If you didn’t immediately recognize the above image, you probably have escaped the clutches of Netflix’s addictive new series that has taken social media by storm.
Love is Blind invites 30 single men and women to participate in an experiment where couples are blindly paired together to go on "dates" in individual secluded pods. The goal is to develop an emotional connection (and become engaged!) without ever seeing what the other person looks like. Following a series of proposals, the engaged couples then meet face-to-face for the first time and their relationships are tested in the real world. They ultimately must decide whether they'll commit to marriage (proving that love truly is blind), or walk away from the experience single and back to square one.
Cameron and Lauren emerged as the show’s stars, being only one of two couples that actually got married from the show. They were clear favourites, both from the vantage point of the viewers (who have inundated social media platforms with videos, pictures and gushing admiration and well-wishes) and, more subtly, from the show’s producers who gave their relationship extended coverage and flattering editing.
The majority of the public’s swooning over Cameron and Lauren’s relationship centers on how perfectly they match as a couple. Within 4 days, they met for the first time, fell in love, and got engaged without seeing each other, and then married within six (6) weeks. Impressively, they have been happily married for a year and a half.
As magical and lovely as Cameron and Lauren’s fairytale is, I think the more fascinating story worth exploring is why their love story is a success. A big part of why they are getting along so well is due to their character and values that were shaped and strengthened long before they set foot in the pods and started filming this show. Those values and character traits were, in turn, formed from what they were taught, what they experienced, and what they observed. I think it’s safe to say that Cameron and Lauren each learnt how to love based on what they saw growing up and as young adults.
Love sees examples to follow
Cameron grew up in a stable home, and his parents have been happily married for 38 years, despite his mother suffering from Parkinson’s disease. I’m sure his parents have also weathered several other storms in life - medical, financial, emotional, physical or otherwise. Seeing them navigate these challenges as a team, and enjoy the relational benefits of overcoming those challenges, undoubtedly set a standard for Cameron. It also gave him reason to believe it was feasible for him to experience a similarly successful marriage. He therefore had the courage to pursue one in a meaningful way (as he clearly did on the show).
Love sees warnings to avoid emulating
Lauren’s experience differed fundamentally. She has a loving relationship with both parents, and credits her father’s love and care for her high expectations for how a man should treat her. Nevertheless, she admits “I’ve never seen a successful marriage. My parents are divorced. So, I kind of had to learn how to be a wife. I had to still learn how to double my personal time and be strong on my own and also grow into this partnership and share a space.” (https://madamenoire.com/1135956/love-is-blind-lauren/)
Love sees flaws to overcome
As much as the online world fawns over them as a couple, they have both shared in interviews and other media forums that they have had to adjust to each other’s personality quirks, flaws and differences. Lauren’s excessive independence diametrically opposes Cameron’s clinginess, a conflict that is impossible to identify or overcome without physically being in each other’s presence. They admit that they see not only see flaws in each other but also in themselves that demand compromise and change. Yet they have, over the last year and a half, chosen to see beyond that to focus on their mutual goal of a happy, lifelong marriage.
Love is NOT blind
To be clear, I am cognizant of the myriad of caveats that need to be applied to emulating Cameron and Lauren as a formidable example of a married couple: They’ve only been married for a short time. They were still given a chance to not only see each other face to face, but have sex and cohabit before fully committing to each other in marriage. All of my information about their marriage is derived from social media, which is usually heavily edited to depict a manicured image about their relationship.
Nevertheless, I think the success of their marriage so far gives us sufficient impetus to challenge the cliché that the show nominally tries to defend: Love is groomed and matured through seeing relationships around you. Love sees standards to be met and expectations to be replicated. Love sees examples to follow and warnings of which to take heed. Love is not blind.
Kacy Garvey is a Christian poet, speaker and activist. In 2011, she launched "Rahab", an outreach to prostitutes in Geneva, Switzerland. She is a USAID certified HIV Testing and Counselling Provider and has also successfully completed training in Trafficking in Persons conducted by the International Organisation on Migration (IOM). She performs original pieces of spoken word poetry to various audiences, and in 2014 and 2018, she launched “Undone” and “Water Jar”, the first and only Christian poetry albums published in Jamaica thus far. As a founding member of the Love March Movement (since 2012) and #MarriageMattersJA (since 2018), she is a regular presenter on the science, politics and biblical worldviews on sex and sexuality. She hosts the new TV series “MTM News Magazine” which can be streamed live on www.mercyandtruth.tv.