If you’re an avid Married at First Sight fan, you probably know that season 3 newlyweds David Norton and Ashley Doherty have gotten off to a rocky start since their wedding just weeks ago. While the 29-year old account executive was initially thrilled with his Married at First Sight match, his wife continues to struggle with a lack of physical and emotional attraction to her husband.
So much has transpired since a very optimistic Norton spoke with The Knot last month; he has graciously agreed to a follow-up interview to respond to the questions viewers are dying to ask.
On the January 12 Married at First Sight episode, Norton treated his wife to a date night, complete with a ferris wheel ride. When he attempted to kiss her while they were in the air, Doherty turned away, only allowing her husband to kiss her cheek. “I was a little disappointed, but it had been three weeks at that point in time… that’s like 21 dates,” Norton says of the kiss misfire, “and if not then, when else? We had also had a few goodnight kisses before (off camera), so I didn’t think one on date night would be a big deal.”
Dr. Logan, the sexologist on the show, visited the couple at their home and gave them a fish bowl filled with intimate questions as a fun way to break the ice. Unfortunately, Doherty was not open to answering any of the questions despite her husband’s encouragement. Norton doesn’t suspect that Doherty’s unwillingness to answer the questions was caused by the cameras filming. “[Sigh]…I don’t think the cameras or the viewers played too much into it because I tried to ask her the same questions when the cameras weren’t there, and couldn’t get a response. I think Ashley at that point in time was still so unsure about our marriage, that she didn’t want to open up and answer these questions to someone she was unsure she would still be talking to in three weeks,” Norton explains. “If we trusted Dr. Logan enough to pick out our spouses, we should trust her enough to answer her questions to help our marriage grow.”
Ashley is very guarded and only lets a select few people know what’s really going on with her,” he goes on. “I think she thought if I was going to be a stranger again, I shouldn’t know the inner workings of Ashley. Which causes a catch 22, because in order to determine if you are going to be with someone forever, you have to let them in.”
On the latest episode, Doherty surprised viewers when she explained she was making the sacrifice of taking a break from working to focus on her education and marriage. We were curious as to whether the stress of nursing school played a role in her relationship with her husband. “I am sure that played a factor in it for sure, especially at the beginning,” Norton tells The Knot. “Luckily for the both of us, she wrapped up her semester and had a break in the middle of the marriage, so we were able to eliminate that stress before the six weeks were over.”
Although his wife has admitted to Married at First Sight viewers that she doesn’t feel a connection with Norton, it seems Doherty hasn’t broken the news to him. “At this point in the marriage she has not [told me],” Norton acknowledges, “and that’s not to say that we don’t have that conversation at some point down the road. I am a straight shooter so I appreciate the honesty no matter if it’s good or bad, especially in a situation like this where you only have six weeks to make a decision on if you want to stay married or not.”
“So if there is an issue, you have to let it out right away so you and your spouse can tackle the issue at hand and move forward,” he continues. “There is no time to let an issue simmer for two or three weeks without letting them know. You’re just setting up yourself for failure if you do that.”
Norton shocked viewers when he admitted to falling in love with Doherty on the most recent episode. “I know a lot of people were stunned that I said that,” he shares, “but I wasn’t unaware of where our relationship was at that time, and I even said I may not like her right now, but I am falling in love. Those are two different things.”
“I was in this more so than I have ever been into anything else before in my entire life,” he explains of the Married at First Sight process. “I was trying hard; I let every possible wall I could have up down, I allowed myself to be vulnerable. I think if anyone does that in anything, they will start to feel love, regardless of the situation at hand. Maybe that’s just me, but I don’t think it was that strange to be falling in love with your spouse if you went into this for the right reasons and gave it everything you possibly could.”
Because viewers have only gotten a glimpse of the Married at First Sight newlyweds, we asked Norton if he believes the show has accurately portrayed his wife. “I really do believe that the viewers are seeing a very fair representation of our marriage,” he shares. “There are only roughly 14 minutes per episode that you can see us be us, so that’s a challenge.”
“But I do believe what has aired really is a great indication of how we are,” he goes on. “If anything, I think early on Ashley was more shut out and disengaged than what has been shown. I think that’s why some viewers were taken back when I tried to get Ashley to talk.”
Although fans of the show are unaware of how the six-week experiment will end for Norton and his wife, we asked him to give us a best case scenario. “Best case scenario, Ashley and I decide to stay together after the six weeks,” he tells The Knot. “Even if we aren’t on the same page at that moment, that we both realize that there is enough there and that we have made enough progress to warrant keeping our marriage together.”
So what if things don’t work out? “If we decide to go our separate ways, well then…I’ll feel pretty defeated, because where do I go from here?” he asks. “If that happens, now I literally have tried everything.”
“But hopefully after a restorative trip and some self reflection, I hope that I can take everything that I learned from this marriage and apply it to my next relationship,” he continues. “That maybe I had to go through this whole crazy experiment to end up with the one I am truly supposed to be with.”
Despite everything he’s been through during the Married at First Sight process, Norton remains optimistic. How does he maintain that positive spirit? “That’s simple,” he tells us. “My vow. I made a promise to try my very best until the very end in front of friends, family and god. That’s all the motivation that I needed.”
Be sure to tune into Married at First Sight, which airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on FYI.
Have questions for the Married at First Sight participants? Share them with The Knot in the comments below for a chance to be answered in next week’s interview.