2017-06-22 17:13:08.0

Is love at first sight a myth?

2017-04-12 12:37:36.0 | Karabo Disetlhe-Mtshayelo
We were all shocked when we first saw the Married at First Sight show that aired on DStv's Lifetime channel.

The premise of the show is simple - you are literally marrying a stranger, and only learning their first name at the alter before the nuptials!

South Africans also wanted a piece of the innovative pie, so the local version was launched a couple of months ago, and saw complete strangers saying "I do".

Not surprisingly, none of the couples who signed up stayed together after the show that ended recently. All of them opted for a divorce.

Does this mean love at first sight is just a myth?

The show uses professionals to match up the couples - ranging from clinical psychologists to financial planners - to ensure the marriage is perfect.

But where did it all go south?

Psychologist Sthembile Mkhize says she does not believe the show's couples called it quits because they married strangers. "We all marry strangers in the bigger scheme of things. The person you are married to was not a family member or your mother's child, but a stranger that you met at some point," she says.

"Where I feel the show fell short was rushing to the marriage part of things.

"Yes, the show was a social experiment, but marriage is a lifetime commitment, and literally a lawful contract, so entering into a relationship where you are still trying to get to know someone, yet having the yoke of marriage on your shoulders already, can only spell a total disaster."

Mkhize says although the couples on the show were brought together by a team of experts, she says there are several things that go into a marriage that cannot be force-fed to anyone. "You cannot teach people chemistry. Often times people mistake attraction and chemistry, and they are two completely different things.

"You can be attracted to someone, and they can have all the qualities you want from a partner, but not have any chemistry with them, as chemistry is something that happens naturally," she says.

"It is being in sync with each other with regards to all or most aspects of your beliefs, your morals and values, as well as your general outlook in life.

"Also, it takes a while to really get to know a person. When we first meet someone we like, we tend to want to put our best foot forward and we go into impress mode, and it can take several months, sometimes years, for someone's true colours to come out.

"The danger with rushing into marriage before seeing those true colours is that they may be shocking, upsetting or a complete deal breaker for the other party when they finally present themselves, which if you are already married can only mean divorce or a miserable life together."

So does Mkhize think arranged marriages are also doomed to fail?

"People in your lives - friends and family - can preach to you what a perfect match you would be with a particular person, but it's ultimately up to a couple to see if they have the right ingredients to turn the recommendations into a lifetime commitment.

"We also live in a different era where more and more people are self-aware and know what they want out of life, so anything arranged can be a problem," she says.

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