Sam Role did not remain married to Neil Bowlus on Season 3 of Married at First Sight, but the personal transformation she made, right in front of our eyes, was nothing short of amazing. To what does she attribute these life changes? I had the chance to dig deep and find out.
First, let’s start with the social experiment. Sam shared that for her, every part of it was authentic. “This is an accelerated process. I feel like we needed some direction on how to move forward in the marriage, and quickly. Neither one of us had been married before and we didn’t know each other,” she said.
That direction was provided by the four show experts, Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Joseph Cilona, Sociologist, Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Sexologist, Dr. Logan Levkoff and Spiritual Advisor, Greg Epstein.
Sam shared openly, “We needed the activities and homework the experts provided, because it allowed us to get to know each other in weeks vs. months or years. Whether or not we did the activities was up to us. Nothing was forced or coached when it came to what we said or how we felt.”
Having direct access to the experts had an impact on her transformation. She explained, “Dr. Joseph showed me how to communicate my feelings in an effective, non-threatening way and how to articulate better. He is so calming and understanding of everyone’s feelings.”
This is something I understand completely. As a viewer, I can feel his calming influence come right through the screen, into my home.
For Dr. Pepper, it was about learning to respect difference. Sam acknowledged, “She taught me that when things are different between you and your partner, it’s not wrong or right. I remember being upset because I felt that Neil wasn’t good at communicating at all. I learned that it’s not that he wasn’t a good communicator, it was just different from the way I was used to and vice versa.”
When it comes to intimacy, many people struggle because it leaves them completely vulnerable. In order to be vulnerable, you have to trust. So how do you trust a stranger? You start from the beginning. Sam shared, “Dr. Logan taught me that intimacy is more than sexual. It’s the bond you create with your partner on a personal level. Whether it’s talking about your expectations or what you like about your partner, it’s important to know what your significant other wants in a relationship and what you want out of a relationship with them.”
Connecting across spiritual difference was another life-changing lesson for Sam. “Greg taught me that religion really can be a foundation for a strong relationship. Whether you have the same beliefs or not, it’s great to get to know your partner’s religious views and share them with each other. Neil and I bonded over Matzo Ball soup because he was so intrigued with learning more about Judaism and I was excited to share it with him,” she responded.
Putting all the pieces together, she summed it up, “The biggest life change for me out of this whole experience is the way I treat and speak to others when I don’t agree with them. My way of communication in those moments of feeling uncomfortable or anxious wasn’t productive. I didn’t say things so that someone would want to listen or understand.” Sam further stated, “I learned that you can’t discount the way someone feels. If someone tells you they feel a certain way, you need to respect that, listen and acknowledge their feelings. They don’t tell you they feel a certain way just to have it brushed under the rug or ignored.”
Sam has stayed in communication with the 4 experts that helped shape her into the woman she is now. She admitted, “I’m so grateful for them all. They are amazing and wonderful people I will never lose touch with. I still reach out to them to this day, if I need some guidance or support.”
The transformation Sam made was not only evident on the show, but also how she handled herself on social media. Having never had a Twitter account before, she said it was a harsh reality how judgmental and cruel the social media world can be. “You can never please everyone, but if you attack the haters with hate, you are no better than them. Two wrongs don’t make a right. I learned that kindness goes a long way. I can go to sleep at night knowing I wasn’t rude or unkind to a stranger that attacked me based on 12-15 minutes they saw each week.”
Sam admitted that although dealing with negative messages was difficult, it made her a stronger woman. “Sometimes it’s good to hear the things you don’t want to hear. If the mass majority are saying something, then it’s probably true. The more accountable you are for your actions and truly sincere you are about changing them, the more willing people are to forgive.”
On the bright side, she is thankful for all the love and support she received. “It’s quite breathtaking and amazing that so many people support and love you like their own. It shows you how many wonderful people still exist in this world!”
Although Sam’s new position at work is keeping her busy, she still plans to remain active on Twitter. “I’ll continue to catch up on my tweets and respond to everyone who has taken the time out of their day to message me. It may take me a little longer, but I’m going to remain very active and continue sharing my life with my fans!”
What’s next for Sam? Her main focus will be to continue to work hard on her career. A little writing may also be in her future. She shared, “I would love to publish a book about my experiences and what I’ve learned, so that people don’t have to make the same mistakes I made.”
Of course, the ultimate goal for Sam is to find her soulmate. She relayed hopefully, “Maybe one day I’ll meet the man of my dreams, I’ll get married and start the family I’ve always wanted.”
I feel confident that will happen. Sam Role signed up to marry a stranger and walked away from the experience a changed person. Any man would be lucky to have this thoughtful, kind and compassionate young woman to share a life with.
Honest Talk With Sam Role on Married at First Sight Season 3
Sam Role’s Relationship with Neil Bowlus Post Married at First Sight
Real Talk With Jamie Otis on Married At First Sight -The First Year