As a clinical recruiter at 35, Henry had most of his life in order. The one thing missing was someone to share it with. When he decided to do something as unprecedented as marrying a stranger, it left some of his friends and family in a state of disbelief.
The “Married at First Sight” show experts, Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Pastor Calvin Roberson, and Dr. Viviana Coles, matched Henry with 30-year-old flight attendant Christina. To say it’s been a challenge from the start is an understatement.
In this exclusive interview with Henry, he shares honestly and openly some of his thoughts so far from the midway point of the season. Let’s get right to it…
Let’s start with your decision to entertain this brave and daring idea of marrying a stranger. You admit to folding up like a card table when you are in situations where you’re uncomfortable. So why did you agree to get married at first sight?
I knew I would struggle with a lot of what this process entails. I haven’t taken many risks to this point and I don’t typically like attention. But I was willing to take on those challenges in hopes of meeting a lifelong partner that is right for me.
I guess in a weird way I felt like maybe this one, big, risk would make up for all the ones I didn’t take. It’s been difficult, but I hope in time it will all be worth it.
Because you struggle with the process, there is a perception that you aren’t making an effort. At four weeks into the experiment, what have you done to help Christina feel like you are committed to your marriage?
The first two weeks or so of our marriage were hard for me. You try your best to mentally prepare yourself for this type of risk, but mental preparation doesn’t always do the trick. The gravity of the situation hit me quickly and I did my best to handle it, albeit far from perfect.
That being said, I let her know that I was struggling, but that I take this process seriously and hope I can get to a place where I am more comfortable. I put myself in this incredibly uncomfortable circumstance in hopes of meeting the right person. I didn’t sign up to give up early. Hopefully, she can see that and realize my commitment.
Let’s hone in on the specific reasons you are struggling with developing an emotional bond and being affectionate towards Christina. One of the things you’ve directly addressed on camera is your frustration with her rude and disrespectful treatment of the film crew.
I had that conversation with Christina during one of our first arguments in the kitchen. Filming is not fun. It’s stressful. But it’s part of what you agreed to do when you agreed to take on this opportunity.
What impact did Christina’s words and actions towards production have on you as you were trying to develop feelings for a stranger?
Christina’s impatience and rudeness to production is simply a big turnoff. The way you treat other people says a lot about who you are as a person. Whether it’s the server at a restaurant, the cashier at a store, a relative, a friend, or a production film crew, I think everyone deserves to be treated with respect, especially when they are simply doing their job.
As a more reserved person, how did you handle the filming process in contrast to your wife?
I consider myself a level-headed person. The way Christina has handled things to this point is the complete opposite of how I handle stressful situations.
I’m not a fan of the filming aspect of this experience either. The cameras and the crew can be intrusive. It does make me fold up and it does make me uncomfortable. I think that’s fairly obvious when you see me on camera. But I also understand it’s part of what I signed up for.
She and I have enough challenges to deal with. The differences alone between us present a huge challenge. But the rudeness I’ve witnessed so far is something I won’t accept.
What are you looking for to make you feel like you want to become closer to her?
I’m looking to feel comfortable. I’m looking to feel like I can trust my partner. I’m looking for honesty and for the chemistry to eventually develop. I need to know that what I see and hear is real.
So far there have been some things that have been concerning and it has prevented me from opening up and becoming vulnerable. But there is still a ways to go and there is still a lot to learn. The one thing I need more than anything is trust.
Let’s talk about your session with Dr. Viviana Coles. One of the ‘aha’ moments for me was when she explained the difference between saying you are unemotional and not being emotionally expressive.
This was an ‘aha’ moment for me as well! It made so much sense and she’s totally right. It’s why she makes the big bucks.
Do you agree with her assessment that although you do have emotions, you aren’t used to expressing them as you feel them?
I definitely agree with her assessment. I am an even-keel person and I am certainly not emotionally expressive. I don’t cry often, which I think is what most people think of when they think of someone being ’emotional’.
However, as Dr. Viviana pointed out, I do get aggravated, mad, angry, etc. Those are all emotional responses. But I am not overly expressive and that’s something I will need to be more vocal about with Christina so that she has a better understanding as to how I am processing things emotionally.
What would you need to feel safe in expressing your emotions?
Ultimately, I just need to start feeling more comfortable with the process and more importantly, with Christina. Once we get to that point, then I will feel more safe expressing my emotions. We’ve got some work to do, but we can get there!
There is more to come! Click here to read Part 2 of my interview with Henry, we’ll discuss the blindfold exercise, learn one of his most vulnerable moments on the show, and discuss his efforts to stay healthy and committed.
Photo credit: Lady Portrait & Wedding Photography