Married at First Sight,  Reality TV Star Interviews,  Season 9

Married at First Sight’s Iris Caldwell Opens Up About Emotional Maturity in Part Two of this [Exclusive] Interview

Each couple that gets Married at First Sight has their challenges. Iris Caldwell and Keith Manley are no different.

The stress and pressure of this accelerated social experiment can be a barrier to success for those who don’t move at a fast pace. It takes an unwavering commitment and a willingness to give it everything you have. But it takes two to make a marriage work.

In my first interview with Iris, she shares communication is her biggest challenge with Keith. We didn’t have much to equate that with in the beginning, but it’s become more evident as the weeks progress.

In part one of this interview with Iris, she opened up about her lens on sexual maturity. In part two, we talk about emotional maturity.

Dr. Viviana Coles gave Iris and Keith an assignment to share a secret in an effort to become more vulnerable and emotionally intimate with each other.

Iris revealed to Keith she had swallowed a quarter and he was openly disappointed. I wondered if she fully understood the assignment. “Please remember, we were asked to share a secret that could have included something from childhood, so I told a deep secret from my childhood,” she shares.

Unfortunately, due to time constraints, a lot of the story got left on the cutting room floor.

Iris tells RealiTVwithBee she was being vulnerable with Keith by sharing a traumatic experience she had not shared with most people. It was so traumatic, in fact, her father was in full-blown emotional distress in the emergency room the night of the incident.

She reveals, “The story of swallowing the quarter was a near-death experience in which I was rushed to the emergency room because my windpipe was obstructed. My breathing shallowed and I was drifting in and out of consciousness. Doctors were torn about doing a life-saving tracheotomy.”

She went on to say, ‘I was rushed into emergency surgery, put under full anesthesia and medical experts used a suction device to remove the quarter from my throat. If this had not been successful, a tracheotomy would have been the last resort.”

After hearing her story, Keith told the camera in a private interview he thought his wife was emotionally immature. Iris expresses her frustration with that, “When I share my full experiences, I’m criticized. Notice how we never even heard Keith share his secret at all? I’m an open book. It doesn’t mean I’m immature. It just means I don’t have many more secrets to tell.”

Married at First Sight's Iris Caldwell feels she is emotionally mature.
Married at First Sight’s Iris Caldwell feels she is emotionally mature.
Photo credit: Kinetic Content

Regarding maturity, Iris feels it has never been an issue for her. “I’ve lived in New York alone to attend college. I hold three academic degrees. I’ve purchased a home and have traveled alone abroad,” she notes.

Having said that, what Iris does find difficult is to open up completely in front of cameras. Her wish would be for parts of her marriage to remain private, behind closed doors. “My deepest life secret, which is my virginity, was already exposed and shared with Keith on our wedding night. [It] was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Few of my closest friends even knew this,” she explains.

Keith was initially accepting of Iris’ virginity but in recent weeks, he openly admits it’s a problem for him. Seeing Keith’s reaction really hurt Iris. She expounds, “It’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to go forward [when] he has a bad taste in his mouth about my biggest secret. At this point, it’s hard to even trust Keith because he hasn’t given me anything to trust him about. He talks to his family, friends, and camera more than he talks to me. I learn more about him from watching the show.”

She adds, “I really need Keith to communicate with me. Not the cameras, but to me. A lot of the things Keith has said have truly been behind my back. I want to grow, I want to learn, I want to mature in an aspect that is new to me.”

Iris goes on to say that she can’t do any of that if maturity is Keith’s real issue. He needs to be mature enough “to talk to me about what we can fix and things we can work on. I can’t work on something if I don’t know it’s a problem,” she notes.

Iris reiterates, “I had no idea he had an issue with these things because he didn’t tell me. For a successful relationship and as his wife, I need to know his honest feelings.”

Iris has a close relationship with her mother and appreciates how close Keith is with his own mother. “I love how he can tell her anything and feels so open with her to discuss a lot of things. I want him to have someone he can talk to if he isn’t able to talk to me about our marriage,” she confesses.

On the couples’ retreat, there was a common thread within each couple where one spouse is finding difficulty expressing their feelings. Iris admits this presents a dilemma in her marriage.

“I looked forward to getting to know my matched husband both intimately and intellectually, but this is a challenge. I’ve not felt Keith has shown me that he actually cares. Keith seems very distant romantically and doesn’t talk much. I’ve only heard him say things like ‘you look pretty’ maybe twice to me. He doesn’t share his feelings and does not do things to make me feel like we can talk,” she articulates.

With Decision Day just a week away, open communication is key for Iris to feel their relationship is moving forward in a positive direction. “Keith has to be honest with me throughout the rest of our marriage. He has to be open in our conversations. Then I can be more open to talking to him about things that bother me and what I can work on, both on and off camera. We really need to get this communication thing down because I can’t grow in a marriage by myself,” she concludes.

Watch Married at First Sight on Wednesdays at 8:00/7:00 pm CST only on Lifetime


  • Elle

    It takes an incredible amount of emotional maturity, internal strength and personal integrity to make and own choices that are not supported and understood by the majority.
    It takes an incredible amount of emotional maturity to represent those choices in the face of inaccurate media representations, that objectify your sexual choices to hype ratings.
    Even more so, it takes even greater emotional maturity to communicate your feelings and needs directly to your partner in a vulnerable and honest way.
    A healthy sexual (and intimate) bond is built on a foundation of emotional maturity and healthy communication.
    If Keith wanted to marry a sexual status, maybe he isn’t on the right show.
    If Keith is discouraged by Iris’ choices, I suggest he look at his own choices first.

    When Greg is confronted with Deonna’s resistance and walls, he chose to be “transparent, patient and intentional,’ with his actions, to make sure his wife felt safe and supported, to build a solid foundation of trust. As a man, he was inspired to step up to the plate and take accountability for his role in the marriage. I hope Keith is equally inspired to transform his passivity.

    Let me be clear, overall, I feel Keith is a very respectful and outstanding guy.
    However, it is sad to me, that the public acts as if we are transitioning into a liberated acceptance of sexual diversity, whilst women are still shamed and made to justify their personal preferences.
    Thank you to RealityTVwithBee for providing more transparency and empathic conversation on this heated topic.
    And Thank You Iris, for your bravery and courage, in modeling to women that it is okay to make different choices. Much Love!

  • Shirley Collins

    I been married for 35 years and communication understanding and know how to talk to each other and show that you care kindness love compliments they all work but you have to work on these things when I look at Iris and Keith I think they one of the most beautiful couples is she just be willing to open up to him and he opened up to her their marriage can work I’m rooting for them because they are two of the most beautiful couples

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