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Author Topic: TV-marriage and etiquette for friends/family  (Read 13565 times)

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Wintergreen

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TV-marriage and etiquette for friends/family
« on: January 07, 2015, 02:09:21 AM »
BG for a theoretical question: In my country there is currently starting a TV-program that would be something like First date on the altar. I've yet to see any of it (and don't know if I will watch), but what I gathered, is that there is a team of different experts (such as psychologist) who choose from the singles volunteering for the program pairs that would potentially match well. The pair will not meet each other before they get married. So basically it's kind of dating show, they just get married first and get to know each other after that...

I have to admit, I first thought that okay, they won't legally get married, but a local tabloid claims that there actually are real marriages corresponding to the names in the show (from the filming time).

Now there are so many topics I don't want to touch about this, but I was thinking, what on earth would be a etiquette proper response from friends and family for this kind of marriage. Should you congratulate and act like it would be any other marriage? Even if there is rather high change that the couple will divorce quite soon, even withing few weeks. On the other hand, it is for the program, but as the aim for the program is (said) to really find a potentially matching spouse and not just make fun of two people trying to live together, what if the marriage lasts and they end up being married next 50 years. Should you wait for the program to end and see if they are still married after that and congratulate then. Or should you not mention anything? If you invite your participating friend at that time to your own wedding or some other happening, do you still consider them as social unit or would it be fine just to invite your friend? 

I suspect that close family members and friends would be clued in, they probably know you are going to participate such show. But general friends, coworkers, slightly more distant family members... (I could see knowing if my sibling would participate, but for a cousin I probably wouldn't know beforehands.)

I have to admit, this is not something many people will face, but I was wondering more from theoretical viewpoint. Also, if this kind of theoretical question does not fit this board, maybe mods will move (or close) this?

Promise

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Re: TV-marriage and etiquette for friends/family
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2015, 02:48:18 AM »
First, I think it depends on your view of marriage and what your religion is and theirs. Do you know their stance on divorce? For instance, if this is a Hindu couple whose family culture already embraces arranged marriages and consider divorce out of the question, it's probably not as big of a deal. Many people around the world marry a stranger. It's been a part of history for political, social gain as well as financial gain. It's only recently that Western culture considers affection to be the primary motivation. Marriage is about creating family - a man and woman procreating, and not just being in love and living together. You don't need marriage to live with someone you want to have sex with, but you run the risk of pregnancy and research shows that couples who only live together outside of marriage is not in the best interest of children for multiple reasons. Which is why marriage is best for family.

But...in Western culture, arranged marriages are not common and thus the predicament. You have a lot to weigh. What if one person is Catholic and the other is not and the wedding is outside of the Catholic church and faith and thus not valid. If you are Catholic, you could not attend. It may be so for other religions as well, I don't know. If you do not believe in divorce except for extreme circumstances such as fraud, or severe abuses, or adultery and you know they are taking the vows lightly, you might not go.

Marriage, in religion, is a sacrament, not just a legal binding of two people. It's much more. It's why many choose to not attend weddings when they believe the couple are marrying for wrong purposes or not in agreement with their particular church or religion's beliefs.

But again, if the two strangers have met with pastors/religious leaders who bless it, counselors, and state they will not divorce, why not go and support them. There needs to be a deep level of sincerity coming from the couple to make it work before I would attend. That's my two cents.

Wintergreen

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Re: TV-marriage and etiquette for friends/family
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2015, 04:44:47 AM »
Good points, should have probably mention, that this is Western culture in a country where arranged marriages haven't happened since I don't know when (obviously at some time in history, but not currently). Also, divorce is "fine". It does have slight stigma of "failure" maybe, but quite probably on the same level that any other Western/European/North American culture. As in, some think nothing of it, some think it's sad, some think it's "pity that people nowadays divorce so easily", some still think it's almost unacceptable (usually because of religious reasons). As far as I know, the marriages in this show will be/were civil marriages, so not sacraments (or something with similar religious weight as Lutherans don't think marriage to be sacrament).

I think this "There needs to be a deep level of sincerity coming from the couple to make it work before I would attend. " from your post cathced quite well what I found troubling in this and was thinking about the theory of etiquette. Maybe somehow because it is tv show I automatically suspect that there is not enough "sincerity" in the process, but the marriage is done just for I don't know what. And maybe because I think that what if the idea is to stay married only for the time of the program/show is filmed. So maybe the situation would be the same if somebody is getting married and you know that they are planning to divorce soon right after.

