Each week, Married at First Sight: The First Year viewers follow the lives of two newlywed couples who are navigating through the ups and downs of marriage. But perhaps the most intriguing couple of all is Neph Rodriguez and Jasmine Gaona. The Knot caught up with Rodriguez for an exclusive interview to learn more about his relationship with Gaona, his recent home purchase and plans for the future.
Rodriguez has been best friends with Jason Carrion since the first grade and was the best man at his Married at First Sight wedding to Cortney Hendrix. He met Gaona during a trip to Las Vegas for Carrion and Hendrix’s vow renewal ceremony.
On a recent Married at First Sight: The First Year episode, Rodriguez broke the news to Gaona that he put an offer on a house in Brooklyn while she was out of state visiting her family. Not only did he submit an offer; it was also accepted. After sharing his news, Gaona was disappointed she wasn’t included in the decision. “I think in retrospect I definitely could [have] involved Jasmine way more in the process of purchasing the house,” Rodriguez tells The Knot. “My fear at the time was missing out on the property since the real estate market in Brooklyn moves very, very fast. Having said that, hindsight is always 20/20, so I could of Skyped her in the house or done something along those lines to get her familiar with it before making my offer.”
Did Rodriguez’s decision not to tell Gaona about the house have anything to do with having an uncertainty about the future of their relationship?
“When I bought the house, I definitely took into consideration a lot of the things Jasmine was looking for in a house (such as the walk in closet),” he shares. “I wanted it to be a house we could both grow into. Was there a tiny piece in the back of my mind that thought things could fall apart between us? Of course, but what relationship doesn’t have that?”
“Before her, I was married,” Rodriguez explains. “And through that divorce, I learned a lot about life, and that’s what made me realize the risk of that is always present. What I took more from that was that it’s truly on the couple themselves to communicate properly in order to keep the relationship together.”
On the latest episode of Married at First Sight: The First Year, Rodriguez and Gaona went on a double date with Carrion and Hendrix and Rodriguez told their friends that he had purchased a new home. Carrion joked that his buddy had always “wanted the picket fence and a house in Brooklyn.” With that done, what’s next on Rodriguez’s bucket list? “Honestly… babies,” he laughs. “With my ex-wife, I raised her twin daughters for three years, and in that time learned that being a father was where I was happiest.”
“I know Jasmine is very much into the idea of marriage, and I’m totally understanding of that,” he acknowledges. “So maybe I gotta give her the marriage so she can give me the babies,” he jokes. “I mean, I guess we could start with a puppy first, though.”
After meeting Gaona in Las Vegas, Rodriguez began a long-distance relationship with her. After dating long-distance, Gaona moved from Texas to be with him. Did her level of commitment scare him at all? “I think initially when we were talking, I was scared,” he shares with The Knot. “I was afraid to make the jump again into a serious relationship, so I definitely wanted to make sure that I was 100% on board emotionally so that if/when she did come, I would be able to give her everything.”
“I think if anything, I feel fortunate and lucky to know that I’m worth relocating to a new city and a new life for,” he tells us. “Or maybe she’s just a fan of the Brooklyn cannolis and pizza. I can’t say I’d blame her.”
While there may be big changes happening to their relationship in the near future, Gaona is still adjusting to living in the city with help from Rodriguez.
“I think the biggest one for her when she moved was definitely getting her used to the subway system,” he shares. “When she would visit before moving, I’d Uber us places in order to impress her; those Uber black cars are swanky,” he says with a laugh. “When she moved here and I explained that Uber was kind of expensive to go to the city everyday, she was definitely resilient. We started with one train to a location, and then finally I got her comfortable with changing trains to get to somewhere by herself.”
“Another experience that really helped her learn how [to live] in New York was during her first trip in New York City,” Rodriguez recalls. “We went to a Broadway show of Aladdin, and after [we] ate at the Brooklyn Diner on 42nd street. After dinner, she was looking at dessert and wanted to split a cheesecake. “Will you split a cheesecake with me?” she asked. “A cheesecake?” Rodriguez replied. “Yea, it says 12 dollars for a cheesecake, and I don’t wanna eat a whole cheesecake.” Gaona told him. “Jasmine, that’s for one slice,” he explained. “Twelve dollars for one slice?!” she asked him innocently. “Welcome to New York,” he laughed.