For all the talk of finding a soul mate and crossing the perceived finish line that is matrimony, the Bachelorette and Bachelor shows talk very little about religion. When a contestant is overly religious, the subject is surely to come up again and again, like some badge of honor, but there is very little talk about the more mainstream level of religious views. This is strange because religious views can play a big role in marriage dynamics and child rearing.
This thought came up while watching this week’s hometown visits, where front running Brooks comes from a large family in Salt Lake City. This got me wondering if he’s Mormon, and if that ever came up with bachelorette Des. Brooks’ possible Mormonism means the same to me as any other religion or nonreligion: it wasn’t the particular religion that got me wondering, but the lack of discussion in general. It’s something that could impact myriad things like whether you live together or not, how many kids you have, when you have them, and how you raise them, and shouldn’t this be something that potential partners discuss?
Maybe it’s silly to wonder about this because few of these reality partnerships succeed, but it’s partially because I am baffled when some marriages go bad over clashes on basic topics or values that I would have assumed were important enough to come out while dating or in a Match.com profile. On Oprah once, a guest advised people to ask how much money their partner makes before getting married and if they wanted to have children. I didn’t realize those wouldn’t have been talked about before saying I do. Don’t people ask questions about the person they are head over heels in love with? In a typical relationship, not one compressed to a few weeks on television, how one lives with religion may just come out naturally, but on the Bachelorette or Bachelor, it seems like a lot of beliefs of personality quirks can be suppressed to move ahead. Religion seems to be one of the big topics where it could be trouble if you oppose your partner’s beliefs. Different religions or no religion is fine, but it seems like trouble ahead if you disagree with your partner enough that you wouldn’t want your children sharing in that religion. It’s possible religion and other values are discussed on these dates, but that it’s too boring to show on TV. It certainly gets mentioned when someone says he won’t use the fantasy suite overnight because of specific values (yet he will stick his tongue down the throat of 20 strangers, but that is different, I guess), yet that’s more dramatic than a deep discussion of beliefs.
Maybe it’s time for me to step back and see the Bachelorette/Bachelor for what it is: a television program intended to entertain and generate revenue.
Image by ABC