One of the romance novel’s best-loved themes is a marriage of convenience. Of course, in a romance novel, the marriage plays a part in bringing an unlikely couple together and the reader can be assured of the happily ever after. I have played with this theme twice now, in my western historical, TAME THE WILD WIND (currently out of print but soon-to-be-re-released!) and my Regency historical, HOW TO MARRY A ROGUE. In both stories, the heroine needs the marriage to save her from a sticky situation, and the obliging hero is always a confirmed bachelor who doesn’t think it’s a good idea.
MARRIED AT FIRST SIGHT, the new FYI channel’s show, just finished its second season with three couples who met at the altar. I was fascinated with the premise of this show, and watched every episode of season one, delighting when Jamie fell in love with Doug and cheering when Jason and Courtney realized they were meant to be. In the second season, two out of the three couples barely seemed to make it past their six weeks’ “experiment.” The third couple was doomed from the start.
While MAFS deals with not marriages of convenience but arranged ones, I realize the reason I love this show is because we get to watch the couples get to know each other, for better or for worse, and watch a relationship grow from strangers to (hopefully) a couple who truly loves each other. I like this particular trope because, just like the TV couples, the fictional hero and heroine also have to find a common ground and decide to stay together or not. Of course, being a romance novel, the answer is always to seek that happy ending.
There’s something about a wedding that makes two individuals grow into one unit. I was surprised on my own wedding day how much I felt that my husband and I were now a “real” family, even though we lived together for two years, owned a house, made a big move across the country, and shared finances already. Before our wedding, it felt like there was nothing “holding” us together. The wedding seemed to do that.
So, here’s to more weddings, marriages of convenience or not. And marriage, especially, for any couple who wants it. Weddings make individuals into families, and that should be the happily ever after for everyone.