10 Ways To Stop Your Life from Becoming A Reality TV Show

The world seems to be obsessed with reality TV.

There are a gozillion reality shows airing on every station, documenting every topic under the sun. Some of them don’t document anything at all, really, except exceptional stupidity. Just in case you’re curious, here’s a list of all the reality TV shows.

How many of those shows feature couples?

And how many Americans, and fans around the world, are obsessed with the celebrity couples and their “real” lives as depicted through reality TV?

More than I care to count.

Reality TV has become the standard to which many measure their lives. And that’s sad. And scary. Because reality TV is anything but real.

When it comes to depicting real relationships and marriages for all of America, reality TV has only been successful at one thing: showing America how to fail.

How many reality couples have actually weathered the storm that is cameras in their faces 24/7?

I remember the early days of reality TV, when watching Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson was the cool thing to do. They were newlyweds. So was I. I think I watched maybe 3 episodes.

I remember thinking exactly one thing– why? Why would you put your marriage on TV, as if it’s entertainment? Because it’s not.

Marriage isn’t entertainment for other people. And when it becomes so, when you amp up your relationship for the benefit of those watching, you take the focus off of the two people involved and put it on everyone else.

Imagine: your marriage is, quite literally, a show. Your relationship centers around not what you can do for your spouse or how you can work out your issues to become better people for each other, but instead how you can entertain an audience, how you can increase your tension, how you can create more problems for the benefit and delight of your audience.

When you really think about it, it becomes obvious why these relationships don’t last.

Jessica and Nick– kaput.

Hulk Hogan & his wife. Done.

Kim Kardashian and Kris whats-his-name. Over before it started. (Seriously, was their entire relationship just for ratings? How sad is that?)

And what about Jon and Kate Gosselin, the couple everyone loved because they loved each other, loved their brood of multiples, and loved God? Yeah. Where are they now? That’s right– nasty divorce that played out for the world. Those poor kiddos.

There’s a huge list of other couples that have been featured on reality shows (one member of the couple or both) and have split shortly after filming. Or even during filming.

These relationships were doomed because sometimes you just need to keep stuff private.

Is your life like a reality TV show? Are you airing dirty laundry that does more harm to your marriage or relationship than good?

How to Stop Your Life from Becoming A Reality Show:

1. Respect your marriage. Respect the sanctity of the union into which you entered. You have become one with another human being, unified in the eyes of God, legally bonded in the eyes of the law. Remember that your relationship with your spouse should be second only to your relationship with God.

2. Realize that everything you do affects someone else. You are one-half of the whole when in a marriage. Every action you take, every word you speak, is not only a refection of you, but also of your spouse. Keep that in mind as you make decisions and go through each and every day.

3. Don’t keep up with anyone. Your relationship is unique. It is a snowflake. (Too cliche?) As two individuals now acting as one family unit, you may share similar experiences with others, but you will never, ever be exactly the same. Don’t try to be. When you put yourself in competition with someone else, even another couple, you take the focus off of the importance of your relationship and shine the light on theirs. Who’s more important to you–the person you want to be like, or your spouse?

4. Don’t tell everyone everything. Sometimes even your best girlfriends don’t need to know everything that’s wrong with your man (or woman, dudes). Not only are you degrading and disrespecting him by complaining behind his back, but running our mouths tempts us to up the ante each time we do it. We want sympathy, we want compassion and understanding for our “suffering”, so sometimes we might be tempted to say too much, to embellish, to over-share in order to get the reaction we desire. Don’t. It’s not healthy. The more you publicize, the more they’ll scrutinize.

5. If you have a perfect relationship, don’t flaunt it. The minute that you do, you’ll realize it isn’t perfect.

6. Value your partner more than the spotlight. It’s fun to be the life of the party. It’s fun to be in the popular crowd. It’s nice to know and be known. But when it comes at the cost of your relationship, it just isn’t worth it.

7. Be brave enough to admit when you need help. All relationships go through rough patches. Don’t be afraid to admit that your relationship is struggling, and seek professional help. Making the health of your relationship a priority over everything else is the first step to getting it back on track.

8. Make your spouse the one you tell your secrets to. When your deepest dreams, thoughts, and fears are shared more often with others than with your spouse, you are devaluing him or her. Keep your spouse as your best friend and confidante before anyone else.

9. Value your alone time. One-on-one time with your spouse is vital. In order to sustain a working relationship, every couple needs quiet, uninterrupted time to talk and time to listen. No “cameras.” No “audience.” Just you and your spouse. Make it a priority.

10. Don’t let anyone outside your marriage dictate what happens inside your marriage. Reality TV stars allow their lives to be “scripted” by those in the business who know how to get higher ratings. Like those TV stars, sometimes we can let others influence what happens in our marriage by listening to bad advice or criticism that we then turn on our spouse. Don’t. Seek wise counsel from those who are worthy to give it, and ignore all the rest.

