The Married at First Sight process is proving to be an emotional whirlwind for the season 3 couples. While one match seems to be falling into a fast and furious love connection, the other two may be chalked up to a case of “she’s just not that into you.”
Neil Bowlus, a 31-year old compliance specialist, was matched with Samantha Role, a 30-year old bank manager, and while viewers can’t help but love them both, we’re not convinced wedded bliss is in their future. In an exclusive interview with The Knot, Bowlus opened up about the match process, his wife’s surprise reaction to him and the common bond they share.
“I was a bit surprised at how emphatic her reaction was,” the new groom divulged of Role’s admittance that she wasn’t physically attracted to him, “but I appreciated her honesty and openness.” Bowlus wasn’t ready to call it quits after that difficult conversation. “It wasn’t the ideal situation,” he admitted, “but that’s the beauty of getting to know someone, you can be far more attracted to one’s soul than just their looks.”
Humor played an important role on the couple’s wedding day, and it carried over to their first night together, when Bowlus strutted his stuff in a red onesie with the words, “big spoon,” on the chest. In a romantic gesture, the groom had a pair of spoons delivered to his bride-to-be before the wedding ceremony, and it seems his plan was to continue the theme in the honeymoon suite. “Yes, in conjunction with the spoons gift on the wedding day, there was also a leopard print onesie for Sam with ‘Little Spoon’ on it,” Bowlus told The Knot when asked if there was a Sam-sized version of the unique outfit. “Hers also has a hood with ears and I’m a bit jealous,” he laughed.
Although a romantic connection wasn’t immediately apparent, Bowlus and Role do share a love for humor, which allowed them to get through their wedding day. “Our silly personalities mesh well together,” Bowlus recalled. “We play off each other’s humor and it helps us have fun in this unconventional setting.”
Unfortunately, humor couldn’t carry the couple through their honeymoon. Bowlus knew his wife’s heart just wasn’t in it. “Even though Sam and I were still getting to know each other,” Bowlus shared, “her tone, inflection, and body language all said she was not into that moment.” The groom knew Role was simply going through the motions. “Her non-verbal communication did not match her words,” he remembered. “And that’s what I picked up on.”
A big concern Bowlus had was finding common ground on the honeymoon, before returning to everyday life. “Forming a connection was the biggest concern I had coming back from the honeymoon,” the groom admitted. “Without a strong bond, our foundation is weak and difficult to build on. It was important to me that we take the time to get to know each other better, feel comfortable and, ultimately move the marriage in a positive direction.”
One way the Married at First Sight experts determined which candidates would be matched was by figuring out how their personalities would work together. “My personality is more reserved and I prefer to observe rather than be the center of attention, especially when meeting new people or in a new setting,” Bowlus told The Knot regarding the differences in his personality and Role’s. “Sam’s personality is open and out there to see within the moment you meet her. We complement each other in this aspect and I can see why the experts matched us together.”
While there have been uncomfortably awkward moments on the show, Bowlus shared that he wouldn’t cut any of them. “Being able to watch from a different perspective is humbling,” he admitted. “You see the good, the bad, and you learn from that. Cutting a scene would detract from the journey and wouldn’t be fair to our story.”
As if living through the awkwardness in real-time wasn’t enough, Bowlus watches the show to learn even more about himself. “It’s odd and surreal seeing myself on TV, but I’m excited that this journey was captured for others to learn from as well,” he acknowledged. “Watching episodes with friends has been great. They have been my support network throughout and they continue to do so. I look forward to watching the next episode with my mother, grandmother, and brother.”
Despite everything Bowlus has been through during the Married at First Sight process, he doesn’t regret any of it. “The sheer amount of growth and knowledge you obtain about one’s self and about marriage is unrivaled in comparison to the vulnerability you expose yourself to,” he shared. We wish him nothing but happiness, and we can’t wait to see what the rest of the season brings!
If you’ve missed any of the full-length episodes of Married at First Sight, you can catch-up anytime on the FYI website. The next episode airs December 22 at 9 p.m. EST on FYI.
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