Tonight is the night that the couples of Married at First Sight publicly declare whether or not they’ll stay together or get a divorce. It’s the climactic point of the season, as the four couples reach the end of their eight weeks of trying to make marriage to a complete stranger work.
In the second part of our chat, going into the Decision Day episode, Married at First Sight relationship expert, author and marriage coach Pastor Cal has high hopes for at least two controversial couples in Season 9. One of those couples is the pairing of Jamie Thompson and Elizabeth Bice. From the beginning, he and the other experts felt that Jamie and Elizabeth were passionate people on their own, and that passion could work to their benefit in a marriage if they wield it correctly. So far, they haven’t.
“They both could take it and they were what each other wants, so if they just follow the rules and learn to forgo the passion and deal with the emotions, that passion can actually propel them forward where they can have an incredible relationship,” he shared over the phone. “What you’re seeing is the negative passion coming out, but there’s also a positive side to their passion. If they can hone that, they’re going to be an incredible couple.”
He also is hopeful for Keith Manley and Iris Caldwell. When asked what the draw was to select a participant who was a virgin for such a complicated process, Pastor Cal said she actually came off “overwhelmingly mature” in the interview process — and yes, sexually mature at that. The experts felt she at least had a good understanding of her sexuality due to the fact that she informed them that she had done just about everything but actual intercourse. However, he admits that she doesn’t come off as experienced and adult as she could when it comes to such matters on camera.
In her defense, I told Pastor Cal that Iris claimed that she and Keith had agreed to not talk about certain sexual things on the show since they work with kids. The decision to do so made little sense to him.
“That wasn’t an agreement that we knew about or encouraged,” he said. “Why would a young person be watching the show? They should be in bed by 8:30 [laughs].”
But in all seriousness, Pastor Cal said they chose Keith for Iris because they believed he could be the patient and understanding person someone like her would need, and he feels Keith has been that. He also feels Keith may not have been as romantic as Iris wanted him to be in their marriage because he didn’t want to feel like he was pressuring her if she continued to not be ready.
“It’s difficult for him,” he said. “She’s a beautiful woman. I’ve asked him, ‘Are you attracted to her?’ and he says, ‘Of course!’ But the thing is, it’s difficult for someone who you know is not only a virgin but is also a virgin because of her spiritual beliefs and because of the sanctity of sex, as she puts it. For him to come on to her, his thing is he doesn’t want to make her uncomfortable. It’s a catch-22 situation.”
Overall, Pastor Cal thinks both parties need to let each other know they’re desired. Keith needs to move, albeit in baby steps, to let Iris know that whenever she’s ready, he will be too. He also thinks Iris could stand to do things that let Keith know she finds him attractive, and that there is a chance in the future that they could go all of the way.
He has hope for Keith and Iris, but over eight seasons, we’ve seen couples everyone has rooted for not make it. As for past couples on the show, I asked Pastor Cal if there was anyone who didn’t work out that he was very disappointed about, and he mentioned Danielle and Cody from Season 5 in Chicago, and Amber and Dave from Season 7 in Dallas. However, at the top of his list was Jasmine and Will from Season 8 in Philadelphia. That was certainly not a surprise.
“With Will and Jasmine, I think he missed out. There were people who said maybe her expectations were unrealistic, but I believe also that she was willing to be flexible. She was willing to be worked with,” he said. “I do believe that Jasmine really could have helped him to become the person that he wanted to be. She was willing to do that in spite of the fact that he wasn’t always open and intimate and sexual with her.”
As for the couple he regrets matching? For sure, Kate and Luke from Season 8. Pastor Cal said Luke gave the experts the impression that he was open when it came to the type of woman he could be matched with, but in fact, he wasn’t.
“I don’t think Luke was ready because he was a lot more particular about the kind of woman he wanted than he led on.”
And while we won’t know until tonight if toxic pair Matthew Gwynne and Amber Bowles stay together, Pastor Cal would add them to his list of regrettable matches.
“I wish that they could pull through, but I just wish that he had been more upfront and more ready for this,” he said.
He does wish Amber luck in whatever decision she makes, whether she continues to put up with Matt’s emotional abuse or opts to find another fish in the sea, because she deserves true happiness. Interesting enough though, fans of the show have remarked online that Amber would actually be a great fit with her best friend, a guy named Raven who has appeared on the series to provide her with support (and tea). Pastor Cal has noticed, but says if the two wanted to take things to the next level, they would have done so by now. He even inquired about it early on in the interview process.
“They’ve been friend-zoned forever,” he said. “They are better as friends and I think sometimes that’s just the way it is. You meet somebody who serves a greater purpose in your life as a friend than they do as a romantic partner and that’s where they are.”