T he reality show The Bachelor is celebrating 20 seasons this year and kicked off a new season just a few days ago. I can honestly say that I’ve never watched a single episode of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, but I know the show is very successful. I also know enough about the show from advertisements and by information shared online to form a solid opinion about it. What the soaps contained, The Bachelor has and much more. Apparently, if you’re looking for drama filled awkward dating moments, you’ll be satisfied by The Bachelor. Although I’ve never watched a single episode, their marketing department delivers the message well through their advertisements. I’ll begin by saying that I think it would be wise for you to kick The Bachelor to the curb. The Bachelor, and shows like it, have taken the modern dating practices to a new level of absurdity, and you can do yourself a favor by cutting it out of your life.
In a world filled with brokenness where divorce has become the expectation in marriage, why would you want to take the important task of finding a spouse and degrade it to a level of second rate entertainment? Below I’ve included a list of reasons why The Bachelor should not appear in your list of evening entertainment and I hope you will take time to think through the issue. As always, I’m seeking to look at this subject through a Christian lens that’s both honest and balanced at the same time.
The Bachelor Is The Wrong Marriage Planning Method
The Bible teaches us in Proverbs 18:22, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.” The entire show known as The Bachelor, is built around the idea of taking one man and parading before him many women on a weekly basis only to reduce the field down to his final selection in the final week. The reduction process is based on relationships, looks, communication, and at times – physical intimacy. At whatever level we can agree that this takes place, we must come to grips with the fact that it does happen.
What self-respecting woman would want to enter such a contest? What self-respecting mother would encourage her daughter to engage in this type of contest if given the opportunity to find her future husband on national television? What parent would want their little girl to go through a 6-week vicious competition to fight for a man who is making his choice for her based on the wrong reasons? It’s simply the wrong road and it communicates a skewed concept to many young ladies who are preparing themselves for a future spouse. I would argue for a method known as courtship to find a spouse, but that’s another subject for another day. In short, women shouldn’t be treated like consumer products only to be returned if not satisfied.
Jesus said the following as He taught about marriage in Mark 10:7-9. Notice, He quotes from Genesis 2:
‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
The idea of being joined together to another human being is a very serious thing that must be approached with a tone of serious consideration rather than coarse entertainment. What God joins together, no man should separate. That’s God’s command and plan for marriage, and The Bachelor doesn’t uphold that commitment.
The Bachelor Promotes Unreal Expectations
How many times have you looked at a magazine photo of someone and had to bring yourself to remember that this image is not real. It has gone through dozens of editing phases and has been altered in every way imaginable to create this stunning image, but it’s simply not real. Under the makeup and hiding behind the editing software, a real person exists. That real person has flaws, scars, bumps, and flaws that nobody can see in that magazine photograph.
In many ways, this is the same problem with The Bachelor. You have a man who has been scripted, coached, counseled, clothed, styled, and altered so that the reality that everyone is looking for in the show is simply not going to happen. On the flip side of the coin, the man who is on the show should expect the same thing from the women who are competing for his attention.
The Bachelor Perpetuates Unfruitful Relationships
Relationships take time to develop and marriage is no different. If marriage is based on the way a person looked in an evening gown or in the bikini party held on the show, what’s going to happen if she gains a few pounds? What happens when her body changes through pregnancy? The entire concept of finding a spouse based on physical attraction and the way in which she kisses is simply unfruitful. Relationships have many more levels to consider and to reduce it down to the the physical appeal and personality of an individual can be a recipe for disaster in the end. If you examine the statistics of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, there are six couples that are still together out of the 30 seasons of the two series. 
The Bachelor Doesn’t Honor God
As stated from the beginning, I’m a Christian and therefore, I look at life from a distinct Christian lens. Everything from money to marriage will be shaped by the gospel of Jesus Christ. The idea of a finding a spouse is a serious thing, and to reduce it down to a big 6-week party full of sensual dating and partying is not the method that honors God. This is evident on the basis of several reasons:
- Physical Intimacy is a Sacred Thing
Hebrews 13:4 – Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
Mark 10:6-9 – But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Matthew 5:28 – But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Wouldn’t it be a tragedy to choose the wrong spouse based on a quick lustful decision under immense pressure on a reality television show? The odds are stacked against these people. Overall, The Bachelor is a poor choice of entertainment that promotes a wrongful picture of marriage, and it demonstrates a pattern that we do not want to pass down to our children.
What is marriage? It’s a picture of the gospel. It serves a purpose to glorify God, but it’s not the end goal of happiness in this life or throughout eternity. Complete happiness and joy is rooted in Jesus Christ. That’s what marriage should picture. Marriage is the faithful covenant keeping love that is demonstrated in Jesus’ love for His bride – the church. Unfortunately, that message is not found in The Bachelor and for that reason, I’m pleading with you to kick The Bachelor to the curb.
- These ‘The Bachelor’ Couples Are Still Together As of 2016!
What does the Bible teach about Christian dating? This past week I had a young man sitting in my office asking me that very question. He’s young and trying to make sense of what our culture has manufactured as a normal ebb and flow of life. A few days later, on this past Sunday evening I was asked that same question in our pastoral staff Q&A. Perhaps you have never had someone ask you to defend your position on Christians dating. If not, I want to challenge you on this subject. It may save you and your children a great deal of heartache if you will take time to think earnestly about this important subject.
