‘Married at First Sight’ (Minus One) Couples Retreat Raises Questions Over Lasting Futures

Married at First Sight Season 11 Episode via YouTube

Shooting a season of Married at First Sight during a global pandemic has presented the production team with impossible challenges. And, it has also demanded more from the five New Orleans couples in Season 11 than any other matches in the series. In a typical Married at First Sight stint, the husbands and wives commit to eight weeks in the arranged-marriage experiment. In this season, four couples have remained together, and quarantined, for four months. Without a doubt, they know each other more intimately than any other couples on the show.  However, sharing closed quarters doesn’t always prompt close connections.

A getaway to get closer to nature seemed the perfect escape to the Married at First Sight experts after the Louisiana governor lifted stay-at-home orders. Woody and Amani, Bennett and Amelia, Henry and Christina, and Karen and Miles ventured off to cabins in Covington, Louisiana. The commune with nature hopefully would deepen the bonds between the newlyweds on the October 14 episode, “Stranger Spouse.” Even for the fan-favorite couples, however, some splintering started amid the fun and honest reflection.

Henry and Christina can’t come back from Christina’s angry Married at First Sight attack

At the close of last week’s “Home Alone” Married at First Sight episode, Henry described how Christina was asking to meet with him. She described receiving a text from a supposed “reliable source” who claimed that Henry Rodriguez was involved with another man. Henry flatly denied the accusations and declared that he was going to get to the bottom of things.

Christina admitted being angry when she instigated this dispute. And, she still hasn’t produced the text that provoked it. Henry talked with Woody about the situation.  He predicted that Christina would try to pretend like everything was fine on the retreat, and she did. The subject of “the affair” nor the text was ever discussed.

No one should ever attack or accuse someone so personally without saying a word.  This pair had true potential at several points in their relationship up to now, but a “pattern of dishonesty,” as Henry highlighted, and the failure to communicate real feelings on both sides is only leaving wounded, resentful people. This Married at First Sight match had the power to be mutually beneficial. Speaking truth and staying focused on the good makes a difference.

Strange moments of emotion

It was odd to see Christina cry over missing Olivia and cry again over her past ordeals in her letter to her younger self.  If only she could feel that deeply about saving, or at least working toward a better relationship, this outcome might be different.

Newsweek covered Henry and Christina’s perspectives on their marriage. “My marriage is spiraling out of control,” Henry confessed to Woody.  Right now, this groom is simply ready to let go. Christina asked Amani and Amelia about the most important sacrifices in a marriage.  Before she attempts her next marriage, she needs to ponder these questions for herself.

Bennett’s ‘Worm’ is wonderful, but his Married at First Sight letter disappoints

Things look bright on the Married at First Sight horizon for Bennett and Amelia as they head off to the cabins, singing as they go. The groom gave a hopeful sign to many fans. He relayed how he had already been to Virginia to scope out how he and his bride could make their life work together.  Amelia appreciates what a sacrifice it is for this man who has never left his New Orleans home or family.

Bennett tells Amelia that her singing in her sleep woke him up, so he decided to brush up on learning “The Worm.” His wife can’t wait to see, so wearing his dress and all, he crawls into a full routine of the dance classic that is admittedly “not ready,” but still a wonderful riot.  Amelia says she was terrible at basketball and kicked off the team.  She creamed her husband in a game of horse, however, making all kinds of shots for the Married at First Sight cameras.

Surprising couples score big

Bennett was completely convinced that he and Amelia would dominate in the Married at First Sight version of “The Newlywed Game,” dubbed “Stranger Spouse.”  The competition asked all kinds of intimate questions, not necessarily referring to intimacy, about each spouse. One example asks if your mate crumples or folds the toilet paper.  Amelia and Bennett only answered six questions correctly, while Karen and Miles got 26 right answers.  Amani and Woody got 21 correct, and even Henry and Christina scored well.

During the Married at First Sight session assigning each partner to write a letter to his and her younger self, Amelia wrote about trying sun hair dye. She then translated it to fulfilling her dream of marriage to a wonderful man. Bennett remained very touched, but his letter pertained to a completely divergent subject, without a mention of Amelia.  He described a gift of a valuable “Char-Shar” Pokemon card, and how he allowed his best friend to “borrow” the treasure worth $20,000.  “I would have thought he would at least mention me,” the wife mused.

In big or small ways, Bennett may still break Amelia’s heart.  In a surprising preview of next week, Amelia reveals that she was more enticed by the idea of being on a reality show than by marriage itself.  Fans need to be ready for more surprises before Decision Day from this beloved Married at First Sight union. Legions of fans fill their Married at First Sight cheering section.

Miles isn’t sure he can make a Married at First Sight success story with Karen

The rising cries from the Black Lives Matter movement came into focus for Miles and Karen.  Karen questioned whether she would even be up to go on the getaway. Miles made a heartfelt and impassioned statement regarding taking care of himself and taking care of each other through the emotion of the social injustice upheaval. This time, his wife truly heard and respected the effort.

Karen and Miles do connect with the other couples and when they interact naturally. Karen was a boss at playing a new kind of golf, and Miles took the beating graciously. He got to the brutal truth when he talked with Woody. Without any measure of physical intimacy, he said it’s impossible to gauge whether he would be able to stay in the marriage.  Trust has to make any relationship grow, and Karen needs to trust enough to show her scars and let trust start.  As dependable and chivalrous as he tries to be, Miles has the toughest choice on Decision Day.

The most lighthearted moment of the night occurred when Bennett interjected that he and Amelia consummated their marriage.  Laughter broke out, and the respite was welcome after the much weightier talk.  Miles took the interruption in stride.

Amani and Woody have something beyond the surface on Married at First Sight

So many Married at First Sight couples run straightforward into marriage before knowing anything about themselves.  Very often, those same partners are very afraid to be open and truthful with one another. Whether Amani and Woodrow Randall are cooking dinner or playing dominoes, as they did in this episode– they are going deep.

Before the retreat, Amani helped Olivia move out of the shared apartment that she and Brett had for  Married at First Sight filming.  She proved that she was a true friend and wished Olivia every success in her next relationship. As interested as Brett seemed about “the show,” he didn’t even stay to see filming completed and completely depleted the pantry when he left.  Olivia took her wedding album, but not her vows.  “Those are meaningless,” she said before closing the door.

Flirty or otherwise, nothing that Amani and Woody say to each other is meaningless.  The two have also learned the blessing of letting the little stuff go.  Amani promised that she could handle Woody’s laundry discrepancies if he held his end of the other chores up.  These partners were saying “forever” on their wedding day and fans hope the Married at First Sight faves say it again on Decision Day.

Married at First Sight airs Wednesdays on Lifetime.

Tresa Patterson

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