Eight weeks of marriage down, and potentially many more ahead. Ahead of Married at First Sight‘s season finale on July 27, the six Chicago-based participants tell The Knot what they’ve learned from the experience and how other newlywed couples can thrive regardless of circumstances. Read below.
Danielle Degroot and Cody Knapek
Despite an initial spark, Danielle and Cody struggled to maintain a physical connection throughout the season. Danielle says opening up is key to maintaining a healthy relationship. “When you don’t communicate, assumptions get made,” she says. “You think you know what the other person is feeling, but you’re probably projecting your own thoughts and emotions onto them.”
Instead, she encourages couples to be receptive. “Listening to understand versus listening to reply is a huge skill,” the dietician, 30, says. “You may not always agree with each other but if you can understand each other, that will take you a long way.”
Cody agrees that disagreements are bound to happen. “It’s easy after a fight or a disagreement to feel like your spouse is against you, [but] that isn’t the case at all,” he notes. “Work together to make each other happy, and remember why you got married in the first place.”
Sheila Downs and Nate Duhon
The couple enjoyed explosive chemistry from the onset of their marriage, which eventually resulted in heated arguments and hurtful words. “Anything worth having is worth fighting for, so roll up your sleeves and get to work,” Downs, a 31-year-old operations manager, says.
Nate, a 26-year-old business manager, reminds newlyweds that no one is perfect. He says, “We all have our challenges to overcome, and the more you are able to openly discuss things with your partner, the easier it is to come to a resolution.”
Ashley Petta and Anthony D’Amico
This duo agrees that talking things out is essential. “Even when you don’t fully understand someone’s point of view and need to take some time away from the situation, always come back and make sure that, at the very minimum, you understand where they’re coming from,” Anthony, a 33-year-old marketing professional, says. “Being open is always better than being closed.”
Ashley, a restaurant manager, 30, adds: “I believe if you can learn how to communicate effectively with your spouse, you can overcome just about anything.”
Find out whether the participants opted to stay together or go their separate ways on the Married at First Sight finale, airing Thursday, July 27, at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.