Love Is Blind is currently ranked at #1 in the U.S. on Netflix, so if you haven’t watched or even heard of it yet, we can almost guarantee your teen has. It’s 10 episodes of pure drama, entertainment, crazy “love,” Bachelor-like suspense, and did we mention drama? Yes, lots of drama. In this “experiment,” as the creators put it, hopeful singles date and choose someone to marry—without ever having seen them before.
If your teen is as wrapped up in this show as the rest of the U.S., they’re likely experiencing a lot of things right now: curiosity, confusion on what love really is, a desire to be known, loved, and (eventually) married, and a whole lot of other emotions. We’re going to unpack the major themes of Love Is Blind and attempt to answer your biggest questions surrounding the newest TV craze.
What is Love Is Blind about?
The show is an experiment to test whether or not love is truly blind. “We live in such a disconnected and distracted world,” co-host Vanessa Lachey tells the singles. “Your value is often judged solely by the photo on your dating app. But everyone wants to be loved for who they are. Not for their looks, their race, their background, or their income.” Married couple Nick and Vanessa Lachey theorized that a love connection can be created based only on emotional connection, not a physical one. So they set out to test that theory with Love Is Blind.
In the show, 30 hopeful singles enter into a “facility” in Atlanta with one living space for the girls, and one for the guys. The singles then go on dates all day (some days up to 20 hours, yikes!) every day for 10 days to find their perfect match. At the end of the 10 days, the participants must either get engaged or get the boot—seems like a super chill, not-stressful-at-all way to meet your future spouse, right? Again, this is a blind love experiment, so they’re getting engaged with zero knowledge of what the other person looks like.
It’s broken up into four stages: the pods, an exotic vacation, moving in together, and marriages. Here’s the kicker (you know, if the idea of blindly proposing to someone isn’t shocking enough): the whole process is executed within just 38 days. That means if a couple gets engaged on day eight, they’re walking down the aisle in just 30 days, like it or not. Nothing says ‘till death do us part’ like a reality show’s enforced ultimatum!
This is where the singles get to know one another. Each person has their own private room known as a pod, in which only a thin wall separates the two. Here, they share everything from their favorite food to their deepest darkest secrets in an extremely vulnerable fashion in order to create a deep emotional connection with the person on the other side of the wall. Remember, they can only hear the sound of the other person’s voice, they can’t see the person’s race, clothing style, height, mannerisms, smile—nothing but a mysterious voice.
The pro to this situation is the real emotional connection one can make with another human being without the distraction of things like social media, appearance, others’ opinions, etc. It’s kind of like having a pen pal you’ve never met but feel a strong friendship with, only in this scenario the pen pals are getting married in a matter of weeks, nbd. The connection is based on a person’s personality and soul alone. This is a good quality of the show, because at the end of the day we all want to be loved for who we are on the inside, not for our appearance.
The con, however, is that the couples who do end up getting engaged fall hard and fast without really knowing what they were getting themselves into. After all, how much can you really get to know a person in just a few days? For example, the first couple to get engaged, Lauren and Cameron, said the words “I love you” after only three days, and got engaged just two days later. That’s a grand total of five days.
By the end of the 10 days, six couples get engaged on the show. Once the couple says “yes” to the life-altering, forever decision of marriage, they finally get to meet face to face. Luckily, most of the couples were pleased with who they saw—phew! But this is only the start.
Shortly after meeting one another, the six engaged couples are whisked off to a romantic vacation in a resort in Mexico. There, they discover whether they can turn their emotional connection into a physical one. The results are nothing short of an absolute disaster in some cases, and dreamy bliss in others. There’s honestly not really an in-between, which, of course, makes for some great TV but questionable examples for our kids to be witnessing.
Once these couples are in the real world where actual conflicts occur (well, as real as an all-expenses-paid tropical vacation can be, at least), they realize just what they’ve said yes to. One participant waited until after he was engaged to tell his fiancée that he was bisexual. And somehow, he felt terribly betrayed when his soon-to-be wife reacted poorly to the news, ending up in a huge blowup and breakup. Another woman quickly realized she was not attracted to her new fiance whatsoever, even finding it difficult to kiss him. Ouch. Needless to say, maybe it’s not the best idea to get engaged to someone you’ve never seen or known past 10 days.
Something to be aware of if your teen is watching Love Is Blind is the openness in which sex is discussed. It’s not unlike the discussion of sex in shows like the Bachelor; it’s an expected next step in the relationship, according to the modern cultural perspective. And as you’ve probably already guessed, part of creating a physical connection on the Mexican vacation included sex for most of the couples in Love Is Blind. Not everyone got intimate; however, for the two couples who didn’t, it was almost a taboo that they had yet to take that step as the others guys and girls raved about their flourishing sex lives.
This can leave us in a tricky position as parents. How do you address this with your kid when it’s so widely accepted—and even expected—in modern culture that new couples take the step of intimacy so soon? Of course, just because most people nowadays say it’s ok doesn’t make it ok, but it does make the topic of purity and sexuality pretty confusing for our teens in such an accepting and open climate. In Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality, Nancy R. Pearcey says,
Many families hope to protect their children from radical ideas by walling off the secular world—supervising what books they read, what movies they see, what music they listen to. But secular worldviews do not come neatly labeled so we can easily recognize them. Instead they mutate into forms that we hardly recognize, becoming part of the very air we breathe. The most powerful worldviews are the ones we absorb without knowing it. They are the ideas nobody talks about—the assumptions we pick up almost by osmosis.
