It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year since I first interviewed Cortney Hendrix from FYI‘s Married at First Sight. What a journey it’s been. We’ve seen her go from the sweet, joyous wonder of falling in love with Jason, to the inner struggle to find happiness in the first season of Married At First Sight -The First Year, to the strong and confident woman who is a rock in their marriage today. The transformation she’s made right before our eyes, is nothing less than remarkable.
What caused Cortney to go from pure bliss to the path of despair? How did she overcome her struggle to find happiness? What has made her into the woman she is today?
I had the opportunity to ask Cortney about her personal transformation and she was honest, open and real with her responses.
First of all, let me just say how amazed I am that at such a young age, you have such a wealth of relationship knowledge. Each week I watch in awe as you guide and support Jason, Jasmine, Neph and others. How did you obtain this knowledge?
Growing up, I was very fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful examples of healthy and happy marriages; ones that shared a love for God and kept Christ at it’s core. My parents have been married 33 years, and my grandparents just 4 months shy of 70 years (when my Grandmother Hendrix passed away). It wasn’t until I was an adult – a married one – that I began to understand the lessons of life and love that my parents had been teaching me my entire life.
Who would you say was your most significant role model regarding relationships?
My father taught me how to love myself and how I should be treated by a man. My mother was and still is, my best friend. She taught me how to love another person more than anything in the world. She taught me how to be deeply compassionate and nurturing, but also to be a warrior for those I love. She taught me how to protect those that can’t protect themselves, like children. They both taught me these things through example. They are my role models.
Also, since Married at First Sight-The First Year Season 1, I’ve read a LOT of books. Some of my favorite and absolute best are; The 5 Languages of Love, by Gary D. Chapman, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, by John M. Gotten and Nan Silver and Captivating and Love & War, by John and Stasi Eldredge.
We saw you struggle to find yourself during the time that Jason attended the fire academy. Can tell us what that was like for you?
While Jason was in the academy, both of our lives were changing drastically. We were both completely emotionally exhausted and Jason was also physically exhausted. With so many things changing (not necessarily for the good), I felt out of control and became depressed.
I also began doubting myself and Jason’s love for me. My reaction to this fear and doubt was becoming needy, incredibly emotional and on edge. I was unhappy with myself but internally, I refused to accept responsibility. Instead of looking inside myself and in the mirror, I became desperate to place the blame on something or someone else. I would not accept my reality and our relationship suffered because of this.
The holidays added double the pressure on both Jason and I last year, as well. We were grieving silently and alone, both repressing intense pain and emotion and not trusting each other. Eventually, it began to spew out. This was our relationship for the majority of Married At First Sight – The First Year, Season 1.
What was your turning point?
The turning point was when I allowed myself to get my emotions out. I cried. I slept. I wallowed. I got the emotions out and then my pity party came to an end. This is when I made the choice to take back control of my life and my happiness. I decided I would not allow depression to control my life. I was the solution to my own problem.
Can you share what you did specifically to move beyond that?
The book, Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge, changed me. This book allowed me to take the first step towards getting the help that I needed, to process an emotional past event. It led me back to Christ. My faith had taken a back seat during all of this. God was, and still is, my saving Grace.
Can you tell us about your new job?
After leaving Teads in January of 2015, I had a ton of work to do on myself before I could even think about getting any professional makeup jobs. After working on the movie, “Tower of Silence” this summer, I got the boost of professional confidence I needed to go out there and do what I love!
My projects and jobs are always changing, which is one reason I love my job so much. I work as a makeup artist (and special effects) in film, television, internet/digital, live events, theatre and bridal makeup. I am working towards becoming part of the East Coast Makeup Artist union. I am currently working on writing and developing a web series and have recently accepted a position on a sic-fi feature film as the Makeup Department head.
Wow, that’s amazing and sounds like so much fun! How often to you travel and how has that affected your relationship with Jason?
Traveling is frequent as a makeup artist and often, last minute. Jason and I make sure that we make the most of the time we do get to spend together.
In the second season of Married At First Sight The First Year, you and Jason start having conversations about planting roots. What do you value the most when thinking about buying a home and raising a family with Jason?
I am so excited to raise a family and build a home with Jason! The most important things to me when building a life with Jason are:
*keeping Christ in our marriage & home is the #1 priority
*building a home together. Both of us must be happy and willing in whatever/wherever place we end up planting roots as a married couple and raising a family.
*since family is incredibly important to both me and Jason, it’s important to me that we are a car or plane ride away from those we love
*having a home that we will live in and never leave
Share with us your biggest challenges as a wife, when watching Jason struggle with having an absent father and then his decision to locate his father and half-siblings.
Some of the biggest challenges for me as Jason’s wife currently:
*keeping our communication open and honest
*creating comfortable space to help Jason feel all these emotions that he has shut down from his past. This is my biggest challenge, but incredibly important! Jason needs me to support him and comfort him – not tell him how to feel.
*asking tough questions about sensitive subjects and not being afraid of what the answers might be; having compassion to do this gently and still creating a safe space for Jason not to feel embarrassed or judged in any way
What’s the five year plan?
Traveling, having stable careers, becoming homeowners, having children and definitely still being in love.
Viewers from all over can learn lessons of kindness, caring and compassion from this amazing young woman.