I stumbled on "The Moment of Truth" show on Fox TV back in April before I received a call in May from one of their casting directors in South Florida. Back to the show ... morbid curiosity took over as I watched contestants compete to tell the "truth" for the grand price of $500,000 based on previous polygraphed questions. If their response elicited "That answer is FALSE" - they lost all the money won. The contestants seem to be regular folks, single, married, working class, stay at home moms (SAHM) and upstanding citizens. The juiciest bits come from married contestants who answer to intimate details of their lives. I wondered why they are willing to destroy their families on national TV.
The call from the South Florida casting director was a surprise to me. They googled my marriage preparation classes site and contacted me about announcing their casting in Miami. They were looking for young engaged or married couples to go on the show. The director was polite and I of course said I'd review their emailed information. As I watched episodes afterwards, I could not in good conscience recommend the show to my couples. Telling the "Truth" has a limit - even for Christians. The medical motto "Do No Harm" applies to the mental health field and my legal and ethics class drummed it into our heads. The show relies on "Truth" for ratings based on how much pain the contestant drags their loved ones through sordid disclosures. Contestants admit affairs, job violations (EMT falsified reports), lying to the government, arson, robbery, perversion, and revelations of resentment to unsuspecting family members. Recommending the show to young couples would do more harm than build their young relationships.
Classic advice given to folks admitting a sexual affair is to tell the truth to the wronged spouse without expounding on the details on frequency, locations, positions etc. The wronged spouse might demand details but it does not benefit either of you - it prolongs the pain and gives them a vivid image to associate with your betrayal. Michele Weiner-Davis has some incredible articles on her website on divorce busting concerning infidelity.
Spilling the beans on national TV does not make you a hero. If anything, I think "Moment of Truth" justifies its existence by making contestants seem slimy for hurting their loved ones on TV. By the time they win $100,000, the body language of the spouse or significant other often indicates rejection and shock. Some marriages end, relationships break up and contestants risk losing their jobs based on their disclosures. The show makes for good TV and bad family dynamics.
Building a healthy relationship requires honesty and truth layered in loads of love. The world does not need to know sordid details of your personal life - if anything people respect you less. Lesson here: if you are a young engaged or married couple, think carefully before jumping into the reality show biz for a bit of money to start your family. The experience might leave you with nothing including your loved one who you wanted to build a future with. If you have sordid details to disclose chose carefully who to share them with. Remember that details are best when brief and edited, timing is essential and your motivation should be to build the relationship and not just purge your sin or guilt.