We’re not telling you to allow your child to watch Love Is Blind if you’re uncomfortable with them viewing it, but we’re also not telling you to ward off anything that might have the possibility of pushing messages you don’t accept. Because as Nancy R. Pearcey explains, modern messages of sex and sexuality come in all shapes and sizes, more often than not in forms we don’t detect. Why not take Love Is Blind as an opportunity to shed light on a very dark area of our culture?
The show reveals such a dependency on sex that many people feel today—the pressures to perform, the ridicule of not taking that step, the need for sex to bring a dating relationship full circle. Our kids need our help in this area, lest they fall into the ideology of the world without biblical foundations to support them. Sex is not all there is, and it’s not the end all be all of a good relationship. While publications like Cosmopolitan or shows like Love Is Blind might tell us that sex is normal and important outside of the context of marriage, we know that true intimacy with a partner is fostered only within the beauty and freedom of marriage, not the other way around.
Moving in together
By the end of the vacation, only five couples remain, surprise surprise. Now it’s time for the real test: living together and meeting the families. Are all of the families supportive of a two-week-long relationship and engagement? You guessed it, absolutely not. Most friends and family members are hesitant and ask lots of questions (questions that are usually dismissed with a hopeful “I love him/her, this is it”). They’re not so sure about the person their loved one has chosen to marry, and with good reason! How would you feel if your child came home with a new fiancée they’d known for less time than your average family vacation?
Despite the cautions of many a friend and family member, these couples really are blinded by love. For them, this is the real deal. It’s the truest form of love they’ve ever experienced, so it must be meant to be, right? Why not just dive right in, throwing all caution to the wind?
After a few weeks of stressfully planning the quickest weddings ever, the couples are finally ready for the altar. But are they really ready? Come wedding day (they’re all married on the same day, in the same venue), every couple comes to the realization that this is real, it’s happening. It’s no longer a far off fantasy that may happen one day in a crazy alternate universe. Their friends and families have gathered, the wedding dress is on, and the aisle is very, very real.
Not surprisingly, the couples all experience a roller coaster of emotions, doubts, and fears the morning of their weddings, all of which culminate in the final decision of whether or not to say “I do,” a decision they don’t make until they’re already standing before everyone at the altar. In true reality-drama fashion, most couples have no idea whether or not their fiance will say yes. Imagine the fear of getting to the altar and not knowing whether or not you’ll even get married!
What really breaks our hearts about this is that these people have never really known true love, so while viewers may see the discrepancies clear as day, this truly feels real to the new couples. Even though they’re not certain whether or not their fiancé will say yes, they’re so infatuated with the idea of marriage that they’re willing to put themselves through the stress. But any married couple who’s been together longer than a few years (or a few months) knows that the love of marriage goes so much deeper than initial infatuation, which really is what this is for most of the couples. Lust is not love, it’s lust.
This infatuation is a gross disservice to the participants because their relationship is founded solely on how they feel about the other person, rather than truly getting to know them. The whole premise of Love Is Blind relies on this idea of finding your soulmate, which is honestly rather unrealistic in such a rushed, fabricated setting. But part of the reason this is so easy for the couples to fall into is that we’ve been taught since childhood that when we find our soulmate, everything will simply click. We’ll see flowers and rainbows everywhere we go, living life as a fairytale, because “when you know, you know.” Therefore, when the couples did feel amazing with their person, they have to assume he or she is the one, right? This sets such destructive standards for our teens because fuzzy feelings of infatuation don’t last if the relationship is built on nothing but feeling. Picking a life partner requires making an informed decision based on what you’ve experienced with that person when the feelings don’t feel so fuzzy.
For these hopeful couples, marriage is something they so desperately desire that they’re willing to compromise on so many important aspects of dating and really learning one another. Desiring marriage is certainly not a bad thing, God created it, after all! But when we desire something to the point of compromising on things like our values or relationships with friends, family, and the Lord, it’s no longer a desire, it’s an idol. Jonah 2:8 reminds us of this truth: “Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.” The heartbreaking irony of this is that while the Love Is Blind participants are fighting for the idol of marriage, they’re forsaking their hope for steadfast love. To compromise on our values to fulfill an idol is to reject our deeper need for real love from the Father.
To many viewers’ dismay, when it came time to say “I do,” only two out of five couples went through with it, leaving three people absolutely devastated at the words “I don’t.” (Here’s a full list of couples who got engaged and/or married.) What a confusing model of love, engagement, and marriage. Our kids may wonder, will I ever find someone to love me for me? Will I ever get to this point of desperation and heartbreak? I don’t want this.
This show shouldn’t be taken too seriously, because at the end of the day it was created to have lots of drama for great ratings. But the ideas and fears still have the power to influence our hearts if we let them. Talk with your kid about what it means to find real love, what’s worth compromising on in a relationship and what’s not, and what they hope to find in their future spouse. No one wants fake love, but if we’re not careful, we can kid ourselves into a love that’s pure fantasy, instead of the love God intended us to find in Him and reflected in the soul of another.