Why I Broke Up With The Bachelor

Take a stroll through any grocery store checkout lane and you’ll see an array of scintillating headlines testifying to that American female obsession popularly known as The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. While the names and faces change with each season, our vicarious interest is unfailingly piqued by the drama, the dates, the drama, the romance, the drama and the catfights (and did I mention the drama?).  Truth be told, I’ve been more than a little engrossed in The Bachelor/Bachelorette seasons past. Creative justifications for the reality TV addiction included “research” and “sociological observation” (Feel free to roll your eyes!). In fact, the series is ever popular among Christian women whether single, married, a teen or a forty-something.

This season, however, tempted though I was to see last year’s Ben Flajnik find “true love” in a matter of weeks, I had to pass. And following the stories of tears and tell-all’s from Monday’s season finale and hearing Barbara Walters call the show “a degradation to women,” I was reminded why. Aside from the painfully unrealistic view of love and the portrayal of marriage as having all the seriousness of a Disney princess wedding, TV shows like the Bachelor/Bachelorette have done more harm than good in my pursuit of Christ. The series might as well have come with a disclaimer like: “Sustained consumption of this broadcast is likely to cause distance from reality, distorted perspective of romance, discontent with your singleness, disillusion with God’s will, and disenchantment with your life in general.” It was time for a break up!

Shows like Bachelor/Bachelorette aren’t alone. Today’s TV line-up is a smorgasbord of guilty pleasures and escapes: Jersey Shore, Desperate Housewives, Smash, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, anything to do with vampires…take your pick! But for many of us, it’s those little, guilty pleasures that, over time, can turn our hearts away from our soul’s Highest and Holy Pleasure without even realizing it.  It is not my point or my place to judge anyone who watches these shows.

But I hope that the next time you reach for the remote you will take a moment to ask yourself the same question I started asking myself:  “Is it worth it?”

– Is it worth the discontentment and disrespect you might feel toward your less-than-wildly-romantic-but-godly-husband, whose entrance at the end of the day doesn’t come with a sweeping soundtrack playing in the background? (Eph. 5:22-33)

– Is it worth the numbing complacency that comes from hearing vulgar speech and peering into the hook-up culture of casual sex? (1 Thess. 4:3-8)

– Is it worth the distorted view of godliness that makes the illicit seem exciting and holiness seem…well…kinda boring? (1 Pet. 1:13-16, Ps. 16:11)

– Is it worth the hindrance it can be to following Christ? Sure, it may be on network television, and on prime time at that, but does it keep you from presenting yourself to God as an instrument of righteousness? (Rom. 6:13)

– Is it worth the subtle temptation to approve and even glorify (hold up/consider valuable) choices or views that offend God and destroy us, at the expense of glorifying Christ? (Dt. 6:5, Lk 9:23, 1 Pet. 3:15) If it causes Jesus to be less attractive to you and if it dulls your drive to follow Him, it’s probably time to turn it off. For me, it’s The Bachelor/Bachelorette. For you, it’s probably that one show that keeps coming to mind!

We want to hear from you! What are your criteria for deciding whether or not it’s “worth it”? What’s your strategy for evaluating what you watch?

(For more on this thought-provoking topic, check out Melissa Meredith’s convicting article, “Fighting for Eden.”)

Katie McCoy is pursuing a Doctorate in Systematic Theology at Southwestern Seminary. When she’s not studying for her classes (a rare occasion!), she loves hanging out with friends, eating sushi, learning new words and is currently a political news junkie. Connect with Katie on Facebook or Follow her Twitter!