What’s Love Got to Do With It? Part 1

New FOX Game Show Raises Questions About the State of American Unions


FEB. 16, 2000 — Who said you can’t buy love? Like never before in American popular culture, FOX’s bizarre mix of game show and pageant, “Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire?”, said irrevocably — yes, you can — on Tuesday night.


Fifty women competed before a nationally televised audience for immediate marriage to a mystery multimillionaire. The women were whittled down over the two-hour show according to the man’s specifications. At the end of the show, the multimillionaire legally married his selection. The two had never stood face-to-face before the man’s on-air proposal.


Was the show merely a ploy for greater television ratings or also a sign of the steady erosion of the traditional path to marriage?


“I think it is just great,” Ginie Sayles says, author of “How to Marry the Rich” and “How to Meet the Rich: For Business, Friendship, or Romance”. “I think if any multimillionaire man or woman is saying it is fine, then it is OK with me. If it gives them joy, that’s the whole point.”


Dr. Les Parrott, co-director of the Center for Relationship Development at Seattle Pacific University, disagrees. He explains the show as “one indication of how frustrated people are with the whole enterprise of marriage. They have seen so many examples of how it can go wrong.” In fact, Parrott says, research indicates that Americans who have grown up in a home with both biological parents are now in the minority.


“To me this is a prime example of marrying for all the wrong reasons,” Parrott says. “I talk to couples about how to know when they are ready for marriage or not. If money is your prime motivator, you are definitely not ready for marriage.”


Sayles, who gives lectures on marrying the rich in cities all over the United States and Canada, believes people get married for a lot of reasons that aren’t love, such as loneliness, sex, fame and arrangement. Money is no different.


“For some, the perfect mate is rich,” Sayles says. “People will say that is shallow. I think it is equally shallow how men go for women for their looks. Would this multimillionaire go for a 300-pound woman? Are there any 70-year-old women in the pageant?


“I don’t judge people for their reasons. I say to them, ‘What is your goal?’” And what does Sayles say if love is their answer? “Go ahead and marry for love the first time. If it works, you beat the odds. If not, I’ll talk to you later.”


“There is nothing wrong with aspiring to a certain kind of lifestyle,” Parrott says. “But there is a deeper level to life. There is a spiritual level, an emotional level, a cerebral level. To neglect all of that for money is a problem.”


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