Married at First Sight fans fell in love with Doug Hehner and Jamie Otis when they met on their wedding day. But it took the new bride a while to warm up to her hubby, making for an awkward honeymoon phase. Now that the couple is set to celebrate their second wedding anniversary, there is no doubt they’ve come a long way. Ahead of the Married at First Sight: The First Year season 2 finale, this promising couple is opening up to The Knot about the ups and downs of married life and what the future has in store.
Doug likes adventure, and it seems Jamie is becoming a bit of a daredevil too. She’s helping her husband complete his “baby bucket list” before the couple begins trying to add to their family. The adorable duo even went on a ghost hunt at a former military prison – something Doug loved sharing with Jamie. “I love how adventurous Doug is,” Jamie shares with us. “I tend to be a little scaredy cat, so when my hubs wanted to go sky diving, swimming with sharks, and ghost hunting, I was less than thrilled. But that’s the great thing about our marriage – he is there for me and encourages me to step out of my comfort zone and I end up having an absolute blast!”
Doug has always been fascinated by the “unknown,” and even more captivated by people who are passionate about the supernatural, ghosts, aliens, etc. “I was obsessed with the TV show Destination Truth with Josh Gates, and Ghost Adventures, and always wanted to be a part of that type of exploration, and uncovering history,” Doug explains as to why a ghost hunt was included on his “baby bucket list.” “I love watching those types of shows, because it is the best history lesson that you can get.”
“I want to be a believer,” he tells The Knot, “and I want to share an experience that very few people have, and going on a ghost hunt was something that I had to do. I wanted to do it before having a child, because all of those shows say that spirits can easily connect with a child and are drawn to pregnant mothers, and NOBODY wants a demon baby!”
“I did not know what to expect, and I did not think that anything was going to happen,” he shares, “but then all of a sudden the room started to feel extremely heavy. I was overcome with sadness, a sense of hopelessness, and it was really strange. It was the coolest feeling ever, even though I do not know what I felt. It did not have a lasting effect on me, but it definitely made me want to go back for more… kind of like getting a tattoo!”
Not all Married at First Sight: The First Year fans may be itching to go on a ghost hunt, but many have been more than a little surprised by the impact the show has had on their own relationships. Viewers have seen similar patterns in their marriages and breakdowns in communication. Watching their relationship unfold on-screen has also been eye-opening for Doug and Jamie. “I have learned so much from being able to watch our marriage evolve,” Jamie acknowledges. “I find myself cringing at things I’ve said and done. I’m all about staying friends with exes, but obviously your spouse should be your best friend. That’s probably one of the biggest things I learned from the most recent season.”
“The thing is, I never realized I was so insecure and skeptical of love,” she continues. “It took me almost two years of marriage to be 100% confident that my husband genuinely loves me and will be with me forever. I guess the way we were married really caused doubt for me which I suppose isn’t so ludicrous since I did marry a complete stranger. Either way, when I look back at those insecurities, I just wanna yell at myself to trust my husband and know that he really does love me. He shows me over and over again, but I was doubting it so much that I’d miss the signs.”
“For me, I learned how important communication is,” Doug chimes in. “Not only being able to communicate the things you like and the things you don’t like, but being able to communicate how you would like to be talked to, and how you do not like to be talked to. Jamie and I made a tremendous effort to not repeat mistakes, and anytime we had an argument, we both made the extra effort to avoid the same argument again, and would try to compromise more and more. A lot of arguments can be avoided by letting your spouse/partner know that you do not like something, or do not like being talked to in a certain way,” he adds.
After much hesitation, Jamie began therapy. She bravely allowed Married at First Sight: The First Year cameras to roll during a couple of her sessions. After a while, Doug went along with his wife to help address their issues. Jamie tells The Knot that she has continued seeing her therapist. “I believe everyone should seek help from a therapist when they’re going through hard times. Unfortunately, because there’s such a stigma to it, so many people don’t,” she shares.
