Last week I was contacted by a casting director for ABC’s Wife Swap. This was the email that I received:
Hi! I’m a Producer for ABC and we’re looking for families with good christian values for one of our shows! I came across your blog and wanted to see if it’s something you and your family might be interested in. You can contact me directly at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
I immediately googled her name and found that she is a real person who really does work for ABC and that she has worked on other “big name” productions.
Since she had supplied her phone number in the email, I decided to go ahead and give her a call. I have worked in some aspect of customer service my whole life, so being at ease talking to complete strangers is easy for me. Knowing that we are definitely a family with “strong Christian values”, I was very interested in what she had to say. She answered within a few rings, and we were off to a running start.
Since we don’t subscribe to cable television, I had to inform her that I had never seen Wife Swap before. (Here is a youtube playlist of one episode that I put together.) However, I have heard about it. I have seen small clips while at friends and family. My take on the little I had seen was that the premise was to throw two completely opposite families together and to basically make everybody look like stark-raving idiots. Sounds like fun to me—if I was on the watching end.
But it still interested me. I am a people-studier. It fascinates me to watch how people react in real-life situations. You never know what you will do until you are in that situation. And it’s even harder to guess what someone else is going to do. Also, I have an amazing testimony. How many other people get to share their testimony of deliverance with America? Not to mention America would see my sweet children and how amazing they are—how well-disciplined they are and how polite and so, so loving. They did not get that way by accident! I am careful with my family and with my marriage.
We spent thirty minutes acquainting ourselves with each other and exploring my family’s “strong Christian values.” We also discussed how the show had changed. It had been off the air for a year and now had a new director that could hopefully revive the show in a better light.
“Carla” talked about how the casting would progress. A camera crew would come spend a day with us and film us. The footage would then go back to the director and his crew and they would decide if we would be the selected family. If our family made it onto the show, the actual filming could take 7 days but would probably only be for around 4 or 5 days. My family would receive a check for $10,000 directly from ABC for our participation if we were selected to be on the show. And that’s it. Sounds like an easy ten Gs to me.
But that’s her job. Her job is to make it sound harmless, to sell me on the idea of allowing a stranger into our home and of putting myself as a stranger in someone else’s home. Most of the bad decisions I have made in life sounded harmless enough at the time. Eve, I feel your pain, girl!
Immediately, a bullet list of items popped into my mind about why we SHOULD NOT participate. Without speaking with him, I already knew that my husband would not be willing to participate. In addition, we are also one of those rare families who still believe that our pastor is our shepherd and that we should talk with him about any life-impacting decision. I also knew that he would counsel us that this would not be in our best interest. He would never tell us, “You can’t do that” but rather “You shouldn’t do that.” So here is my bullet list.
Here are my reasons why I turned down Wife Swap and $10,000:
- We are to abstain from all appearances of evil. Even though the show was willing to put me up in a hotel at night and to put “the other woman” up in a hotel at night, allowing another woman into your home to fill your shoes, regardless of the intent, is never a good idea. I trust my husband. But he is a minister and I can not do anything that would jeapordize his ministry. People would have had a field day with this!
- Wouldn’t you have thought it hypocritical of me to say, “We don’t watch cable TV, but we participated in a TV show once. For a week. For $10,000.”
- We are careful as to who and what we allow into our home. Why in the world would I let them be around complete strangers? It wouldn’t just be limited to one stranger. There would be a total of three strangers: the woman, the camera man, and the sound man. And I wouldn’t be there to shield them from any smoking, cussing, or crude behavior. My ten year old son is able to handle it. When we’re at functions, he knows it is wrong but he also knows he is not supposed to bring it up. Just get through the function and have a good time. But my Sweet Gigi (5)—she is her own camera and sound crew. She sees and hears everything. She’s not ready for the world in all of its so-called glory just yet. I’m 35, and I’m still not ready, lol.
- I expressed my concern to “Carla” that I feel they would edit the show down to only show clips that make me look like an idiot. She said, “Well, just don’t say anything stupid, and there won’t be any footage to use.” But that’s just the thing—I will say something stupid. I know my weaknesses. I don’t keep sweets in the house, and I don’t do well with keeping my opinion to myself, especially if asked. I am NOT stupid, but I AM very firm in my beliefs, whether it be my views on homeschooling, housekeeping, or homosexuality, I will let you know how I feel about those issues and WHY I feel the way that I do. I am able to do it calmly after much practice : ) but let’s just say that I would make great TV, lol.
- We are temporarily living on church property in our RV. I have to think about ramifications that appearing on this show could have on my church.
- I would not want to cause discord in another home. What if the other family really liked me and wished their mom/wife could be like me? Hey, it could happen : ) My family happens to think I’m pretty terrific.
- My children love me. They don’t want to be away from me. We are a very close family. While, again, my son would understand, Sweet Gigi wouldn’t.
- My husband not only loves me, but he adores me. And, yes, he completes me : ) He inspires me. He breathes life into me. Even after 13 years, my husband makes my heart go all pitter-patter. He still makes me blush and get that overflowing sensation that starts in my stomach and ends up as kiss on his sweet lips. My dancing partner. My hand holder. My husband.
But don’t think that the devil wasn’t working on me. He knows what to do. He ain’t no chump. The night before, our church had a missionary come to visit. At the end of service, he made a call to action. He said, “If you’re not afraid to share your testimony and you need a blessing in a special situation in your life, come to the front.” So I went to the front. Even though our life is great, we still have needs. We still have special situations. We are still a family of four living on $2400 a month. Don’t think that the devil wasn’t trying to convince me that this was an answer to prayer. Because he most definitely was. When I hung up the phone with “Carla”, I told her these words, “This is either God answering a prayer, or it’s the devil making me think He is.” I already knew the answer. I didn’t need to talk to anyone. Be still and know.
So by the time my husband got home, I couldn’t wait to talk to him just so we could get past the “No” and into the discussion. I love to discuss life with my husband. He is so wise. And I was right. His answer was immediately, unchangeably “No.” He called the pastor anyway, because he knows that it can be hard to dissuade me if it’s something that I really want. It is quite a journey to accept “No” without asking “Why?!!!” I will always want to know “Why?!!” but I am so much more accepting of “No” at this point in my life, thankfully.
My husband and my pastor love me and our family. They would never want to keep any good thing from me, nor would they want me to be involved in anything that would be detrimental. There is such a peace in having good and loving leadership in your life.
“Carla” called me back the next day to see what my decision was. I let her know that we were not going to be participating and she was disappointed. As well she should have been—I would have made for some great TV, lol. I thanked her for the opportunity and we talked for a bit longer. It truly was an opportunity of a lifetime—just not for my life. I was glad that of all the blogs that she had perused that she saw something genuine in mine, that she recognized us to be a family with “strong Christian values.” If nothing else, I was able to share my testimony with her. She may not be “America”, but I hope that she was impacted by the awesome things God has done for me and my family. I am not ashamed to give my testimony. But I am wise enough to realize that ABC wasn’t after my testimony—they were after ratings.
And as for the $10,000—well, my God is the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills. He doesn’t need Hollywood to provide for me. He does a great job all on His own!