Amber Bowles was clearly on Married a First Sight to find love and share a lifelong commitment when Season 9 of the arranged marriage experiment embarked from North Carolina. The middle school teacher was instantly smitten with her international basketball-playing husband, Matt Gwynne, from the first time she laid eyes on him.
The pair had immediate physical chemistry from the time they walked back down the aisle as husband and wife. Amber Bowles couldn’t wait to kiss her lanky hubby, and he was pleased that she could make a fine lay-up shot, despite her stature. The couple became an immediate fan favorite, and never lacked for affection, from the front porch swing of their wedding venue to the waters of Antigua, and even though the recently troubled waters of their relationship.
Sometimes, wanting love desperately and giving one’s heart completely still cannot carry a Married at First Sight match to success. Amber Bowles can’t reveal just yet the outcome of Decision Day, but she has discovered lessons about herself that she can carry into her future. She shared her perspectives in an August 14 Newsweek feature and feels that her whole experience was very worthwhile.
Time for real ‘Married at First Sight’ time and trust
Again in this week’s August 14 Episode 11 of Season 9, Matt makes another two-day exit from his wife and their apartment. Once more, she is left sobbing and saying that she is “willing to do anything” to make things work. She relates to therapist, Dr. Viviana Coles, the same conviction. “I’m going to give it my all, until Decision Day,” Amber Bowles vows.
Still, in a separate session with Pastor Calvin bluntly confronts Matt for initially declaring that he and Amber are making a “good foundation.” “Please don’t BS me,” pleads the pastor, who knows that Matt has been MIA for days. Roberson hits hard on the real issues, asking for reasons behind the absence. Those details may have been provided more clearly off-camera. Matt would only say, “it’s been stressful,” and that he needed his own space with filming in progress.
Amber admitted that “I don’t feel married” to Dr. Coles. The therapist insisted that she confront Matt and get the answers she deserves. If the answers are forthcoming, then Amber agreed that she should walk away.
After their individual sessions on the first-ever “commit or quit” day on Married at First Sight, Amber Bowles makes some strides in the area of confrontation, which she hates. She asks whether Matt really wants to commit to their marriage. “I have feelings for you,” he says and insists that he is willing to make her happy. She gets honest about the lack of emotional connection, despite physical chemistry, due to Matt not being home.
Bowles revealed in her interview that her husband “isn’t super motivated to have a traditional job or to have his own place.” That lack of motivation surely may have devastating consequences for any hope of a committed marriage.
Amber’s terms are more than lenient. She requests a text at the beginning of the night and one at the end from her husband when he is away. She also expects him home by 2:30 AM. He correctly commends that her requirements are far more forgiving than most.
Cal Roberson was not as nice. The seasoned expert reminded Gwynne that “We thought you were a good guy, but you’ve been a lousy husband.” With his transient upbringing and free-living career, Matt has no roadmap for a committed relationship. The next few weeks will reveal if he can keep his promises to Amber, so willing to sacrifice for love.
— Married At 1st Sight (@MAFSLifetime) August 15, 2019
Learning to stand firm
“I do regret not standing up for myself more,” Amber Bowles admits. Throughout her Married a First Sight stint, the experts have encouraged her to believe in herself and her value as both a person and a wife. Dr. Pepper Schwartz gave her a mantra of “I can handle it.” The longtime expert also told Gwynne that she would have been much harder on him in light of his abandonment than his newlywed bride.
Amber confesses that “wanting so desperately to make things work” meant that she “didn’t hold him to my standards,” and lowered her bars of expectation frequently. She understands how she and Gwynne were “perfect on paper.” Checking all the right boxes doesn’t always translate in day-to-day life, and tearful nights have stained her dream of marital bliss.
Amber completely feels that the experts “did their job” and “Everything after that is up to us.” She also values a couple who models everything right about working together in marriage, Deonna and Greg, who both reaffirmed their commitment in this week’s episode. She credits the support of her family and friends, who have been there “unconditionally” throughout her experience.
Sometimes painful lessons have to be part of a process. Amber Bowles affirms that she has learned to “love myself and have high standards.” That learning should stay for a lifetime and lead the way to love long after Married at First Sight concludes.
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