Married at First Sight fans may have fallen in love with season 3’s David Norton, but we’re still hoping he will win the heart of his new bride, Ashley Doherty. The 29-year old account executive felt an instant attraction when he first laid eyes on his match on their wedding day. But Doherty, 30, is taking awhile to warm-up to her husband.
Following The Knot’s exclusive interview with Doherty, we caught up with Norton to get his take on being married to a stranger, and how he remained positive throughout the Married at First Sight process. His thoughtful responses have us wishing there were a few more David Nortons in the world.
“Going into this, I was mentally prepared for anything- including my wife not being attracted to me,” Norton shared of his wife’s lack of physical attraction to him. “I appreciate everyone who has said that they find me very good looking, but everyone has a physical type and I just happen to not be Ashley’s type. It’s not her fault—it’s just the way it is, sadly.”
One of the many qualities viewers find charming about Norton is his unwavering positivity. “You have to be positive, and for as long as I can remember, I have always been a positive person,” Norton told The Knot. “This comes in handy because there [were] some very challenging and difficult times during this. But being positive and reminding yourself that this is a marathon and not sprint definitely helped.” Norton kept his spirits up, even during the most awkward onscreen moments. “I didn’t want to sabotage this marriage by being negative, when marriage is such a long road,” he admits, “and I am not just talking about the 6 weeks.”
Norton made it no secret that he was thrilled with his match on their wedding day. “I was very attracted to Ashley,” he acknowledged, “but I also knew I wasn’t her type and it was going to take work.” So, did that initial attraction waver once Norton knew his wife didn’t reciprocate his feelings? “Despite our challenges on the honeymoon, I ended the honeymoon even more attracted to Ashley. She is my wife, and what kind of marriage would we have if we were only attracted to each other when things were good? I know marriage takes work, and I was optimistic that one day we would look back on our honeymoon and laugh.”
Although Norton made it clear he was ready to be married, he admits that there have been some surprises along the way. “It’s an adjustment. You can try to prepare for it, but you can’t,” he shared about the process. “I am not a perfect husband, but I try my very best one hundred percent of the time. The most important thing is to learn from the mistakes so you can be a better partner.”
While his wife’s standoffish demeanor was unexpected, that’s not what surprised Norton the most. “The most surprising thing to see was that Ashley didn’t like where I lived,” he shared with The Knot. “I mean, it’s a nice place in a good neighborhood. I think that, more than her lack of attraction bothered me,” he laughed.
And how did the new groom feel about his wife repeatedly referring to him as a stranger? “Hearing that Ashley kept calling me a stranger was tough, because after a week of being with each other, we aren’t strangers,” he recalled about the experience, “and if you keep referring to it as, ‘I married a stranger,’ it’s going to be very difficult to move forward… marrying a stranger is what we signed up for!” But Norton admits that the relationship began to shift after awhile. “I think once we moved in together and started having our normal daily routine is when our relationship started to grow.”
We were curious to find out what off-screen moments helped to shape the couple’s new marriage. “One of my favorite moments during the 6 weeks is the day after the wedding,” Norton shared. “Things had been crazy, and we were both adjusting to having a camera crew around us 24/7. So we had a one day buffer between the wedding and the honeymoon at this hotel in Midtown Atlanta. We ordered food and we both just needed a break, so we hid out in the bathroom and [sat] in an empty, huge jacuzzi tub and ate our food, talked and laughed off camera. Production had no idea where we went; it was awesome!” Of course, all good things must come to an end. “Eventually they found us sitting in this tub fully clothed, just eating,” Norton recalled. “They laughed, then skyped Dr. Logan to show her, and then let us finish our meal alone. It was great!”
When Doherty told her husband that she would like to spend a night away from him once they returned from their honeymoon, Norton made it clear he was in it for the long haul. “I was taken back, but tried to be understanding,” he told The Knot. “You don’t have breaks in marriage; it’s a one hundred percent commitment one hundred percent of the time. Granted how we met is so unique, but I don’t know too many married couples who take a ‘timeout’. But I wanted to be understanding, so I didn’t fight it too much.”
After going through the Married at First Sight process, we were curious as to whether or not Norton believes chemistry trumps the tests experts conduct to match the couples. “I have always said and known that these matches by the experts are not guaranteed,” he acknowledged. “Chemistry is important, and there is no test for it. You either have it or you don’t, and if you don’t have it, you have to work for it because you were matched for a reason.”
Although Norton maintains his positive spirit, he admits that the process hasn’t been easy. “Watching it all play back is by far the most difficult thing,” he told us. “Those first few weeks of marriage were so challenging and took such a toll on both of us, to watch it back and relive it…is tough. Luckily, I have great family and friends who watch with me and throw these awesome viewing parties to help me get through it.”
Despite the ups and downs, he prefers to dwell on the good times. “Having it play out has been rewarding. I have gotten so many tweets, and messages from married couples saying that Ashley and I are an inspiration and they, as a married couple, have learned so much by watching us. It’s so unbelievable to know we made a difference in someone else’s marriage.”
Catch Married at First Sight, which airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on FYI.