If you’ve been following season 3 of Married at First Sight, you have most likely formed an opinion of each participant. And if we’ve learned anything over the past several weeks, it’s that first impressions can certainly be misleading.
When viewers were first introduced to 30-year-old bank manager, Sam Role, they enjoyed her sense of humor and quirkiness. But when Sam met Neil Bowlus, her Married at First Sight match, fans were turned off by her reaction to him.
Role’s revelations and shift in attitude on the show have led to her becoming a fan favorite. Once again, The Knot is catching up with the newlywed in a refreshingly uplifting exclusive interview.
“I really did have a complete turn around when it came to Neil!” Role admits. “I’ve always said since day one that my best relationships begin with a guy I’m not initially attracted to. Although it may not seem like that on the show at times, I was giving my all to this experiment. I took the advice and homework from the experts to heart.”
We are thrilled that Role has had a change of heart, but we were curious as to what inspired it. “When it shifted for me was when Neil and I came home from work one day, and he and I were exhausted,” Role says. “During the documentation, Neil was pretty go with the flow. One day, something happened and something took over him, and he stood up for himself with a tone I’d never heard.”
“I remember being in the garage of our home with him, and looking at him and saying I was so proud of him,” she goes on, “and I didn’t know where that voice came from, but it was pretty awesome. In that moment I knew that he really was the match for me. It was something about how he took charge and stood firm with his feelings. It was amazing and very sexy.”
Married at First Sight viewers were instantly intrigued by Bowlus’ kindness and calm demeanor, and he’s apparently grown on his wife, too. “The best quality he has is that he truly has the patience of a saint,” Sam tells us. “Not just with me, but in general. I envy that so much. He made me want to become a better person just in that one instance. It was such a small action, but such a big impact on how I viewed him.”
Early in the Married at First Sight experiment, the new bride told The Knot that she did not find her husband physically attractive. We just had to ask if her initial reaction has since changed. “My physical attraction to Neil has definitely changed,” Role admits. “I find things that were once quirky to be cute and sexy. His glasses make him look sexy, his laugh, his smile, everything about him that I didn’t notice before is now what I admire the most about him physically.”
One concern we had is that Bowlus’ feelings for his wife may have diminished throughout the Married at First Sight experiment. We asked Role if that was a worry for her as well. “During the honeymoon, Neil told me he didn’t find me attractive either,” Role admits to The Knot. “In that moment, I wasn’t concerned because I was right there with him. As soon as Neil began to see the changes and steps I was making to really make things work, he really seemed to warm up to me again.”
“During the fishbowl activity, he told me he thought I was pretty,” she goes on. “I felt like that was a step forward in the right direction, and my actions and behaviors had made him see that spark again.”
“He also told me he was in this for the long haul, and that he was 100% committed to making this relationship work,” Role explains. “I was so appreciative of that because of how horrible I treated him the first few weeks. His commitment to making it work only made me want to work harder to be a better wife to my husband.”
On the latest episode of Married at First Sight, Bowlus was preparing to leave for Las Vegas for a family member’s wedding. Role was unable to make the trip, and we wondered if that bothered her. “I wasn’t disappointed, per say, that I didn’t get to go with Neil to Vegas,” she admits, “because I knew I was going to plan a surprise for him when he got home, so that made me excited!”
So, did absence make the heart grow fonder when her husband was away? “Absence did make my heart grow fonder, as you will soon see!” Role tells us.
Bowlus and Role moved into a new, gorgeous house on a recent Married at First Sight episode. We asked what the biggest difference has been since moving in together. “We became closer intimately in the sense of waking up every morning together, getting dressed for work, and making each other coffee in the morning,” she says. “Really, just feeling more like husband and wife!”
We had to give it a shot and ask Role if she and her hubby have kissed. “Hmmmm…. I don’t know, have we?!” she laughs. “Guess you will all have to wait and see!”
Role recently asked Bowlus to be a “noodle” in bed, and she rubbed his face in a joking manner. We asked her if she considered her actions flirting. “I was definitely flirting with Neil in both situations!” she admits. “Did you see him in those glasses? So freaking cute!”
During a deep conversation with her best friend and roommate, Sammie, Role admitted that she planned to stay with her husband beyond the six-week experiment. The comment surprised Married at First Sight viewers, prompting many to ask what had changed. “I can see why it surprised the viewers,” Role laughs, “but I had said that I wanted my marriage to continue several times before that conversation; it just wasn’t aired. I don’t believe in divorce, and I went into this adamantly telling myself that no matter what hiccups happened along the way, that I would not want a divorce at the end of the six weeks.”
