Talking to Your Daughter About the Bachelor: Advice From a Dedicated Fan

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I have a confession: on any given Monday night, you can find me indulging in an episode of The Bachelor/Bachelorette. I enjoy The Bachelor like I enjoy a large bag of popcorn at the movies, reveling in every deliciously salty, buttery bite that I know is of no nutritional value to me.

My goal is not to make an argument for or against followers of Christ watching shows like The Bachelor. Whether you are a member of #BachelorNation yourself, or if you have no interest in watching one man date multiple women at once, it is worth your attention as a parent, given that this show has captured the minds of women young and old alike since its inception in 2002.

With each episode, there is an inevitable distortion of love, sex, commitment, friendship, modestly, or morality that should merit our faithful consideration. As we watch the season finale of the The Bachelorette and the upcoming season of The Bachelor, may the Lord help you use these shows as a launching pad for meaningful gospel conversations with your daughter.

Recall the Image of God in Every Contestant

One of The Bachelor’s most enticing vices is the temptation for viewers to judge and compare themselves with other female contestants. Oh, she isn’t nearly cute enough for him; She has the BEST figure; She is way too emotional. And of course, there is always the proverbial scapegoat- the woman America loves to hate.

When we catch this criticism and comparison in both our teenagers’ and our own hearts, we have an opportunity to remind them that every single contestant is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Despite how much our flesh might enjoy the process of picking them apart, we must remember that each woman has an inherent value because they are beloved and uniquely created by the God of the universe.

Love Means Commitment

 Bachelor viewers will note how quickly each woman will claim she is in a “relationship” with the bachelor…. as he continues to date multiple women. While this is easy to criticize so far removed from the show, I can understand how easily one could be swept away by the grand romantic gestures. With dates that involve yachts, private plane rides, and copious amounts of fine food and drink, who wouldn’t feel like they were living a fairy tale?

In the face of this artificial love, parents have an opportunity to ask their daughters what a real relationship looks like. Just as God set forth from the beginning of creation, a romantic relationship is made to be enjoyed between one male and one female. Love does not look like a steamy make-out session on a boat with one woman one day and then naked skydiving with another the next (yes, that happened). While love certainly does not mean the absence of romance, it also means commitment, “bearing one another’s burdens” and becoming involved in the messy and vulnerable parts of another person’s life—just as Jesus did when he took on flesh for us.

As The Bachelor is absent of any semblance of a commitment in a relationship, parents have an opportunity to contrast it with real love as seen in the person of Jesus.

Sex Belongs in a Covenant

Perhaps The Bachelor’s most morally bankrupt moment each season comes with the arrival of the infamous “Fantasy Suite” episode. The fantasy suite implies that before a couple gets engaged, it is crucial they have a sexual relationship first. In this episode, the bachelor is given a chance to spend a night alone individually with the final three contestants for the first time… off camera.

Again, it can be easy to become swept up in the, well, fantasy of it all: the lush bedrooms, the flirtatious conversation, and the evident physical attraction between each “couple.” Unfortunately, this is the cultural lie most of our students live in— that sex is nothing more than a casual and fun way to “get to know” someone; a normal, even necessary, part a dating relationship.

Knowing your daughter is exposed to such lies allows you, the parent, to speak directly into the truth of what godly intimacy looks like. Observe with her the emotional damage that is sure to come from giving completely of oneself outside the confines of the covenant of marriage, as well as the danger of using someone else solely to fulfill a sexual desire.

God Always Chooses You

Inevitably, The Bachelor ends in heartbreak. When the bachelor proposes at the end of a season, one poor woman is left alone and rejected. It’s hard to not feel even a slight amount of empathy for the woman left without a fiancée… despite how much we might have been rooting against her.

Watching The Bachelor reminds us of times we ourselves have felt rejected, especially romantically. We hear ourselves through the tears of the woman who just doesn’t get why he didn’t choose me. In these moments, remind your daughter that she belongs to a God who will never reject her. We can rejoice that she has been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world—before she even had a chance to prove her loveliness or desirability (Ephesians 1:4).

Perhaps we Bachelor-loyals are drawn to the franchise because we all have a longing deep within us to be chosen, loved, and valued. While your daughter might live vicariously through a fake romance week to week, may she be encouraged to cast her gaze upward at a God who always choses her, delights in her, and values her to the point of giving up his life for her. Thanks be to God that he uses broken vessels—Bachelor franchise included—to help her do just that.

Questions to ask if the Bachelor comes up:

  • Why do you think we are so easily drawn to shows like the Bachelor? What does that tell us about our sinful nature?
  • Why is it wrong to tell multiple women at once that you are in love with them? What do you think that does to their hearts?
  • Think about what the Bible teaches about sex. How is this different from what we see on The Bachelor?
About The Author

Rebecca serves as the Associate Director of Young Adult Ministries at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, as well as the Ministry Development Coordinator for Rooted. She is a graduate of Furman University and recently completed her Master’s in Theology at Beeson Divinity School. As a former youth minister, she is passionate about teens knowing and loving Jesus. She is happiest on a porch swing, in a boat, or on the dance floor.

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