why I’m glad I watched “The Bachelor”

While I did not expect my first post on my lovely new blog to contain this content, I am not ashamed nor am I sorry. Just to clarify, I’m not a fan of the premise behind the show, or the methods of finding a mate that it promotes. Years ago, however, while rubbing my dad’s shoulders as he worked at his computer, we watched the very first season of The Bachelor together, and today, I’m glad we did.

Had we not seen the start, I may have never turned it on with my Dallas roommates to see Brad’s oh-so-dramatic 2nd season. I would never have met Emily, the blonde bombshell with a child who won over America with her glamour and class. And then I would have never met Sean Lowe – the Christian, born-again virgin, Dallas-ite who regularly attended The Porch gathering at my church. I don’t know if you were watching the 2014 Grammys or the live wedding of Sean Lowe and Catherine Guidici, but I was watching the latter, and that’s what I want to talk about today.

The hype leading up to their union was definitely focused on 2 things: 1) there will be a LIVE wedding on TV with 2 Bachelor stars, and 2) Sean and Catherine will not be having sex before this LIVE wedding. Up until the week before, America was talking. People who don’t practice abstinence before marriage were talking about how crazy they were, how surely they must be lying and how by the end of it they were sick and tired of hearing them talk about sex, or the lack of it. People who do practice abstinence and other Christians were divided into 2 camps – the people who couldn’t get enough of their innocent love, and then the cynicists who weren’t convinced Catherine was even a Christian and were sure that Sean and his family were being duped and that this was all drama for a show. I can’t really place myself in any of those categories, but I must say I was hopeful for them, for their abstinence and for their love to last.

A week before their wedding, they were guests on The View and on Jimmy Kimmel. The first words Jenny McCarthy said to the two lovers was that she had taken a poll from the audience who all thought they were crazy for not living together or sleeping together before marriage, and she said that she’d have to agree with them. Catherine and Sean just smiled politely. Jimmy Kimmel didn’t believe them so he had them agree to strap themselves to a lie detector machine so that the truth could be revealed once they were long-gone on their honeymoon. He thought they were crazy too. The majority of America, from what it seems, thought they were crazy and had no problems telling them and everyone else.

So when the wedding special aired, I was intrigued to see what would make the cut. Jake and I watched (yes, I made him watch with me) as Sean and Catherine wedding planned, road-tripped and made decisions just like we had before our wedding. People I know criticized and made fun of her for her “grown sexy” theme, and her childish/silly comments, but from what I could tell, this was a true picture of this couple’s relationship (not too unlike mine and Jake’s) – silly, laid-back, and if someone had placed a camera on us in the car, they probably would have laughed at us singing and dancing too.

As the wedding date drew nearer, the camera caught Sean shopping for his new bride, for none other than sexy lingerie. It was awkward, but it should have been. For someone who has been waiting for his wedding night to have sex with his bride, shopping for lingerie is awkward and a first. When he presented her with his gift, just days before the wedding, she blushed and laughed and they were speechless. Awkward? Maybe to some. I can relate though. As someone looking forward to the wedding night with Jake, I was blushing and stammering when the subject came up too. Catherine talked about how she wanted her wedding to be sexy because she felt like their relationship had just been budding – a scratching of the surface. She knew they were best friends and at the wedding she wanted to present herself to him as his lover. Song of Solomon anyone?

He presented her with a Bible as her wedding gift and she took Boudoir photos for “his eyes only.” Again, what a picture of a Bride excited to give herself to her husband fully, and what a picture of a Husband waiting in anticipation and wanting to be a strong leader. I loved every minute of it because it reminded me of my wedding. Even if Sean was a “born-again” virgin, and even if Catherine had made mistakes in her past, their intentions and their heart towards one another were pure. Jake and I could relate to that feeling of anticipation and excitement, of becoming one in body and soul. At first, we thought, “Why are they showing all of this on TV?” But quickly I answered my own question. Sex is a gift and they were proclaiming that. We talk about it in our community groups and in some churches and it’s clear in the Bible, so why not proclaim it as holy and true on TV?

Their ceremony spoke of commitment and promise with God as their witness, and God was given the glory for their union. Do I think they’re perfect? Of course not. I do, however, know that God has blessed them and used their relationship as a picture of marriage.

Just a few channels over on the 2014 Grammys, over 30 couples were getting married at the same time to the tune of “Same Love” by Macklemore. This production shouted that marriage is for anyone and marriage can be initiated anywhere at any time. It wasn’t sacred, it wasn’t special. To me, this display cheapened what Catherine and Sean were cherishing. I’m not commenting on the pre-marital activities of any of those couples, because frankly I don’t know, and frankly, that’s not what matters. The value and weight placed upon the act and commitment of marriage is what matters.

Sean and Catherine, thank you for treasuring this commitment and for sharing your views on marriage with the world. Thank you for being vulnerable in a lingerie shop and before a Boudoir session, to show us how exciting it is to save yourself and give yourself completely to another person. Thank you for giving God the glory in your wedding ceremony and for showing us how you value your marriage from day 1. And on a lighter note, thanks for passing your lie detector test with flying colors, showing Jimmy Kimmel and the rest of America that it is actually possible to abstain from sex for 14 months.

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