At first glance, Lifetime’s Married at First Sight Season 13 couple, Bao and Johnny, had an instant and easy connection. The newly married couple previously met in college, which gave them a familiarity that took away the uncertainty of marrying a stranger.
On the honeymoon, they were able to skim past initial surface-level conversations and do a deep dive. However, connecting at that level was not always light-hearted and fun. The newlyweds shared some intense conversations that uncovered glaring differences.
I had the chance to connect with Bao and get her take on what’s gone down so far this season.
We started by discussing an important part of marriage, conflict resolution. She explained there was a stark revelation in their styles, “We both viewed conflict differently from the get-go.”
From Bao’s point of view, “The disagreements we had on our honeymoon were opportunities for understanding and building trust.” In contrast, she added, “Johnny was quick to be dismissive of my emotions when I was trying to be vulnerable with him. Instead [he] interpreted our disagreements as red flags.”
One issue that immediately came to the surface was their incompatible personal hygiene habits. Bao clarified her stance on this.
“Let’s set the record straight. I shower on a daily basis, but feel that showering three times a day or washing sheets every time a bedtime shower is skipped, is excessive and wasteful.” She further explained, “Typically, I shower in the morning to wake up, but sometimes I shower at night.”
The 35-year-old told RealiTVwithBee why she was reluctant to change from a morning shower to an evening one. “For me, it felt controlling for Johnny to expect me, his new wife, to shower every night. My hope was that Johnny could accept that I occasionally shower at night,” she said.
Clearly, Johnny was not willing to concede on that. So what would resolution look like in order for attraction and potential love to grow?
“I proposed that sometimes I may crash on the couch or second bedroom on the rare occasion a shower is skipped. But I ended up conceding and showering at night anyway, for Johnny’s comfort,” she revealed.
A concern early on for the research administrative director was Johnny’s previous reputation for lack of commitment. Upon their return to Houston, it seemed her worst fears were confirmed. Johnny announced he was overwhelmed with the emotions of their five-day honeymoon and he needed some time alone.
Bao reflected on that moment, “Honestly, it was disappointing for me to hear that Johnny wanted to take a break so early in our marriage. The message I got was that Johnny is quick to throw in the towel when things don’t go his way. He repeatedly said that he had a very different expectation of his honeymoon and was disappointed with the reality of it,” she admitted.
From her perspective as a new wife, is it ever okay to do a ‘break and run’ in a relationship? “I understand that sometimes it is necessary for partners to take time for themselves. That is why I agreed to the ‘reset’ that Johnny proposed,” she noted.
Having said that, the native Texan wasn’t in complete agreement with that decision. “It did not feel that this early in the marriage was the wisest time to leave. Johnny made it clear that this decision was non-negotiable, so my only option was to be supportive.”
Fans were surprised to hear that Bao initiated more physical touch/intimacy than her husband. She opened up about that, “Johnny repeatedly complained that I did not initiate enough physical intimacy. Therefore, I pushed myself to initiate more.”
Another surprise was hearing her efforts were often not reciprocated. Johnny admitted the kisses were not hot/spicy enough and didn’t get him going. Bao shared her angst in hearing that admission. “It felt like everything he asked me to do, which I would try to fulfill in earnest, was never enough. Either my effort fell short for him or the act was not done to his satisfaction,” stated the newlywed.
Reflecting on it now, she exclaimed, “It’s funny that my nickname is ‘Ms. High Bar’. Yet in those early days of marriage, Johnny was setting the bar for me with every request, never intending that I could meet it.”
In the meeting with Pastor Cal, Johnny reluctantly revealed his displeasure in the way Bao expressed joy, comparing her giddiness to that of a child. The impact on her was devastating. “When Johnny criticized me for how I express joy, it made me feel judged and unaccepted. I felt I could not comfortably be myself around my new husband,” she relayed.
Where does the couple go from here? Are these irreconcilable differences that can’t be overcome? And what would it take for Bao to move forward in a positive direction in her marriage? “I need Johnny to understand that this is not any better than trying to correct someone for how they laugh or smile when joyful.” She ended with, “He would have to let go of whatever strictly defined criteria he has for a perfect wife and learn to appreciate me as I am.”
Feature Photo Credit: Amber Charles Photography