EllenS

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Re: TV-marriage and etiquette for friends/family
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2015, 09:04:39 AM »
Are they actually inviting friends/family to the wedding, or are you talking about how to treat them afterwards?

Personally, if I knew the setup I would not attend. I think the whole concept is shocking. Obviously the producers of the show do not think this will work out well. Happy marriages make boring TV. Furthermore, I assume all the participants are being paid? Entering into a form of marriage for payment is...well...I needn't elaborate.

If, however, a friend/family member announced that they were married, I would not consider it my business how that came about and I would treat them as any other married couple. There are quite a lot of extended family members/old friends in distant places whose spouses I never met before they were married - why should this be any different.

The tricky bit, I would think, is whether they are supposed to keep the marriage a secret until after the show airs. If so, it would indeed cause some awkward situations. I don't know that there are any specific etiquette rules for that, since it is a very unnatural situation.


lmyrs

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Re: TV-marriage and etiquette for friends/family
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2015, 09:27:13 AM »
The only part of this that I'm going to address is the part where you ask if you should include them as a social unit. If I had a friend that participated in one of these, I'd decide which events I wanted to invite him and his wife and his camera crew to. Because the point of these shows is to follow how the couple does in the aftermath of the quick wedding. So, if you want to see your friend, one on one, you better expect a camera. And, if you are having a party, where social unit rules apply, you should invite the wife, because regardless of how you feel about their wedding, they are, in fact, married. I don't think I'd invite either of them though because I wouldn't want my other guests to be uncomfortable with the cameras. Plus, I'm pretty sure that their activities for the filming time are pretty closely choreographed anyway, so they likely wouldn't be available.

If you're a close enough family member or friend to get their time during filming, it's going to be a nightmare of release forms and you'll be filmed for the express purpose of either (a) showing the world what a witch you are for not believing in their true love or (b) showing the world how gullible you are for supporting the nonsense. If you're not doing any of those things, then they likely don't have time for you.

I think that once the show was over, and the cameras were off, I'd resume my normal relationship with my friend. Honestly, I think the moral is that you can not apply any sort of formal etiquette rules to reality TV.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2015, 09:40:42 AM by lmyrs »

wolfie

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Re: TV-marriage and etiquette for friends/family
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2015, 09:51:53 AM »

But...in Western culture, arranged marriages are not common and thus the predicament. You have a lot to weigh. What if one person is Catholic and the other is not and the wedding is outside of the Catholic church and faith and thus not valid. If you are Catholic, you could not attend.

I was raised Catholic and I don't remember ever being told that you aren't allowed to attend weddings that are not in a Catholic church. I wasn't married in the church and plenty of my Catholic family attended.

I think that if I was a close friend i would try to talk them out of it. BUt if their mind was made up then I would support them as best I could and help pick up the pieces if it falls apart. WHo knows - maybe it will even work out. But once they are married then they get all the benefits of a couple of dated for a while before marrying - no distinctions.

EllenS

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Re: TV-marriage and etiquette for friends/family
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2015, 09:55:24 AM »
The only part of this that I'm going to address is the part where you ask if you should include them as a social unit. If I had a friend that participated in one of these, I'd decide which events I wanted to invite him and his wife and his camera crew to. Because the point of these shows is to follow how the couple does in the aftermath of the quick wedding. So, if you want to see your friend, one on one, you better expect a camera. And, if you are having a party, where social unit rules apply, you should invite the wife, because regardless of how you feel about their wedding, they are, in fact, married. I don't think I'd invite either of them though because I wouldn't want my other guests to be uncomfortable with the cameras. Plus, I'm pretty sure that their activities for the filming time are pretty closely choreographed anyway, so they likely wouldn't be available.

If you're a close enough family member or friend to get their time during filming, it's going to be a nightmare of release forms and you'll be filmed for the express purpose of either (a) showing the world what a witch you are for not believing in their true love or (b) showing the world how gullible you are for supporting the nonsense. If you're not doing any of those things, then they likely don't have time for you.

I think that once the show was over, and the cameras were off, I'd resume my normal relationship with my friend. Honestly, I think the moral is that you can not apply any sort of formal etiquette rules to reality TV.

