A new season of Married at First Sight begins as we step into the new year. Season 10 in D.C. premieres on Wednesday, January 1, and one of the newest cast members we’ll meet looking for love is Meka Jones.
The 25-year-old, originally from Baltimore, may be relatively young by today’s standards when it comes to taking the jump into marriage, but with the help of the experts, she’s confident that she’s ready to be a wife.
“I think a lot of people would say, ‘She’s 25, she doesn’t really know,’ but I think at the end of the day, for me, being ready to be married is not an age,” she told me over the phone. The oldest of five children raised by a single mom, Jones felt she had been through enough bad dating experiences and unhealthy relationships to try something different. Not only that, she also knew that after getting her career in a place she could be proud of as a category analyst and doing the work on herself emotionally, she was ready.
“I knew I wanted to be married. I knew I wanted forever with somebody,” she said. “That’s ultimately what led me to wanting to be married at first sight.”
Check out our chat with Meka about why she’s so confident in the experts, her dating experiences in the DMV, and how she’s prepared herself to deal with possible scrutiny from those in her life — and from viewers on social media.
MadameNoire: What were your dating experiences like in the DMV area that made you feel like you wanted to go the Married at First Sight route? In your bio, it says that you struggled to find healthy relationships.
Meka Jones: So I actually was in a relationship for three years. I was with my ex and we had moved here together and we ended up not working out because he cheated on me. After that I tried the dating apps and I was trying to date that way. What ultimately led me to wanting be married at first sight was because that wasn’t working. You kind of don’t really know what people are looking for in the apps. You can spend so much time getting to know these people and they aren’t really looking for something long term or they aren’t really looking for something permanent. They may just want to casually date, and a lot of the time, you don’t figure that out until you’re already dating that person. So I think for me, I knew I wanted something more serious.
How did you know at what some would say is a young age that you were ready to be married?
I feel like you know when you’re ready for marriage. You know when you’re mature enough to be a wife and you’re ready to take on those duties. I think, really, that’s just how I felt. I knew I was in a good space in my life, I’m happy with my career, and I took a lot of time after I broke up with my ex to just find out, what makes Meka happy? What does Meka want out of life? What would the perfect relationship look like to Meka? Figuring out those things, I came to a very good understanding of who I am as a person, what I want in a husband and what I want in a man and how that looks for me. So I think that is the most important part, taking that time to really figure out what works for you and knowing that you’re ready. I knew going into it 100 percent that I was ready to be a wife.
I know you felt like through the show, you could have confidence that the men the experts pick, they’re all ready to commit as well. But there have been, even last season, men who have gone through the process, played games and then realized when it was all over and the marriage didn’t work that they weren’t as ready as they thought. How do you assure yourself going into a situation like this that this has been the best decision? You know yourself and that you feel ready, but sometimes it’s other people who realize marriage is hard, and marriage on TV is really hard, and aren’t capable of handling it.
I think for me that was a pretty big question that I had myself. Even the first time I met the experts, that was the question I asked them: “How do we know if these men are serious?” I know I’m serious and I’m ready to be married. Pastor Cal said, “We do our best, but ultimately, people do fake it through the process.” I think the reason I still wanted to be on Married at First Sight, even knowing that there’s no way to 100 percent weed those people out, was because the reward was worth the risk. I was willing to take that risk knowing there was a small possibility that I would get matched with somebody who might not have been ready for marriage.
How do you respond to people who might say that going this route is extreme or in some ways feels desperate because it plays out on television?
That’s pretty interesting because that was the response I got from my aunt. She was like, “You’re so pretty and you have so much going for yourself, you don’t have to find love this way.” I think I would just tell those people, it’s not for everybody to understand. It’s not everybody’s story. It’s something that I wanted to do. I felt that the way I was going about finding love was clearly not working. Ultimately, I trusted the experts to match me with someone who maybe I would have never thought was my type or maybe I wouldn’t have given a chance and it turns out that this is the person I’m supposed to be with. So for me, I wanted to take that risk. I don’t expect everybody to understand because everybody hasn’t been in the situation. Everybody hasn’t had the dating past that I’ve had or had the experiences I’ve had, so it’s not really for everybody to understand. I just know why I did it and I’m confident in the decision I made to be married at first sight.
What was your mother’s reaction to your decision to do the show?
Oh my mother was super excited! I was so scared to tell my mother because I thought she would judge me. I’ve seen the comments of people from past seasons and I’ve seen the types of things people say when they’re not in it, and sometimes people do say say it looks desperate. Or they’ll say, “Why do you want to go about love and marriage this way? It’s so untraditional and doesn’t make sense.” So when I told my mother, I kind of had that in my head that that might be a response. I prepared myself for if my mother was like, “No, you’re crazy! I’m not supporting this. I’m not coming to the wedding. I don’t want anything to do with this.” But it turns out that she was just so excited. She was like, “I just feel like you’re the perfect person for this. I know you have what it takes.” She was so supportive, like overly supportive.
I did want to ask you, since you said that you felt like the experts could match you with someone who was not your type but could be perfect for you, when you were dating, had you not considered trying to date guys who may not be your type on your own?
I think I had to some extent, but I don’t know. I sometimes feel like even if you’re dating outside of your type, it’s like a year down the line you’re like, oh my God, this is the same exact type that I’ve been dating this whole time. Maybe he looks different or it appears that he’s different, but it turns out that he’s the same exact type I’ve been going for the entire time. That was the part that made me nervous. I could think that these people are different or for me, they could be different, but really, they’re not.
I always ask people who do the show, what do you want people to know about you going into it? The stress of the situation can bring out a side of people that the viewers can judge heavily on social media. You might see people talking about you in a way that can feel negative. So just in case things happen and your personality or actions in the heat of the moment are not what people may be a fan of, what do you know about yourself going in that you want other people to understand about you before we watch this season?
I think I would just want everybody to know, not even just about me, but about how much patience and how much effort being married at first sight truly does take. I think it’s so easy for people to say, oh you’re married at first sight so you knew you were about to be married, but I don’t think any of us truly, truly, truly knew what we were signing up for. All marriages require patience, require effort and require all of these things, but when you’re married at first sight, you have cameras videotaping you all of the time. It’s just a different level of stress that’s put on you as a person and put on a marriage. It challenges you in ways that you never thought you would be challenged. Just being recorded all of the time and knowing that some stuff I said or some stuff that I did is out there for the whole world to see and to judge me for, it’s like, you have to take a step back and really just look at yourself. It’s stressful, it’s challenging and it’s very hard. I just want people to know that it’s easy for you to judge from the outside looking in, but you’ll never truly know how hard that process is and how different it is unless you’re in it.
Married At First Sight season 10 premieres Jan 1 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.