Getting Married at First Sight is one thing — forming a lasting partnership is another. On the FYI series’ Tuesday, January 26, episode, as the three couples completed their first month of marriage, the reality of what it means when two become one was starting to settle in, causing some of the newlyweds to freak out.
Neil and Sam Still Living Apart, Struggling With Intimacy
Though Neil Bowlus remained firm that he wanted to find a place to share with Sam Role, he was making little progress nudging his bride toward a house hunt. In fact, Sam sounded less interested than ever in building a life with Neil, even going so far as to complain to her mother that he is “passive-aggressive.”
When spiritual advisor Greg Epstein assigned Neil and Sam an intimacy exercise that involved touching their knees and hands while looking into each other’s eyes for a minute straight, Sam turned the whole thing into a joke, which Neil didn’t find very funny.
“It hurts my feelings that … Sam is making faces and making light of the situation,” he explained to the camera.” I need someone who is going to take me seriously.” Grasping at straws, Epstein urged them to bond over something easy, such as a Jewish meal in honor of Sam’s heritage. They agreed without argument, which, in itself, was a small victory.
When they actually made the meal, however, the victory went from small to big. Somewhere between frying latkes and rolling matzo balls, Sam’s guard went down, and she shared a touching (though heartbreaking) story about her regrets concerning her late grandmother.
“She started to deteriorate, and then the day that I went and saw her, there are things that I never got to say to her that I always wish I could have said, but it was too late. It was too late,” Sam said through tears. “I am telling you that as much as you think you don’t need to say certain things or you don’t need to express certain things because you’re going to be able to have that time, it’s not true.” Neil seemed to be equally touched by what Sam was saying and the fact that she was willing to say it to him.
“I feel myself growing closer,” she mused to the cameras. “I feel we actually are a unit now.” That’s pretty much a 180 from where she was when their knees were pressed together, and she was laughing in his face.
David Finally Reaches His Breaking Point With Ashley
It turned out that even the perennially chipper David Norton has a breaking point. For him, that point was the moment that clinical psychologist Joseph Cilona told him that his new wife, Ashley Doherty, was not attracted to him. According to David, the message itself wasn’t the problem; the messenger was.
“I’m more hurt that I find out from someone else,” he lamented to Ashley, who argued that she hadn’t wanted to hurt his feelings. So “you had someone else do it!” David snapped back. Ashley continued her usual repertoire of excuses, including that this is a weird situation and that she always moves slowly no matter what. David was pretty sick of listening.
“I didn’t sign up for Best Friends at First Sight,” he said. “That’s not what I wanted. I wanted a wife.”
Things only got worse when they attempted Epstein’s intimacy assignment, which required each of them to state three things they admired about the other — and Ashley couldn’t do it. (Dig deep, girl!) Seeing little progress with the assignment, he suggested they each write something about how they were feeling to share with the other. After separating for some time to think, Ashley returned with one sentence.
“I want myself to want to keep trying to work on our challenges, but I am exhausted,” she read. “That’s it?” David asked, clearly annoyed. Ashley asked him what he’d expected, and he was ready with his answer.
“I expected that someone who went into this would have known, ‘Hey, I’m marrying a complete stranger, and yeah, this is going to be weird’ but have been willing to face this head on.” At that point, Ashley broke down in tears, and David asked her if she was just waiting for the clock to wind down on their marriage.
“I can’t answer that right now, but I can say that I feel like things are stacked up against us,” she admitted.
Tres and Vanessa Continue Their Reign as the Perfect Couple
But it wasn’t all gloom and doom. Tres Russell and Vanessa Nelson continued to look every part the perfect couple as they enjoyed a series of relationship-building activities, which included taking Vanessa’s dog, Nola, for some (much needed) training, took a painting class and cooked dinner. To be completely accurate, Tres cooked dinner, and it was a taco salad, and Vanessa didn’t like it very much — but she did like the sweet gesture of her husband preparing a meal for her just the same.
Other highlights included Tres revealing to Epstein that he prays on the regular for God to bless their marriage, and Vanessa declaring, “I feel like we are finally a real married couple.” ICYMI, “finally” equals one month. The experts hit it out of the park with this match … so far, anyway.
David and Ashley Finally Bond — Over Their Terrible Wedding Pics
In traditional context, agreeing with your spouse about how awful your wedding pictures are might not be considered a positive experience — but for these two, it was huge. After many serious talks and intense fights, David and Ashley finally found something to laugh at: themselves. Though Ashley looked beautiful, many of the shots captured the nerves, anxiety and even fear that she was feeling then (and has continued to feel for the month since). Still, David was focusing on the silver lining. “It’s just nice to share some laughs with my wife,” he mused.
They furthered their attempt at finding the fun in their marriage by playing a game of kickball with David’s team. Ashley, who enjoys being active, was much more comfortable running the bases than she has ever been seated on the sofa with David, and as she loosened up, his optimism returned. “It gives me hope and optimism for the future,” he explained, while Ashley said she thought the secret to their success might lie in not overthinking things.
Tell Us: Do you think there’s hope for David and Ashley?
Married at First Sight, produced by Kinetic Content, airs on FYI on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST.