Married at First Sight,  Reality TV Star Interviews

Married at First Sight – Pastor Calvin Roberson: ‘At our core, we want to be understood with empathy…loved without restriction.’

Season 4 of the FYI groundbreaking hit, “Married at First Sight” brings 2 new experts to the location of Miami. Joining returning sociologist, Dr. Pepper Schwartz, are communication and relationship expert, Rachel DeAlto and marriage counselor and pastor, Calvin Roberson. 

Why did they change it up for this season? A spokesperson from production company Kinetic Content shared:

“Our plan is to rotate our panel of experts to keep a fresh perspective. We absolutely love Pastor Cal and Rachel and feel so lucky to have them join Dr. Pepper on the panel. They each bring new insight and elements to the matchmaking process, enhancing the overall experience of our participants.”

So the question in my mind is, what can Pastor Cal bring to participants and viewers this season? I had the chance to catch up with him and ask some burning questions. The passion in his answers is certain to make you smile.

Photo credit: Kinetic Content
First of all, I’d like to find out, as a pastor and marriage counselor, why do you believe in this social experiment?

From a theological view, there are examples of arranged marriages in the Bible, beginning in the book of Genesis. In the Hebrew tradition, it was a way of ensuring families maintained tribal loyalty and cultural unity. So from that perspective, I can see the validity of the concept. This experiment is a take on that age old method, with some modern modifications. 

I do believe in the process of this experiment. Think about it! These individuals may have passed each other on the street or eaten at the same restaurant, but may never have found each other without #MAFS. 

My job is to try and make sure all the deeper elements of their characters are compatible and provide the commitment of the marriage institution. The couple’s job is to do the work, so they can have every chance to succeed as they grow in love. When they follow the counsel and guidance given them, it can be a wonderfully successful experience.

What was your role as an expert in this process?

My role is two-fold. Values are the principles and standards that a person governs his/her life by. These are the intangibles that are most important to us as humans; loyalty, commitment, spirituality, happiness, etc.

 Pre-marriage, it is my job to uncover within each individual what their values are and then match them with someone that has comparable values.   

The second part of my role is to help the couples work through their issues after they are married. Since I’ve counseled couples for nearly 20 years, I can show them how to communicate effectively, provide them with tools to resolve conflict and seek reconciliation. I try to get them to be solution oriented and see the value that we saw in their mates when we matched them. This is the most rewarding part of what I do on #MAFS. 

How has your profession prepared you for matching and counseling married strangers?

My graduate and post graduate education in ministry has prepared me to know the mechanics of a person’s basic needs. However, my 20 years of experience in talking to countless couples through some of the most difficult situations you can imagine, has given me the intuition and understanding of how relationships work.   

As far as counseling strangers, no matter how long any of us have known each other, there are always times in every relationship when we seem like complete strangers. But at our core we all want the same thing. We want to be accepted without judgment, understood with empathy, heard without distraction and loved without restriction.  

Wow, that is outstanding insight! So based on your work, what characteristics do you feel are most important in an individual getting married at first sight? 

For this experiment, emotional maturity is at the top of my list for getting married at first sight. One has to be at a point in life where they are ready to seriously settle down. They cannot be enticed by the lure of the cameras or the possibility of TV recognition. While those things may happen, that can’t be the motivation, or they are setting themselves up for failure. These are real marriages!  

What characteristics are important as a partner in marriage?

Marriage is not for punks! Whether you are getting married at first sight or are in a traditional marriage, you must be ready to commit for the long term. You should be through with the single life and have a deep desire to share yourself with a compatible mate. You cannot depend on marriage to mature you, make you committed or make you happy. You must come to marriage with these life needs already checked off. Then you will be healthy enough to give yourself to another wholeheartedly. 

With drama coming up in the previews, I have to ask if dramatic effect was a consideration when choosing your matches.

I have never, and I mean never, considered dramatic effect when matching couples. It would be professionally and morally irresponsible to do that. These are people’s lives and these are legally binding marriages! I take marriage very seriously and have devoted my life to helping people find healthy, happy relationships. It is because of interest in relationship success that my wife and I started a successful relationship coaching business called Married and Naked. Drama is never a consideration. Marriage brings it’s own organic drama. We don’t have to embellish. 

What are some key things the couples must do to be successful?

The couples must first believe in and be committed to the process of marriage. There can be no hidden agendas or ulterior motives. They must be pure in their desire to love and be loved. 

Secondly, a person must be passionate about life and love. They can’t be afraid to be open and honest about who they are and about what they desire. They must be emotionally authentic, yet not naïve. 

Lastly, they must respect themselves and others. I want them to value and embrace the differences in people. Respect is not something a person can learn on the set of this experiment. One has to be reared with or be taught this quality through life experience.  

Are the couples able to access you if needed, during the 6-week process? 

All the experts make ourselves available during and after the process. We have experts who are still in touch with couples from the first season! It would be irresponsible to just throw them into these very strange marital waters and just expect them to swim while we’re standing silent on the shore. Whether through texts, Skype or phone calls, we are honestly committed to the success of these couples. 

What is something that surprised you this season?

As my first season, one thing that surprised me was the number of people who signed up for this experiment. Over 30,000 people signed up to marry a stranger! This was eye opening and shows just how much people want to find love. I’m happy to be a part of this innovative way to help them fulfill their dreams. 

Is there anything you would do differently?

I was actually asked this question before I joined the experiment. I said at that time, that I feel the couples need more hands on counseling during their marriages. Now that I’ve finished my first season, I believe the couples could use more than six weeks together before they make the final decision. Marriage takes time to work out the kinks and get to the place where you can see the real value. So more time is the one thing I’d like to see done differently. 


Follow me on Twitter @realitvwithbee and live tweet using #MarriedAtFirstSight or #MAFS 
Watch “Married at First Sight Confessions” on +FYI Television Network Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30pm CDT, followed by “Married at First Sight” at 8:45/7:45pm CDT and #MAFS #Unfiltered hosted by +jamie otis at 10/9pm CDT.

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Rachel DeAlto shares her story
Connecting with Pastor Calvin Roberson
Getting to know the Season 4 Singles!

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S:4 E:5 Respect and Patience are Virtues
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No Comments

  • Glenda Fralin

    I think Pastor Roberson has some points that focus on areas I saw missing in previous seasons. People must be ready for a fully committed marriage. The idea of longer than six weeks before a decision is important. My husband and I have been married 40 years. We only dated 3 months before getting married. As devoted as we were, that first year is all about learning the other person and growing yourself and the relationship. I'm glad to see someone so experienced in marriage counseling to help these couples. I hope they use the resources of the counselors.

  • latanya letcher

    Pastor Roberson is far too harsh on the wife in this marriage. He's sexist. If he were my counselor I'd drop him in a heartbeat. It's not all the wife's fault, but he pressures her w/o holding the man accountable. That is a shame.

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