Some of the Married at First Sight season 3 newlyweds have gotten off to a rocky start, but for Vanessa Nelson and Tres Russell, the attraction at the altar was instant. After meeting as strangers on their wedding day, the couple is making it work. The Knot caught up with Nelson, 26, to talk exclusively about romance, finances, and of course… the consummation of her marriage.
“Tres has a patient demeanor and a kind smile,” Nelson acknowledges as she recalls meeting her husband at the altar. “It made me optimistic and relaxed that we had an instant connection.”
One of the drawbacks of marrying a stranger is not having prior knowledge of that person’s quirks and habits, but that doesn’t appear to be a problem for Nelson and Russell. “Tres didn’t have any annoying pet peeves that were deal breakers,” Nelson tells The Knot. “One thing that we did discuss with [show expert] Dr. Logan was how to create intimacy through living together.” Merging lifestyles has proven to be a challenge for the newlyweds. “Tres doesn’t like to share bathrooms and I really wanted to because it helps create closeness and getting used to each other.”
One concern the couple discussed on Married at First Sight is keeping the romance alive. “Romance is a big plus for me and something that I look for in a potential mate,” Nelson acknowledges. “Tres has a romantic side to him.” We were curious as to how romance has played a part in the couple’s everyday lives. “He brought me flowers every week during our process,” the new bride tells us. “I appreciated him thinking of me and going the extra mile to make me feel special.”
But all the best love stories have their pitfalls. “We celebrated my birthday during the process, and there was an epic fail,” Nelson shares. “It may be shown on an upcoming episode.”
Nelson is more reserved on the show, while her husband is much more open. “We express ourselves differently and I do appreciate him being positive,” the newlywed says about her husband’s candor. “I do value our privacy when it comes to our physical intimacy. I believe we have both helped each other open up.”
Despite Nelson’s desire for privacy, viewers were treated to a sneak peek of the next episode, when Russell admits the couple has consummated their marriage. “During this process I felt it was important to consummate our marriage,” the bride recalls. “While trying to learn a lot about my match in a limited amount of time, sexual compatibility is also one of those things.” And Nelson is not as shy as she may be depicted on the show. “As a mature woman who is comfortable with my sexuality, I felt comfortable and made the decision for myself.”
We were curious as to how the couple spends their time together when they are not on camera. “Tres and I both love movies,” Nelson tells The Knot. “Tres loves being active, so we take time to walk Nola around the neighborhood to wind down after a long day of work.”
While Nelson and Russell have settled seemingly well into married life, the other two Married at First Sight couples — Ashley Doherty and David Norton and Sam Role and Neil Bowlus — are having difficulty adjusting. “I am not surprised as every couple is different and this situation is highly stressful,” Nelson explains when comparing her relationship to the other newly married couples. “There is always the possibility that you may not be attracted to the match the experts chose for you.” But she believes there’s still potential. “I believe that attraction can grow. Physical attraction is a plus but I was really looking for someone who had a great personality and was really compatible with me.”
The Married at First Sight process has proven highly controversial. Many people believe modern day arranged marriages are destined for failure while others feel success is possible. “I would recommend this process to others if they had a strong sense of what they needed from a partner and didn’t have expectations,” Nelson explains. “The drawbacks are that it’s highly stressful and emotions are always heightened.”
Despite the drawbacks, the newlywed seems to have learned a lot about herself throughout the process. “The experts do their best to make matches, but the best part is learning a lot about yourself and how to be better at relationships.”
Catch Married at First Sight airing Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on FYI.