“I also remember saying I was ‘indifferent’ when Dr. Pepper had asked us early on if we were committed to the marriage,” she goes on. “It was a rough few weeks for us at that point, and I was extremely upset with Neil in that moment. Looking back, I knew I was still committed, but my selfish actions wouldn’t allow me to say it out loud. That’s another thing that I changed about myself. No matter how upset I may be, I say how I feel in a kind and respectful way, because being mean isn’t fair or appropriate to the other person no matter what the circumstances.”
On a Married at First Sight episode, Role took Bowlus to the aerial gym she frequents. Although they haven’t had a chance to return yet, she tells us it was a bonding experience for them. “I didn’t realize how big of a bonding experience it was for him until I watched the episode,” she explains. “After we finished with the filming in the gym, he and I stayed behind and I introduced him to my friends, and we talked about coming back to the gym in the future. But it was just so awesome to sit there on the floor with him and hang out with myself and my friends.”
So, what other activities do the newlyweds enjoy as a couple? “Neil and I do plenty of other things as a couple as you soon will see!” Role teases. “One thing I can say, is that I made him dinner one night. It was a dinner I told him I loved cooking. I made tilapia and pilaf rice, but it’s the way that I make the tilapia. I told him about this meal early on into our marriage. I personally always wanted to be the wife who would have dinner prepared for her husband when he came home from work. So, one day I surprised him by making him this tilapia dinner I had bragged about. I set the table and lit candles and put flowers on the table to make it romantic. He came home and he loved it! Doing small things like eating dinner together as a couple are extremely important to me. I see it as a form of intimacy and love.”
Role has recently posted photos on social media of herself with the other Married at First Sight season 3 brides. We wondered what the new relationships mean to her, and if the ladies have grown to be friends. “Absolutely!” she is quick to say. “Myself and the other Married at First Sight ladies have become close.”
“I told both Vanessa and Ashley the other day that we are like MAFS sorority sisters,” she explains. “We share a bond that, unless you have gone through this experience as well, you will never know what it truly is like. I love them both very much and hope that we continue to become closer even after this televised chapter in our book ends. I also love [former Married at First Sight participants] Jamie, Cortney, and Monet. All three have been there for me.”
“These relationships mean a lot to me,” Role says of her newfound friends. “We all have our best friends and family, but no one (but the previous couples of Married at First Sight) will ever know what we went through and how we got there.”
We asked Role if she and Bowlus have went on double dates with other Married at First Sight newlyweds. “No double dates just yet,” she admits, “but hopefully soon!”
Viewers have been less-than-friendly with Role on social media. We asked if the comments have shifted since her change of heart and what she thinks of the fan reactions. “Less than friendly is an understatement!” Role laughs, “but yes, it has shifted dramatically. So much so that some fans of Married at First Sight are starting to apologize to me for being so mean.”
“It’s kind of shocking honestly,” she admits, “but I knew what was coming in reference to me and Neil’s relationship. I just had to take it in stride. Luckily, Neil, my best friend Sammie, and the experts were always there supporting me, ensuring that I remember that there was a light at the end of the tunnel that soon the fans would see.”
“When it comes to the positive comments and fans who have been kind since day one, I appreciate them and all the support that they’ve always given me more than words could express,” Role tells The Knot. “I’m not sure that, as a viewer, I would’ve been as kind or loyal.”
“As far as the negative comments, I understand,” she says openly. “People become emotionally invested into this show, and it’s almost like they’re living it with us. I can’t judge them or their comments. If I did, then I would only be doing the same thing that they are doing to me on social media. Not to mention, some of the negative comments are right. Watching the show at times made me feel the same way about myself as they did.”
So, do fans recognize Role while she’s out and about? “Yes. It’s still kind of foreign to me, though,” she explains. “When a complete stranger comes up to you and knows your name, and they tell you how much they love you and your father and mother. It’s still kind of funny!”
We were curious as to what the strangest thing she’s been asked may be. “I wouldn’t say it’s the ‘strangest’ question, but I get asked if I REALLY got married… Trust me, it is a real marriage filed at the courthouse and all!”
And of course, we had to ask the Married at First Sight newlywed what she is asked most often. ‘”Are you still together?”‘ she tells us. Hey, that’s just what we were thinking!
With “Decision Day” coming up on February 23, we asked Role if viewers will be surprised by her ultimate choice. “I’m not sure really. Maybe?” she replies, not giving us any hints.
But can she say she’s happy with her choice now that Married at First Sight is over? “ABSOLUTELY!” she immediately says. “I wouldn’t change my decision to this day. It was the right one to make!”
And was the decision difficult for her? “Not at all.”
Did Sam and Bowlus agree on their choice prior to “Decision Day?” “You’re going to have the wait and see!” (She’s killing us here!)
To wrap things up, we asked the Married at First Sight bride what advice she would give to herself if she knew back then what she knows now. “Sam, shut up and listen!” she laughs. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it at all! Oh, and brush your hair and put on some mascara at least!”
Don’t miss Married at First Sight, airing Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on FYI.