Hello and welcome back to the blog!
Today I wanted to touch on an important topic floating around the cultural milieu lately, and that is the topic of THE BACHELOR. There are an innumerable amount of tweets, "takes," articles, and posts, all surrounding this VERY hot topic right now, so I thought... why not join the crowd!
But before we dive in, I need to let you know that I am not a fan of this show, nor an avid watcher: I've merely kept up with the drama from a distance, catching articles, podcasts, and information from a variety of perspectives. And, as I'm sure you can tell by the title of today's blog post, the focus for today is the concept of relational incompatibility.
Now, this season's crowd favorite was a woman by the name of Madison Prewett: a deeply devout Christian woman in her early twenties. Madison is a self-described virgin, passionate about Christ, and open about her desires to have a a husband who shares her beliefs and actively takes the role of a faith leader in her household to her and her future children.
Who wouldn't want to marry her?
And truly, Madison not only won the hearts of America, but also the heart of this season's Bachelor, Peter Weber. Weber was smitten, quite early on, by Madison, and it was clear that they were headed in a serious direction with their relationship.
However, it was ALSO clear from the outset that Weber and Prewett had incredibly different expectations when it came to sex.
Near the end of the season, during "Fantasy Suite Week" where the remaining three contestants are eligible to spend the night (aka. have sex) with the bachelor, Prewett expressed to Weber that she would not accept an engagement from him if he were to be intimate with the other contestants. Seems logical to me.
Unfortunately for Madison AND their relationship, Weber did go on to sleep with the other contestants, leaving Prewett heartbroken and unwilling to move forward towards marriage. The relationship flopped, assisted by concerns and questions from anxious family members and an engagement to another woman. Drama drama drama. But hey, that's reality TV.
In that one fateful week, their incompatible views on sex, marriage, purity, morality, and intimacy were splayed out in an ugly fashion.
Although Weber and Prewett seemed shocked to be falling off Heartbreak Cliff, myself, and most of America had a different take on things. It is generally agreed, by Bachelor Nation, that fantasy suite week didn't end their relationship; rather it revealed the massive inconsistencies and incompatibilities that the couple had been side-stepping all season.
And we could laugh at their foolish dreams of somehow making it work, but what we need to realize is that what happened to these star-crossed-lovers is not an uncommon scenario: couples enter into doomed relationships EVERY SINGLE DAY. The love is dead on arrival, before it hits the heart, and they are knowingly, or sometimes unknowingly, signing up for heartbreak.
So how can we avoid this doomed end?
Well, I believe compatibility must occur in 4 main areas in order to have a successful relationship:
1. Religion & Values
2. Future Goals
3. Emotional Connection
4. Physical Attraction
When thinking of Madison, one must ask the question as to why a beautiful, single, devout Christian girl would sign up to potentially fall in love with a man who was FAMOUS for having sex four times in a windmill with the previous Bachelorette? This was an unambiguous fact about Weber; one known across Bachelor Nation, and certainly a fact known to Madison.
She knew, going into the show, that they had different values and beliefs regarding sex, intimacy, fornication, and morals. And it's not really a question of whether the Bachelor is a good place to find a God-fearing husband, as there have been seasons of the Bachelor with devout Christian men, religious men, virgin men, and even born-again chaste men. But this was not one of those seasons.
And really, we could put the onus on Madison for signing up for the season in the first place, for not excusing herself when she realized who the bachelor was, or for not being clearer with Peter about her beliefs, but really, I feel that this issue falls into the category that so many Christian women fall prey to: trying to mold an ungodly man into a godly husband.
Madison might have stayed on the show hoping that Peter's expression of faith could grow; that she could change him, and that they would grow together as Christians. But the truth is that we cannot enter relationships expecting or trying to change our partner.
We cannot expect our partner to magically shape-shift into what we are looking for, and nor should we EXPECT them to!
The fact is that Madi should NOT have participated in this season of the Bachelor. It was a waste of her time, a waste of Peter's time, and ultimately... a waste of America's time.
And, unsurprisingly, there are starting to be some rumors and speculation surrounding the question of why Ms. Madison Prewett went on the Bachelor despite her unwillingness to compromise on her incompatibilities with Pilot Pete.
