I’m glad I didn’t meet my husband on the Bachelor. Not that the show would have allowed me on anyway: I don’t drink, I don’t like to fly, and I’d make terrible TV.

Don’t get me wrong. Some relationships actually do work out – take Sean and Catherine Lowe. Not only do they have an adorable little family now, but they got several free trips in the process.

But besides all that, I’m still glad I didn’t meet my husband on the Bachelor and here’s why:

  1. We worked out hard problems before getting engaged and married.

You know, like learning to work through issues and meet the in-laws and realize you both have a completely different communication style but you’re willing to work through that anyway.

During our pre-marital sessions, our counselor actually asked us – with a worried face – if we knew how differently we communicated based on the results of an extensive test we took. We both just laughed because we sure did!

Relationships and marriage will never be easy, they take work, but it’s good to know what you’re getting into before hand. Being prepared and ready to face obstacles together is half the battle, something I unfortunately feel Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants miss out on.

They don’t have to work through every day problems. Literally everything is taken care of for them. They don’t have to meet friends, learn to adjust their schedule for this person, or hang out with family members (for more than 10 minutes) who may not like them.

Instead they get to pretend that they planned a date where a helicopter drops them off on a private yacht in the middle of the Caribbean. I feel like real life must be a rude awakening, which is probably why sadly few of these relationships work out.

  1. I didn’t have to compete with 20 other women to “get the guy.”

My husband is attractive and funny and friendly and no way I could deal with other women trying to throw themselves at him.

Hint: You know you’re on a reality dating show when you high-five your best friend for going on a date with your boyfriend.

Ever season I am speechless when I see contestants super excited that their friend got a romantic date with the same guy they are dating!! Now if there was a million million dollar prize at the end, okay, I’d compete. But for a guy I didn’t even know? No, way Jose.

  1. We dated longer than six weeks.Some people can meet and marry in even less time than that but that is just not the way my personality works. See reason #1.

I believe under extreme circumstances (for instance being stranded on a deserted island) you can forge tight bonds and relationships. But in a mansion where you only get a few minutes a week with someone and are expected to become engaged after six weeks? Sure you might get a $200,000 ring if you do but you also have to stay together several years to keep aforementioned ring. Otherwise, Neil Lane comes a knockin’ to take it back!

  1. He had to pursue me, not the other way around.

Sure, there are some women out there who may disagree with me on this, but I still love chivalry and being courted and all that jazz. And my husband was darn good at it, too. I did not have to throw myself on him at a pool party with 20 other women to get him to notice me. Instead, he would send cupcakes with notes to my office, plan dates he could afford instead of ABC footing the bill, and write me sweet notes.

  1. Lastly, our relationship was built on authenticity.He saw me without makeup, hair extensions and fancy gowns – or in other words – real life. And he STILL wanted to marry me. That’s love.

Instead of meeting outside a mansion, we met in his office at work. I had a meeting with his boss, who was late, so we chatted in the front office while I waited. Not only chatted but he took down my number (convenient) to tell me he would give me a call if his boss came back in time and handed me his card (smart) in case I needed to contact the office.

Nor did my husband and I didn’t fall in love going to exotic islands. In fact, we did next to no traveling together before marriage due to our tradition views.

Instead we fell in love eating at Mexican restaurants, exploring the D.C. Monuments, and ice-skating.

And he didn’t propose on a private island with 30 cameras surrounding us; it was just the two of us on a dock overlooking the Potomac River following an amazing dinner.

And I wouldn’t trade any of it, not even for helicopter rides, swimming with dolphins and a $200,000 ring.

Sarah Althouse

Sarah is a Buffalo transplant living in Washington, D.C. with her husband Josh and cat Squeakers. By day she work as a Communications Director for a Member of Congress; by night she dreams of being Martha Stewart. She also loves pigs, peonies, politics and peanut butter. Follow her at http://prettysimpleideas.com/