Oh, heavens, I didn't even consider the possibility of social events during filming. I've been involved in "regular" film and TV (not reality), and there are so many logistics and legalities - insurance, crew which have to be fed/bathroomed, and anyone who is on camera has to sign a waiver...no. Anything filmed is orchestrated through the producers. They would either have to attend "normal" events off-camera or forgo them during the filming period. I would issue normal invitations, but not expect them to accept.

#borecore

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Re: TV-marriage and etiquette for friends/family
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2015, 10:01:47 AM »
I saw this show (just the first one) recently online. It was a US show, and they basically agree to marry, then live together (or close to it) for 6 weeks, then decide whether to stay married or get divorced.

The weddings are forced and weird -- they have at least a maid of honor/best man, if not a multiperson wedding party, all of whom are kind of befuddled. They all had several family members and friends (or ringers?) there. They all seem kind of overwhelmed and sad at the wedding.

I didn't like the production of the show (it was very much a reality show/'let's repeat everything 5 times' format), so I didn't watch any followup episodes, but it was clear that not everyone had any kind of initial attraction to their new spouse.

Anyway, if anyone I know in real life did this, I might or might not attend the wedding (probably not unless it was a sibling) because I find the commodification of marriage to be a bit repellant and don't care to appear on a show.

However, I would be happy to acknowledge the marriage and socialize with the couple if they continued to present themselves as married after the show was over. I think it's fine not to want to appear on the show at all, though!

Arila

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Re: TV-marriage and etiquette for friends/family
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2015, 10:46:34 AM »
I feel as though any supposedly happy occasion is best, etiquettely speaking, responded to at face value. So. Someone gets married (Has a baby, gets a job, graduates, gets an award etc) you congratulate them warmly regardless of what you think, be it that t won't last (they previously said they didn't want a baby, their job is something you don't think is that great, it was from Kindergarden, it was for "participation" etc).

What you Don't need to do is go on and on gushing about it and how awesome it is. briefly listening to a description of events is probably expected, and striking the right balance between interest and approval can be difficult, but something I would strive to do.

Lynn2000

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Re: TV-marriage and etiquette for friends/family
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2015, 11:44:07 AM »
I agree with Arila. Basically, I would get the end result I felt comfortable with, but while following etiquette rules strictly and keeping my opinions to myself (especially in public). So in this case I might be thinking a lot of rude and indignant things inside, and I would RSVP no to attending the event, but I would do so on time and with regret (so sorry, I have a previous commitment...) and display a pleasant attitude towards the people involved.

The TV cameras make a great thing to blame as you can say when pressed that your problem is just that you don't want to be on TV, don't want to have cameras at your party, etc..

Even if it's some other situation it's not polite to broadcast your views that you don't think the marriage will last, you don't consider them "really" married, you think the ceremony was fraudulent or disrespectful, etc.. I mean there could be some extreme circumstances involving safety or illegal activity where intervention might be appropriate, but that's beyond etiquette. If I felt that strongly about it (but it wasn't an intervention situation) I would just stop socializing with my friend (and their spouse). If I was going to continue socializing with them, I think I need to accept their view of the situation and invite both to social-unit events, etc., until such time as they informed me they weren't together anymore. I don't think it's right to try and maintain a friendship, but deny my friend's interpretation of their own life and substitute my own. I'm sure people can come up with new scenarios, though...
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Hmmmmm

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Re: TV-marriage and etiquette for friends/family
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2015, 12:24:26 PM »
I watched the US version of this that was called Married at First Sight. Of the 3 couples, 2 stayed together for at least 6 months and I heard are now getting their own spin off to follow them through the first year of their marriage. It actually IMHO was one of the better reality shows. They definitely did not "glam" up the realities of marriage.

As far as the etiquette of congratulations, it appeared most family and friends treated their marriage as an "arranged" marriage. Lots of very close friends or family did react as you'd expect "are you nuts!". But all in all, most people seemed to follow standard rules and offering well wishes and congratulations. I sort of view it like when a young couple on public assistance or dependent on their families financially gives you the happy news of a baby. I wish them well and keep my opinions to myself. Who am I to judge that 5 "experts" couldn't do a better job of picking out a life partner than they could on their own.

