Henry Rodriguez signed up to marry a stranger in hopes of finding a life-long partner.
At 35, he put his trust in the “Married at First Sight” show experts, Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Pastor Calvin Roberson, and Dr. Viviana Coles, to find him a match.
However, since the first day of saying, “I do,” to 30-year-old wife Christina, it has been a rocky road.
In Part 1 of my interview with Henry, he shared his struggles early on and what he needed to feel emotionally safe in a relationship.
In Part 2 of this exclusive interview with Henry, we focus on the importance of compromise, the reality of deal-breakers, and where he and Christina go from here.
Let’s continue our conversation with the Dr. Viviana Coles visit. Tell us your gut reaction when Christina told her that a man taking the lead is a non-negotiable for her.
I felt like it was not the most compromising of responses. I think when you go into this process you need to be willing to bend a little bit. She seems pretty adamant that she never makes the first move and/or takes the lead.
Why is compromising with Christina on this particular issue important to you?
It doesn’t seem like she’s is willing to take the lead in some aspects of our relationship. [This] is a little worrisome for me because I may need some assistance in order for us to develop.
That being said, I need to be compromising as well and put some effort towards taking more of a lead role at times. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and testing your boundaries is a lot of what this process is about. I think we both need to do a better job of that.
You had a pretty vulnerable moment during the blindfold exercise. You shared being critical of yourself stemmed from being an overweight child. First of all, I want to thank you for being so open and honest. It’s something I think a lot of people can relate to.
I think being a little overweight can affect you in so many ways. To be completely honest, it’s something I watched my parents struggle with while growing up and I wanted to make sure it was something I addressed while I was younger and while my metabolism was more effective.
Can you explain in more detail how being an overweight child has affected who you are now?
My lack of confidence has lingered over from my heavier days. It’s weird because I will see recent pictures of myself and just don’t believe that’s what I look like.
How are you dealing with this as an adult?
I focus on my weight on a daily basis. I weigh myself every morning and watch what I eat. Moderation is key!
Keeping the weight off helps me feel productive and it’s fulfilling. It’s a constant challenge that I feel is important for my overall health.
Are there any other positive take-aways from it?
It’s made me focus more on my inner-self and more on my personality. I know people who have seen me to this point probably don’t think I have much of a personality. That’s because I am a completely different person when I am uncomfortable and timid.
When I get comfortable, my personality makes a 180. I mean . . . I’m no Woody. I’m not quite the life of the party or anything. But I do like to joke around and have a good time. I hope Christina gets to see more of that side of me in time.
Let’s reflect on your conversation with Bennett. You relayed there are many differences between you and Christina. Do you believe in the concept that opposites attract?
I certainly believe in the concept that opposites attract. I grew up watching that concept play out right before my eyes while being raised by my mom and dad.
They are opposites in almost every way, but their differences compliment one another. In general, my father is someone who likes the spotlight and has a colorful personality. In contrast, my mom likes to take a backseat in the shadows somewhere. Each of them is what the other one needs. My dad would never be able to make it work with someone who is similar to him. It would be too much.
That’s the key. If you try to form a relationship with someone who is ‘opposite’ of you, then the differences need to be compatible. If not, then it will be a struggle.
What are your commonalities and why do you think the experts matched you?
Christina and I do have some similarities. Our religious and political beliefs seem to be in line with one another. We also have similar views on whether or not we would like to have children and potentially raise a family. There are some key, foundational similarities between us, which helps me understand why the experts thought we would be a good match.
But there are obviously a lot of differences as well. We need to get to a point where we learn whether or not there’s a happy medium.
You told Bennett, hearing Christina say ‘lack of confidence’ as a deal-breaker was a gut punch. Can you expound on that?
I was a little taken aback learning that lack of self-confidence was a dealbreaker for Christina, but not totally surprised. She has made it clear that she expects the man she’s with to take the lead and take charge. Those are often characteristics of someone who is confident. Therefore, it made a lot of sense to me that a lack of self-confidence would be a dealbreaker for her.
If your deal-breaker is impatience and Christina’s is lack of self-confidence, what is driving you to stay in this marriage and committed to the process?
That’s quite a conundrum, isn’t it?
In regards to Christina’s impatience, I’m hoping that my calm demeanor can rub off on her a little bit. She disclosed to me that she hasn’t been taking her ADD medication for quite some time, which she says has contributed to some of her behavior. I’d like to give everything more time to see if some progress can be made.
That being said, improving my confidence is something that I can work on.
Part of this process is learning about one another and learning about yourself. It’s about growing and adapting. Neither one of us expected it to be easy. We shall see how it all plays out!
Photo credit: Lady Portrait & Wedding Photography