Back to the question – my short answer is simple – it’s not a biblical concept. The Bible doesn’t specifically address the idea of Christian dating. Some consider this to be an area of Christian liberty because we don’t see the subject brought up on the pages of Scripture. Could it be that it doesn’t appear in the Bible because it’s in violation to God’s design for His people? The idea of recreational dating is something that our culture has invented. God never designed His people to engage in the practices dating and that’s abundantly clear from the pages of the Bible. However, as we approach the subject, we must proceed with gentleness and a spirit of love toward others who may not share our same positions. Having a spirit of division and parting fellowship with people who don’t share the same convictions on courtship can be destructive for your local church. Be wise and proceed with a heart of humility. We must learn to embrace such positions with a spirit of charity.
Relationships Require Responsibility
I must admit, when I hear family members or even fellow Christians asking my children if they have a boyfriend or girlfriend – it makes my skin crawl. I respond – yes and no (at this point I answer for my children). If you’re referring to a friend that’s a boy or a friend that’s a girl – the answer is yes. If you’re referencing the idea of a friend that’s more than a friend – the answer is no. Why? Because they’re not prepared for marriage yet. I have received strange looks for making statements like this, but I stand by it. Relationships require a good measure of responsibility. If you’re not prepared for major life responsibility – you have no business entering into that type of relationship.
From the very beginning, we see that God designed marriage to be between a man and a woman. All of God’s creation was good, but it was not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2). God created Eve and presented her to Adam. In that very presentation, we see that God ordained Adam as the head of his wife Eve. Headship requires responsibility. Adam was to take seriously his responsibility to lead Eve. Additionally, it was God’s design for Eve to be submissive to Adam’s leadership. Eve was to take seriously her role of submission and support Adam as the head. What young teenager in middle or high school is prepared for such responsibility? Failure to recognize such responsibility has led to a staggering number of divorces and single mother homes across America.
Dating With a Purpose (hint: Courtship)
I “dated” my wife for 6.5 years before we married. The main reasons I gave for waiting so long to marry was because we both wanted to finish college and prepare to start life out well. I’m 4 years older than my wife, and we eventually got married during Kari’s senior year of college. If I had it to do all over again, we would get married much earlier. I had a plan – but it wasn’t well thought out. My purpose and plan for marriage was subservient to other plans such as graduation and the balance of my checking account.
Once again, I have trouble with the term “dating” in general because it’s simply not a biblical concept. Entering into a relationship with someone of the opposite sex should be done with a specific purpose to prepare for marriage. Recreational dating is out of bounds. This is where I have to say to my children, “Do as I say and not as I did.” I didn’t practice Christian courtship, but I plan to instruct my children to approach a committed relationship with the opposite sex with a specific intent and purpose of marriage. For my sons, this will involve charting out a plan and presenting it to the father of the prospective young lady as he seeks a biblical courtship with his daughter. I will also insist that my sons spend a good deal of time with her father in order to get to know him and show respect to him in the process. Regarding my daughters, I’ll require the same things from the young man who wants to pursue one of my daughters for courtship.
Voddie Baucham has rightly stated, “Christian dating is like going shopping without any money. You either leave frustrated or you take something that doesn’t belong to you.” Courtship is not the perfect solution. Yes, there are opportunities to fail in courtship too. However, it’s a good honest attempt to put a plan in place and set an end goal to the relationship. The relationship requires responsibility and demands a goal.
Avoiding the Statistical Doom
I’ve heard people make the claim that they need to follow their heart in the area of marriage and that requires dating to make sure they’re choosing the right one. First of all, it’s right to make sure you’re choosing the right mate. Secondly, you can’t trust your heart. According to the Bible, the heart is deceitful and wicked and can’t be trusted (Jeremiah 17:9). Therefore, it would be a foolish thing to trust your heart when it comes to making emotional or romantically influenced decisions regarding marriage.
The statistics tell us that about 50% of all marriages end in divorce across America. That’s a sweeping statistic. Playing the dating game involves giving yourself to someone only to practice breaking up and calling off the relationship over and over again. When playing sports, you learn early on that the art of repetition is the key to success. So, if you want to be caught in the numbers of the divorce saga of our nation, recreational dating and practicing the “breakup” routine will teach you how to be unsuccessful in marriage.
The church must do better to equip families in the area of biblical courtship. This involves better teaching from the pulpit on this subject, honest cultural critique from pastors and parents, and a good healthy filter on the television and movie industry that consistently normalizes what’s simply abnormal and foreign to God’s plan. Although courtship is a word that isn’t found in the Bible, I believe the God ordained principle is clearly visible all throughout the Scriptures. We would be wise to make adjustments in these areas in order to establish healthy relationships for our children as they grow and pursue a spouse in the years to come. We plan ahead for oil changes and we read the fine print in order to choose the right insurance policy for our family, so why would we not likewise put in the effort of preplanning in the area of courtship and marriage preparation with our family?