They each had traditional weddings with family and friends in attendance, though one bride's family was not supportive of her participation and would not attend the wedding. In the post 6 months phase I think they did learn to accept him as a family member once they realized they were staying together after the cameras quit rolling.

Accept for a few social interactions, the cameras seemed to primarily be filming when they were alone. One groom's mom was ill and didn't want to be filmed so was never on camera. So I think if you were inviting the couple to an event you'd have some leeway to refuse to allow it to be filmed as part of the show.

What I found most interesting (non-etiquette related) was the turn around of one woman who literally broke down in tears at her wedding because she was so not attracted to her groom. During the first months, he was obviously wooing her. When they did the reunion months later to see who had stayed together, you could tell by their body language that she was now the more "smitten" of the two couples. She was constantly leaning back on to him while he was relaxing leaning away from her on the sofa. But the couple that was instantly attracted to each other at the wedding could never get their relationship off the ground. What this couple learned was what they said on their interviews and evaluations about what they wanted out of a marriage and partner was not what they truly wanted.

EllenS

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Re: TV-marriage and etiquette for friends/family
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2015, 12:31:50 PM »
I agree with Arila. Basically, I would get the end result I felt comfortable with, but while following etiquette rules strictly and keeping my opinions to myself (especially in public). So in this case I might be thinking a lot of rude and indignant things inside, and I would RSVP no to attending the event, but I would do so on time and with regret (so sorry, I have a previous commitment...) and display a pleasant attitude towards the people involved.

The TV cameras make a great thing to blame as you can say when pressed that your problem is just that you don't want to be on TV, don't want to have cameras at your party, etc..

Even if it's some other situation it's not polite to broadcast your views that you don't think the marriage will last, you don't consider them "really" married, you think the ceremony was fraudulent or disrespectful, etc.. I mean there could be some extreme circumstances involving safety or illegal activity where intervention might be appropriate, but that's beyond etiquette. If I felt that strongly about it (but it wasn't an intervention situation) I would just stop socializing with my friend (and their spouse). If I was going to continue socializing with them, I think I need to accept their view of the situation and invite both to social-unit events, etc., until such time as they informed me they weren't together anymore. I don't think it's right to try and maintain a friendship, but deny my friend's interpretation of their own life and substitute my own. I'm sure people can come up with new scenarios, though...

Yes, this. For me, personally, if I had a friend or family member who participated in this, that decision would make me rethink how much time I wanted to spend with them. Like in a "good grief, who are you?" kind of way. Not to the point of excluding a family member from major events (not Cut Direct), but I would probably not be inviting them over for the weekly cookout, either.

lakey

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Re: TV-marriage and etiquette for friends/family
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2015, 05:46:01 PM »
I have a serious problem with these kinds of tv programs. I think that this trivializes relationships and marriage in order to create some kind of shock value tv program. They call this type of thing "pushing the envelope", when I consider it pandering to the lowest common denominator. I don't believe relatives or people of my acquaintance would participate in a show like this. If one did, I would keep my distance for a while. Like until he/she grew up and acted like an adult. Sorry if I come across as a wet blanket, but I don't think that marriage, an engagement, dating, or any other serious relationship should be used for cheap entertainment.

lakey

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Re: TV-marriage and etiquette for friends/family
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2015, 05:55:39 PM »
Further, my problem with this type of tv program isn't just based on whether people view marriage as religious or  civil. A civil marriage is a serious matter, when it is between two sincere people who are making a commitment to each other. As a Catholic who views marriage as a sacrament I have respect for the marriage of people who enter a civil marriage.

My problem with this issue is the television industry which cynically creates these shows for shock value, each show seeing which one can be more distasteful and shallow.  It is probably obvious that I'm not a big fan of a lot of reality tv.

Perfect Circle

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Re: TV-marriage and etiquette for friends/family
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2015, 03:27:34 AM »
We are obviously from the same country OP, I've seen this online in the papers from back home lately too.

I think in the cultural setting of my country of origin it doesn't set well - and I think it makes a bit of a mockery of the whole marriage thing.

I'm also really surprised at some of these experts who chose to be involved in this. Particularly as it involves actual legal marriage which is a very big deal regardless of your beliefs - like lakey said, whether it's civil or religious, it is a serious commitment.

If someone I know did this? I definitely would not be attending that wedding.
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