America is asking! Did she just not think about their differences? Did she even want to get married? Maybe she just signed up for the inevitable onslaught of Instagram followers... it's no secret that the Bachelor often churns out successful influencers. OR, maybe it was for all the free trips! Peru sure did look nice... or, oh wait, I think I got it! Maybe it was like a mission's trip? Was she secretly trying to convert Peter? Or trying to convert all of America? Or maybe she was there to convert us into becoming fans of Auburn College basketball?
Obviously, we will never know why Madi chose to undertake the mammoth task of transforming the sex-four-times-in-a-windmill-guy into a religiously devout husband, but regardless, I DO find it interesting that even unchurched, non-Christian people find it strange that a devout Christian virgin would be interested in marrying Peter Weber in the first place.
Moving right along, I feel that the next appropriate question we need to address is the question of "why do people bother with incompatible relationships at all?"
In Madison's case, her incompatible relationship skyrocketed her to over a million Instagram followers and ostensibly, a career as an influencer. So... well... she didn't exactly leave empty-handed.
But for your average person going through an incompatible relationship, the most they have to show for it at the end is a little bit (or a whole lot) of HEARTBREAK.
And I've been there!
I had a short-lived relationship in university with a guy I met through my film and digital content class. We matched up for a group project, and quickly formed a nice banter between the two of us. Studying turned into walks, which turned into snapchat streaks, followed by movies together, and before I knew it, I was in too deep.
And the problem was that I knew, straight from the beginning, that we were incompatible.
It was clear from our conversations and what I had heard about him, that he did not have a devout interest in Christianity. He didn't seem interested in MY faith, and he clearly held opposite politics to me. But yet, I made plans to see him, texted with him, and studied with him, knowing all along, that there was no way it was going to end positively.
One night, after we kissed for the first time, he invited me to meet his family that Sunday for dinner. I'll never forget sitting on that bench outside my dorm room, looking up at his earnest face. The request, which would have been SO normal in a healthy relationship felt like being doused with a bucket of ice water: my systems were suddenly shocked back into reality, and I blurted out "but I don't even know what you believe about JESUS!"
He seemed surprised and a little hurt by my response, and went into an explanation that had something to do with agnosticism, atheism, and pantheism; some sort of cobbled religion that did NOT match my view of the world.
It was a relationship killer AND a romance killer. It was the last time we spent time as a couple, and also the last time I entertained a relationship with someone who I knew didn't share my beliefs. That experience left me kind of broken hearted, but I also ended up hurting someone else's heart in the process.
So, I wondered why I did it.
Why did I entertain a relationship with a man I KNEW from the outset, was not going to be my future husband? Why did I let it get so far, and why did I pretend, even for a moment, that what I was doing wasn't wrong?
Honestly, I don't know the full answer, but my heart says that I did it because I wanted attention. I liked the feeling of being wanted, and I wanted to be with someone. I wasn't having any luck finding an intensely Christian guy, and it felt like good fortune to just find ANYONE who wanted to be around me.
My selfish desire for attention trumped his desire for a lasting relationship, and to this day, I deeply regret stringing him along when I knew that I would never be serious with him.
And this is the issue with incompatible relationships; they always end in heartbreak.
Your heart will break from the relationship ending, or your heart will break from making compromises on your differences. It could break from having a partner who doesn't truly understand you or agree with you at a fundamental level, or it might break when they expect you to change for them.
Whatever happens, if you are inherently incompatible on one of the big four areas, your heart WILL break.
But finding a compatible partner doesn't mean finding your twin; you don't have to find someone EXACTLY like you, but you should find someone who compliments your lifestyles, beliefs, and values. You need a partner headed in the same direction as you in life, and someone who celebrates who you are at the core.
Relationships are SO MUCH MORE than physical or emotional connections; they are practical living arrangements and life commitments. We structure families, households, and the lives of our children around our marriages, and the responsibility falls on us to set up our future families on as stable a foundation as possible, starting with compatibility in the four most important areas; religion & values, future goals, emotional connection, and our physical attraction.
No matter how much we try to force it, an incompatible relationship is going to be dead on arrival, ending in absolute heartbreak, OR, even more painfully, the daily heartbreak of constant conflict surrounding the incompatibilities as you try to make your relationship last.
And honestly, I don't know which scenario is worse.