ABC’s The Bachelor aired when the “reality TV” hype first began and has maintained ratings long enough to stay on the prime-time lineup for 10 years. The show centers around one eligible bachelor who is always financially stable and physically attractive. Twenty-five single women from all over the country (also physically attractive) are thrown together in a mansion and given opportunities to try to win the affections of the bachelor. Every week, there is a rose ceremony in which he eliminates several of the women he no longer wishes to see. Of course, as numbers decline, emotions intensify and the drama that inevitably occurs when one man dates twenty five women keeps the attention of millions of young viewers.
Most of the women who appear on The Bachelor will emphasize (usually during their teary-eyed departure after they’ve just been dumped) that they were only searching for love. They are generally left baffled and hurt, as they were certain that they had a “connection” with the bachelor. If one is able to place all superficial judgments aside, it is interesting to view the show from a psychological and theological standpoint. It brought to mind Larry Crabb’s book “Connecting.” In it, Crabb accentuates our need as humans to bring back the connectedness that we were designed to experience both with God and with each other. He believes that there is soul-healing to be found in such relationships as people were created to take delight in each other and in their Creator.
It is clear that today’s fast paced, sin-laden society lacks the level of connection that humans are yearning for. People avoid becoming too intimate as this creates fear of rejection and greater difficulty in taking delight in another person. However, they know that something is missing and they want it. In the case of The Bachelor, women are so desperate to find connection they are willing to place their lives and stories on national television. G.K. Chesterton once wrote: “every man that knocks at the door of a brothel is looking for God.” People are searching in all the wrong places but ultimately, they are searching for a connection with God and with others. We were created for perfect community and intimacy and, according to Crabb, regaining at least some of that back (of course community and intimacy will not be completely restored until Christ’s return) will heal many of the emotional wounds that individuals are experiencing today. I wish I could tell each and every crying woman on The Bachelor as she contemplates in her departure limo “what went wrong” or “why won’t he accept me” that they are not going to find the love, intimacy, and connection they are longing for in a man on a TV show. They are only going to find that in connection with the ultimate source of love: God.