‘Married at First Sight’ Season 10 is the most ‘explosive’ yet
“Married at First Sight,” a show where couples meet for the first time on their wedding day, is back for Season 10.
The latest installment of Lifetime’s arranged-marriage “social experiment” is set in Washington, DC, and features five couples. Throughout the show’s history, more than 65,000 singles have applied to get set up by relationship experts into legally binding marriages. Pastor Calvin Roberson, sociologist Pepper Schwartz and marriage therapist Viviana Coles conducted rigorous interviews with thousands of single men and women before matching this season’s couples, who must decide after several weeks together whether they want to stay married or get a divorce.
“This season is so unexpected and unpredictable,” Coles tells The Post. “It’s explosive television.”
As the newlyweds get to know each other, major problems emerge. “Exes were a pattern,” she warns. Tightknit families and fear of commitment also get in the way of matches made in heaven.
Here, Coles tells The Post what could make or break each pair.
Derek Sherman, 26, and Katie Conrad, 25
Why they were matched: “They are funny,” says Coles of one of the youngest couples in “MAFS” history. “Both [are] very charming and endearing when it comes to how they view life.” But they are also serious about settling down. Conrad, a mental-health professional who suffers from type 1 diabetes, wants to start a family young because of her diagnosis.
What could pull them apart: Coles says the experts were concerned about the couple being so young, and whether they were really ready to commit to marriage, especially because Sherman, a cybersecurity engineer, had never been in love before. Outside forces come into play, too: When an ex-boyfriend reaches out to Conrad the night before the wedding, her confidence in the experiment gets rocked.
Jessica Studer, 31, and Austin Hurd, 31
Why they were matched: “They both seem really committed to the idea of being married,” says Coles. The experts also liked that Studer, a nurse manager, and Hurd, a network technician, were both active and driven in their professional lives, and had strong relationships with their families: Studer has an identical twin, and they are almost always in contact, and Hurd is extremely close with his mom. “We would talk about Jessica and Austin as almost the same person,” says Coles.
What could pull them apart: Coles revealed that one of the partners is very “set in their ways,” which presented a problem for letting a new person into his or her life. Being tight with family may not always be a good thing: Unsolicited outside opinions make their way into this marriage.
Brandon Reid, 34, and Taylor Dunklin, 27
Why they were matched: Both Dunklin and Reid are well-rounded, social people, says Coles. They have interests in the sciences and the arts, and have exciting lives in and outside of work. Dunklin is “the whole package,” says Coles, while Reid, a sales manager, is self-assured and outgoing. The experts couldn’t wait to see their lives blend. “They’re going to be out, like, every night,” says Coles.
What could pull them apart: Strong personalities can clash. Dunklin is a driven research scientist who moonlights as a party host, so the experts knew she would need a partner who was “extremely confident and appreciates both intellect and beauty,” says Coles. But, “[She] can be intimidating, and we knew that.”
Zach Justice, 32, and Mindy Shiben, 34
Why they were matched: Figure-skating coach Shiben and personal trainer Justice can easily bond over their active lifestyles. But their marriage won’t be all about being fit: “They’re very deep thinkers,” says Coles. They share an “intense approach to life” and their goals.
What could pull them apart: The experts feared that because the well-coiffed Justice is in a looks-centric business as a trainer, he might be more focused on the outside than the inside with his partner. Shiben, though, requires someone who can help her deal with past pain. She has struggled greatly in recent years: Her younger sister died suddenly, and she had a miscarriage. “With the two of them being so in their heads, it was challenging,” says Coles.
Meka Jones, 25, and Michael Watson, 31
Why they were matched: Both Jones, a category analyst, and Watson, who designs education programs for kids with learning disabilities, were raised by single women and had to become independent from a young age. “They are very noble, conscientious people,” who bring out the best in each other, says Coles.
What could pull them apart: The fact that neither Jones nor Watson grew up with a father figure made experts worry that they didn’t have examples of marriage in their lives — Watson even says he’d be the first in his family to tie the knot. Experts were also concerned that neither “had a sufficient amount of confidence in what marriage entails,” says Coles. “They could either bond over that, or it could be something that made them wary of each other.”
Season 10 of “Married at First Sight” premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST on Lifetime.
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