In season 10 of Married at First Sight on Lifetime, Mindy Shiben put her trust in the relationship experts to find her the perfect match. After enduring past heartbreak, hope and optimism flowed from her heart on the wedding day.
When Mindy got her first glance at Zach Justice, she was ecstatic. As she approached the altar, he winked and gazed at her adoringly. Her fears melted with each step she took towards him. When Zach got down on a knee and proposed, the romantic gesture had her swooning.
For marrying a stranger, things couldn’t have been more perfect. During breakaway interviews, the bride and groom confessed their mutual attraction for one another. All throughout the wedding and reception, compliments flowed and thoughtful gestures were abundant.
However, in a matter of days, something changed. As the newly married couple journeyed to their honeymoon destination, Zach became more distant. The romantic words and expressions ended and he began to treat his new bride as a friend.
In the cliffhanger from last week’s episode, Mindy is shown walking the halls in a state of numbness. Her husband of three days had just confessed he isn’t building an attraction to her.
What happened to get from their apparent connection at the wedding to the friend zone of the honeymoon? How do you move forward when your trust is broken? I have your answers in this exclusive interview with Mindy Shiben.
The 34-year old starts with why she thought the experts matched her with the St. Mary’s, GA native. “I think Zach and I were matched because we both have what the other lacks. Zach is a very structured person that values physical appearance, whereas I am a free-spirited soul that seeks connection on a more intellectual and emotional level.”
She goes on to state, “We challenge each other. Being competitive athletes, this is something we both need from a partner.”
Within hours of meeting, her free-spirit was exuberant with the immediate chemistry she was feeling. “On our wedding day, Zach made me feel like the luckiest woman in the world! I was flooded with physical affection, compliments, and small gestures that made me feel chemistry on every level. Just thinking about that day brings joy to my heart!”
On camera, the new groom confessed his wife was beautiful and everything he had hoped for. His deep gazes of adoration seemed to confirm his words.
So how does the figure skater account for the change in Zach’s demeanor in a matter of days? She responds, “That’s a tough question and I still don’t fully know the answer to it. My guess is that Zach became overwhelmed by the whole process and didn’t know how to handle the pressure.”
Regarding whether she saw it coming or felt blind-sided, Mindy acknowledges, ‘I felt like something was off with him, but was still surprised when he brought up his lack of physical attraction so early. It definitely wasn’t the start I was hoping for in the marriage.”
The late-night confession rocked Mindy to the core. Her gut reaction was to leave to get some time and space. As she paced the halls, she immediately started to question who this stranger really was. The new bride reflects with agony, “Honestly, I felt sick to my stomach. I just MARRIED this man and I felt like he already made up his mind about me based on my looks. It was a terrible feeling and I hate thinking about it…even now.”
At that moment, her optimism plummeted. She notes the impact his words had on her ability and desire to build this relationship. “I couldn’t help but feel let down. I was resistant to get close to him. I wanted to be able to trust my husband with all my heart, but when he said hurtful things to me, it was way more difficult to form a connection,” she says.
Mindy then adds, “That being said, this was a really intense situation for both of us. I didn’t want to shut down the possibility of building something special over some careless comments.” The newlywed further expounds, “I remained positive that [this] would not set the tone.”
To be successful in this eight-week social experiment, it’s imperative to let down your walls and grow trust in a short amount of time. Mindy opens up about how it’s possible to move forward from their rocky start. “Luckily, Zach and I had so much support and encouragement in the early stages of our marriage. We both wanted to get over this. I’m a forgiving person, so I can move forward if Zach learns to value me for who I am,” she explains.
Has the personal trainer kept his vows to treat his wife with kindness, respect and cultivate emotional security? Mindy reveals, “Zach has surprised me in so many ways, but I don’t want to say too much, as I want the viewers to be surprised too!”
Photo credit: Victoria V Photography
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