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Depicted TV romance sours real relationships

Wed, 02 Jan 2013 - 1:45 PM CST

A new study has found that the more a person believes in television depictions of romance, the less likely that individual is to be committed to a real marital relationship.

"People who believe the unrealistic portrayals on TV are actually less committed to their spouses and think their alternatives to their spouse are relatively attractive," says researcher Jeremy L. Osborn of Albion (Michigan) College.

Osborn found that the more a viewer watches skewed representations of TV romance, the more he or she counts the "costs" of a real relationship in terms of losing freedom or focusing on a partner's unattractive qualities. Osborn followed 392 married couples and their reaction to romances in shows such as True Blood, The Bachelor and Two and a Half Men.

The study, published in Mass Communication and Society, suggests that TV typically shows people happily moving from relationship to relationship, with a seemingly endless supply of attractive partners. Further troubling to Osborn is the finding that most viewers don't realize such messages increases their dissatisfaction with their own spouse. Osborn warns that marriage in real life doesn't work like televised relationships.

"As Christians, it is our duty to protect the sanctity of the marital vow and the importance of marriage as a lifelong commitment," Osborn says. "Our marriages should be modeled after the relationship between Christ and His bride - the Church."

Osborn also urges Christians to look to the Bible as a guide for expectations rather than the small screen.

"Our love should be patient and unconditional," Osborn says. "That's not what we see on TV."

Author: Pentecostal Evangel

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