Share with me: Anything to add to this list? What’s your favorite reality TV show?

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18 Comments

Filed under Marriage, Romance

18 responses to “10 Ways To Stop Your Life from Becoming A Reality TV Show

  1. jessicarpatch

    Ok, this was fabulous! So true! My favorite reality show is Big Brother. I love that one. But I also watch Swamp People (lol), Tanked, sometimes Hoarders when I can stomach it (the animal one). I think that’s it. At least, that’s all I can think of at the moment. Does the Voice count as reality TV?

  2. juliejarnagin

    I’ve often wondered why people would still choose to put their marriages on tv when it’s clear that it’s a recipe for disaster. I guess they think it won’t happen to them. I’m with Jessica – I love The Voice. I used to watch Top Chef and Project Runway.

  3. wendypainemiller

    Such wisdom here today! My mom and I were talking recently about a show she’d seen reporting all the folks who were on reality shows that ended up killing themselves. Made me sad. And thoughtful.
    ~ Wendy

  4. Wow. You blew me away with this post. It’s so true that people try to model their life after reality TV, when really, most everything is manipulated or edited to look like reality–but it’s NOT reality. And I admit it, I watch The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. I know it’s totally and completely fake. But it’s like a car wreck…you can’t look away!

  5. I watch reality TV, too, y’all. I can’t stand the “Real” ones or the “Keeping Up With…” but my favorite show on TV is So You Think You Can Dance. I definitely like the ones that are competitions more than the ones that just follow people around.

  6. Lori Dilworth

    My name is, Lori, and I am a reality show junkie. I shouldn’t be, there is way too much in my own world to worry about, but I just can’t help the allure of watching train wrecks as they happen.

  7. Casey Herringshaw

    #4 is a huge one for me. Not because I’m there, but because I’ve seen spouses do it. And no, it’s not healthy to complain about a problem you have with your spouse with a buddy. Talk it out with your spouse and if necessary, a trusted adviser, not just the guy you hang out with on Saturday night.

    The only reality show I watch actually is Biggest Loser…because I don’t have access to any others. Ha! 🙂 Probably a good thing.

    But I can’t fathom why a family would want a camera in their face and WHY do people like to watch it? That’s why we write fiction, because real life doesn’t make a good novel. 🙂

    • Casey- I’ve seen spouses abuse #4, too, and I know I’ve been guilty of the over-share. I’ve learned that there are some things that really need to stay inside the marriage–not because they are embarrassing, but because it’s not right or healthy to tell too much.

  8. Loree Huebner

    Great post!

    I think that in all reality, (on reality shows that is) it’s all about the prize/money. Hang some money out there, then stick a camera in someones face and they become a different person…married or not. I used to watch Survivor when it first came out. I stopped. I just couldn’t stand to see people plot, talk behind each other’s back, and say terrible things, even if it’s a game…all for the money. I also believe that some reality shows are scripted to keep up the ratings-once again, about the money.

  9. cynthiaherron

    Another great one today! I don’t do much reality T.V. either, but I do enjoy The Duggars. I saw them in person last year at a Fresh Grounded Faith conference with Jennifer Rothschild, and they are such a testimony of faith and values.

    • I was actually thinking about the Duggars when I wrote this. I wonder how they would be different, as in family dynamics AND the relationship between the parents, if there were no cameras. I wonder how it will affect the kids in the long run.

      • jennifermmajor

        One thing I like about teh Duggars is that the cameras aren’t there 24/7. And the level of respect they have for each other is lovely.

  10. I actually don’t like reality tv. Which is great because it saves me lots of time. 🙂 Great stuff on here today, Jenny. And such great reminders. It can be almost too easy to vent even the littlest spousal frustration to a friend. That is something I strive to keep a tight reign on. I could do better.

    You could give Dr. Phil a run for his money with this one. Plus, your cuter!

    • Awww, thanks, A! I don’t know about giving Dr. Phil a run for his money, but I do know that even though I watch a few reality shows, they certainly aren’t a picture of reality, right?

  11. jeanniecampbell

    okay….you just bashed reality tv shows (which i don’t watch and happen to agree with everything you wrote, so i have nothing invested in this) and then ask us which is our favorite? that’s hysterical! i used to watch fear factor–kind of glued to the tv in shock most of the time—and i watched one season of the swan (did you ever see that? they took these women who weren’t all that attractive and made every one of them bombshells who then competed in a pageant. i was absolutely amazed at what they did to these women. my husband called me depraved). never got into anything else.

    can i just say that you are one of my most favorite bloggers–no scratch that–PEOPLE ever? i miss you friend.

  12. jennifermmajor

    I’ve even given up on Survivor. I know. I wonder why it took so long. The Eco-Challenge was awesome though!!

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