Jamie isn’t the only one who has benefited from seeking the help of a professional. “I think the therapy really helped both of us understand ourselves and have a better understanding of each other,” Doug shares of his experience. ”
When Jamie’s therapist met with the couple on the last Married at First Sight: The First Year episode, he explained that they were in an “unhealthy cycle.” ” I think the unhealthy cycle for us was not understanding where the other person was coming from,” Doug explains. “Jamie and I grew up in totally different environments and see, think, and react in different ways to different situations. It does not make us right or wrong; it just makes us different. No matter how you grew up, you can’t fault someone else for thinking and acting the way that they do, because you were not in their shoes. Having that understanding helped us grow together as equals.”
Jamie has some encouraging words for Married at First Sight: The First Year viewers who may be caught up in a similar cycle. “My best advice is to sit together and calmly talk,” she shares with The Knot. “Turn off all electronics and TV. No social media or emails. Just be together, holding one another close and chat. Let go of the small things, because life is too short to hold grudges and make a big fuss over trivial problems. Also, have fun together! I guarantee that if you’re in an ‘unhealthy cycle,’ you probably have not had a fun date night in a while. Put that on the calendar pronto. Laughing together can solve a whole slew of problems. ”
Now that Doug has nearly completed his “baby bucket list,” is the couple planning on adding to their family sooner rather than later? “Doug and I are definitely ready for babies! Yes! Finally!” Jamie tells us excitedly. “We both feel ready. We had to go through a lot to be confident in our marriage, but now that we are on the other side, we couldn’t be happier to announce that we cannot wait to become parents!”
“We’d like to have 2-3 and adopt 1 or 2,” she adds. “I had custody of my siblings and was a foster parent for a couple of years when I was younger. Ever since I had to take care of my siblings (who are all absolutely amazing!), I decided I want to adopt in my future. There are so many good kids in need of a loving home, and I hope to one day begin fostering again and eventually adopt a couple of children. Doug is completely on board with me on this!” Jamie says with a smile. “First step to fulfilling these dreams: buy our first home together – we’ve been actively looking for a few months now!”
Just in case Married at First Sight: The First Year viewers were curious if Doug has anything to add: “I am completely on board with this!” he admits. We think they’ll be amazing parents!
If fans have learned anything from the Married at First Sight process, it’s that an initial lack of physical attraction is not necessarily a deal-breaker. “It’s crazy to think I wasn’t immediately attracted to my husband,” Jamie acknowledges. “I mean, look at him!”
“Attraction can grow over time. People don’t realize what they’re missing out on if they judge a book by its cover,” she explains. “When you fall in love with someone, there will be no one else more attractive! My best advice to those who are dating: if you don’t feel sparks and attraction immediately, don’t let that be a deal-breaker. Go on a second or third date. If the sparks still aren’t there, then maybe that’s your sign. But you’d be surprised how sparks and chemistry can grow after a great conversation or a really fun date. Give the guy/girl a chance. If you don’t, you’re only letting yourself down in the end. He/she may be a real catch!”
Along with house-hunting and a desire to be parents, Doug and Jamie have lots of exciting milestones on the horizon. “My first book, Wifey 101: Eveything I Got Wrong After Finding Mr. Right, is going to be released on 6/7/16,” Jamie tells us. Doug is also sharing what he’s excited about in the not-so-distant future. “Jamie having a successful book tour, and continuing to have success with Jamie Otis Spooning Jewelry!” he shares.
Since the Married at First Sight: The First Year cameras have stopped rolling, the couple share what’s different and what has remained the same. “Our relationship is the same on and off-camera,” Jamie tells The Knot. “There really isn’t an adjustment when cameras leave. Just like any relationship, ours constantly needs attention and some TLC to grow; it ebbs and flows. And just like every relationship, we have to work at showing each other we love and care for each other daily.”
“All the small things really add up,” she continues. “For example, when I only have to ask my hubs once to help me clean – that means the world to me. This may be TMI, but Doug really loves it when I initiate intimacy in the bedroom. We’ve learned that doing the small things can really show one another how much we care, and we constantly aim to show each other how much we love one another.”
Doug is also sharing about the post-Married at First Sight: The First Year experience. “It was important for us to stay true to ourselves on and off-camera,” Doug explains, “or else we wouldn’t know if anything was real. Not everyone can do that, and I think that Jamie and I have been able to call each other out if we were ever putting on a ‘different persona.’ The only difference between being on-camera or off-camera is how Jamie goes to the bathroom… when no cameras are around, Jamie leaves the bathroom door wide open.”