Spin-off reality show follows-up on Married at First Sight couples

Married at First Sight premieres a spin-off following the life and journey of four individuals who decide to stay together as married couples after marrying each other in a televised social experiment.

Words by Imagine TV Network

Based on hit Danish reality show of the same name, Married at First Sight puts six individuals in New York City through blind arranged marriages. The three couples will only see each other on their wedding day, when they get married.

Matched by experts and influenced in part by the individuals' preferences, the three legally married couples then decide if they will continue on with their married life or get a divorce.

Image credit: Lifetime

Married at First Sight: The First Year is a spin-off from the controversial social experiment and follows two couples who opted to stay together. The reality series begins six months after the couples' marriage and documents the many 'firsts' they have as a married couple.

Doug Hehner, a commercial sales representative, and Jamie Otis, a labor and delivery nurse, are one of the featured couples and they share candidly about their completely different reactions when they first laid eyes on each other.

"When I saw Jamie, I could not take my eyes off her. I couldn't get that corny smile off my face... The rest of it was kind of a blur," Hehner recalls. Though he was smitten with Jamie, he soon realized that the eyes streaming down his bride's face were not happy tears.

"You're marrying a stranger," she says. "I was overwhelmed and I was so scared. I was not immediately attracted to him." She shares that initially, the contestants on the reality show did not know they had to marry a stranger. "They told us it was a dating [show], a new experiment."

She confesses that she had a history of 'disaster dating' and says the show was what she needed. The draw for her to participate was in knowing that there were going to be experts on the show and she would be receiving guidance.

During the final casting, she was told she would have to trust the experts and marry the person they picked for her. She was still on the fence then, she says, but when she watched the Danish version of the show and saw how two out of the three couples chose to stay together after filming ended, she was sold.

Image credit: Lifetime

Hehner shares that all of his past relationships have been built on him having a good vibe or feeling towards the person but in the reality show, Otis and him were relying on their own opinions about what they wanted or were attracted to.

"It was an opportunity I would have regretted if I did not go with it," he reminiscences. "Some people call us brave but I think it was borderline brave and crazy to do the experiment."

Otis calls the wedding reception "a miserable time" but despite the teary start, she says they spent the first night talking to each other. "When the cameras were gone and we were just laying in bed, I asked him not to creep on my side of the bed and he respected that."

That night was the beginning of their friendship and their love story, she adds.

Even though one other couple did not end up staying together, she is affirmative that their journeys allowed people to understand more about dating and relationships. She, for one, began filming without knowing much about what she wanted in or from a relationship.

Looking back, she says she learnt to be more open and less judgmental. "The whole world knew Doug was a phenomenal person before I knew."

When asked what viewers can expect to see them grapple with in the spin-off season, she reveals that they decided to move to New Jersey to be closer to family and shares that though she wants a baby, Hehner is more inclined to wait. "I didn't say 'wait'," he clarifies immediately. "I said we should get a lot of practice before."

He explains that it is their first year together after the intense experiment and says, "Now we're working on our marriage instead of seeing whether or not we were going to stay married or get a divorce."

Married at First Sight: The First Year premieres 16 February 2015 on Lifetime Asia (Starhub TV Channel 514) at 9pm. 



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