggled, especially lately, with figuring out what it means to love and impatiently waiting for someone to love me, I quickly realized the Bachelorette, or most reality TV for that matter, is not the place to turn to for a number of reasons.
Just after a two-hour show I felt a much more intense desire to be in a relationship, even though deep down I know I’m not ready for one. All of a sudden I wanted what the Bachelorette had: twenty-something good-looking guys chasing after her all while traveling the world to go on extravagant dates. I found myself getting caught up into wanting to hear the sweet things the men say to the Bachelorette, no matter how empty they are.
The words, the extravagant dates, the physical attraction, jealousy, drama, are somehow supposed to bring the Bachelorette “love” and millions of young people begin to buy into it. After I took a step back I thought to myself – is this really what I want my relationship to be built on? In reality, so few of the relationships on the show work out because real love shouldn’t be built on a fantasy… something I know many young people, including myself, struggle with.
I, along with so many young people, have too often bought into the love I see on TV. It’s a struggle not to when it’s so engrained in our culture. I find myself wanting the extravagant dates and dramatic conversations. This is what it means to be in a relationship isn’t it? Too many young people agree.
Everywhere we turn there are new celebrities both getting into relationships and breaking up. We see the expensive dates they go on and the gifts they give their significant others. The fame and extravagance make it attractive to those searching for love, but it leaves so many people heartbroken, lonely, and empty.
According to our reality TV culture, love comes from jealousy, drama, extravagance, physical attraction, and an ability to be intimate with numerous people at a time, but the reality is: love built on these things fails.
The love that doesn’t fail is the one seen on the Cross. It is patient, kind, trusting, not envious, proud, or self-seeking, and therefore, it perseveres. THIS is the love we should be striving for in our relationships.
In her diary, St. Faustina spoke about her love for Christ saying, “I found my destiny at the moment when my soul lost myself in you, the only object of my love.” (paragraph 57) This love is complete; it’s not fighting for attention or torn between different people. It is wholesome, trusting, and simple.
So how do we stay emotionally chaste as we wait for real love?
- Don’t watch shows that manipulate your understanding of real love… luckily there are still a number of shows out there that don’t do this.
- If you still chose to watch, realize there is more to relationships and love than the attraction, drama and extravagance.
- Strive to imitate the love of Christ and St. Faustina in your relationships, for this is the only love that is complete and life-giving.
The way reality TV portrays the search for love will almost always leave us heartbroken and empty because we will never be satisfied by the things of this world. It’s time we work on building our relationships on more than just extravagance and attraction by keeping our eyes on Christ.
Emily Harpole is a student at Benedictine College studying Theology and Evangelization/ Catechesis. She loves Mama Mary, the Year of Mercy, baseball, fashion, and most of all the faith she has been raised in. Her love for her Catholic faith, fashion, and beauty inspired her to bring together her passions in the form of a Catholic fashion blog. She believes it is possible to dress modernly while staying modest and wants to encourage young women to glorify God through the ways they present their bodies by blogging at www.glorify620.com.