Why I Turned Down TV and $10,000

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!

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20 thoughts on “Why I Turned Down TV and $10,000

  1. I think you made the right decision for your family and all your bullet list showes it. Those shows are crazy and there is no telling what kind of person would have been sent to your house trying to influence your family to their beliefs. It’s nice to see that not everyone allows money to be the root of all evil.

  2. All I can say is “Amen, Amen and Amen.” Firm, faithful and family-oriented…good character traits to have in your life. “…for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
    May God continue to bless your faithfulness to His promises and your commitment to teach the same to your family.
    In His Love,
    Pam :~)

    • I agree with all of your reasons. I HAVE seen those swapping shows, and must agree with you again! 🙂 I also KNOW that Carla will remember you as “the one that got away.” I’m quite sure she would have loved having you on, and that you would have actually done good for her show, portraying someone normal that they don’t often get to see on the show. Bless you for listening and following as the Spirit led. 😀 ~Joanna

  3. Bravo! When they edit footage, they can cut and splice to make ANYTHING look or sound stupid, especially if it’s not something that jives with Hollywood beliefs. You would be opening yourself and your family up to attacks (think nasty comments and attacks on your blog, etc.). It would be more stress and heartache than it’s worth. Good for you!
    God bless you and your family!

  4. I didn’t even know there was a show called “Wife Swapping”! We have a T.V., but it’s just hooked up to a dvd/vcr, not an antennae. I am glad that you turned this down. As stated, we are to abstain from appearance of evil, and if you were to do this, how many people would know where who stayed? With your family’s ministry, you would not need the heartache this could cause. Also, you are right to not allow others that much access to your family!
    On a lighter note, I am looking forward to meeting y’all Thursday!

  5. I don’t think I could ever do that show after watching what it did to that pastor from Colorado and his wife. They stuck her with someone that was an occult follower, and then edited it so it looked like the beliefs were equivalent. That’d be enough for me not to go on that show.

  6. I have seen the show and I have to say, not only would they have portrayed you in a foolish light, they most likely would have put you in a family that was a same-sex marriage because that is obviously against your beliefs (as it should be). Don’t think for a second that “Carla” didn’t thoroughly study your blog and fb page to get a grasp of what is truly important to you and, for their ratings, they would have put you into a home where they were absolutely against everything you believe to be good and holy and godly and then they would have broadcast snippets for the world making you look bad, hence your husband, church, and fellow Christians. It’s her job to do that. I am so glad you took a stand and said no. $10,000 is a lot of money but God will bless you in so many other ways. It’s good to know He never contradicts Himself!

  7. I don’t think the “hypocrisy” would have bothered me. The other stuff, though, you’re spot on about. That show is nothing but trouble, I think probably for anybody who would do it. Maybe it would be a witnessing opportunity for some, but personally, I’d steer clear of anything that put me in another woman’s home and at the mercy of TV editors. They are very, very good at snipping that celluloid in whatever way suits their purposes. Entertainment isn’t a great way to share the gospel, anyway. $10,000 is just enough money to make it look kinda nice, but not quite enough to push me to the edge of my sanity and make me say ‘yes’ to such a thing!

  8. WOW!!!! I always knew from the first day I met you that you were a very unique and incredible person!!!! The longer I know you, the more I see you grow in your faith. You always fill my heart with joy. I always look forward to your welcoming comments and opinions. I almost already know what you are gonna say before you say it, I love you for that, even though we have been a very small part of each others lives, I want you to know that you have impacted mine in many ways, though I may not express them out loud to you!!! I love you Mellie and I am so glad god put you in my life. I think if you did take part in the show, they would have ended up kicking you off, because of the WHYS!!!!!! (I can picture several people pulling their hair out.) Love you, Stephanie

  9. Pingback: Raising My Children God’s Way «

  10. I have to admit, I have seen the show (I no longer watch it now.) I am certain, that they would pick the most anti-values match up humanly possible. (If you could have an opinion against it, they would probably be living that way.) The whole point of the show seems to be sort of a reality show twist on the Odd Couple (very old tv show/movie depicting two very opposite personalities living together.. slob/neat nick). Then they would somehow create drama and make even a very reasonable person look foolish (careful editing probably helps that) and make even the most ridiculous lifestyle choices look reasonable. Finally, everyone would either sit down and be very upset with each other or both sides would walk away appreciating each other. Follow-up would show how things have changed in either family (or stayed the same.)

    You and your spouse have made an excellent decision to keep your family out of this mess. If you wouldn’t invite cable television into your home, you probably would not invite the values portrayed in it. Also, remember Psalm 101:3 , 1 Corinthians 15:33, Ephesians 5:11, Philippians 4:8. ( I am ashamed to say, that I don’t normally run around quoting scripture, but these verses came to mind.)

  11. Pingback: Why I Would Never Be On Wife Swap « MInTheGap

  12. Loved your list…well thought out. loved the protection of having a husband and a pastor after Gods heart. Can’t go wrong with that. I also was contacted about the program via email. It never progressed to a phone conversation…because I don’t enjoy speaking to strangers on the phone…just ask my better half, he calls me a phonophobe 😀 In he end I decided all the good the enemy was telling me that showing the world that there is another option of how to live was a fantasy, it would be more akin to casting my pearl before swine after all the editing was accomplished….because yeah if you ask me what i think. I’ll tell you! I’m sure more damage than good would have been done.

  13. I found your blog via your comment on the wife swap page! So cool! There was a lot of wisdom in what you had to say! I always disliked that show for the simple fact that they make people (especially Christians) look foolish. Good for you for saying no! =)

  14. wow! that is some testimony. You definitely made the right choice. I can’t imagine how they would’ve portrayed you. Well, actually, I can. So nice reading about how you value your husband’s opinion. Very refreshing. 🙂

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