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13 seasons of MAFS; 3 couples we loved, 3 couples we hated, and 3 couples we didn’t see coming

Kate and Luke meet for the first time at their wedding
Kate and Luke meet for the first time at their wedding Pic credit: Lifetime

13 Seasons, 12 cities, 44 couples matched (49 with the new season), four rounds of relationship experts, and all the love and drama one show can hold — it’s been one wild ride on Married At First Sight.

To celebrate the start of the new season, we are here to count down some of the couples we love, some that we love to hate, and some that we did not see coming.

While it took some time to dig through the archives to narrow down our favorite MAFS fairy tales and horror stories, we were finally able to come up with a list of the top three of each category.

Our first set of couples are the ones that MAFS fairytales are made of, the ones that made us all catch our breath and say, “aww!”

We followed them on their journey of firsts — the first time they met their spouse, the first kiss, the first “I love you,” all the way until the final “I do” on Decision Day. We can’t help but feel a part of their love stories as we celebrate their successes and mourn their struggles.

So here are the top three MAFS couples that we loved to love.

1. Season 12’s Briana and Vincent

MAFS Briana and Vincent smile for promo picture
MAFS Season 12’s golden couple Briana and Vincent. Pic credit: Lifetime

Season 12’s Briana and Vincent Morales were one of those “love at first sight” couples. We loved them, the experts loved them, the fans loved them, and most importantly, they loved them. From the day they met (and married), these two had all eyes on them.

They had instant chemistry that lasted throughout the season and continues on the follow-up specials and Couples Cam episodes.

The two worked hard to incorporate each other into their lives. From Vincent showing Brianna his native culture and teaching her Spanish to the couples combined bike rides, Vincent becoming the number one doggy daddy, this couple had it going on.

Even when the couple had disagreements, they were quickly overcome and worked through with some hard work and solid communication efforts.

Although they were not initially on the same page as far as finances or the time frame they wanted to have children in, they were able to come around and find compromises quickly. It was inspiring to watch.

The couple’s cuteness culminated on Decision Day when Vincent proposed to Brianna with a cheesecake. How very them, of them.

Yes, for these reasons and more, it’s safe to say we love this couple almost as much as they love each other…almost.

2. Season 13’s Bao and Johnny

MAFS Season 13's Bao and Johnny matchmaker photo
MAFS Season 13’s Bao and Johnny. Pic credit: Lifetime

Season 13’s Bao Hoang and Johnny Lam. Okay, okay, we know it’s a little bit early to declare our love for this couple, but isn’t that what Married At First Sight is all about? Putting it all out there for love? So we will throw caution to the wind and say what’s on our hearts, Bao and Johnny, forever. We love this couple.

From their over-the-top neatness to their goofy facial expressions and their spreadsheets and list-making, we can’t help but be charmed by this couple.

Bao’s rags to riches story are also truly inspiring, and the struggles she has overcome make us root for her even more. Give this girl her happy ending!

Johnny and Bao were also both presidents of the Vietnamese student societies at their respective Texas universities. It’s almost like a modern-day, Texas-based Cinderella story or something.

The two met in passing but didn’t know they had met “the one” until Bao showed up in a white dress to walk down the aisle where Johnny waited in his little red tux, and then… they knew. We just can’t. It gives us all the feels.

All Johnny wants in life is someone to smack his butt as he walks by. All Bao wants is someone to help her keep up with her Excel spreadsheets. We hope this couple can be that for each other and make all our (and their) dreams come true.

So while we still have an entire season to go, whether their marriage makes it the distance or not, we are going to say, as of now, Bao and Johnny are still one of our favorite couples.

3. Season 1’s Jamie and Doug

MAFS Jamie and Doug smile for promo picture
Jamie and Doug Hehner were one of the original MAFS couples. Pic credit: Lifetime

Season 1’s Doug and Jamie. An oldie but a goodie. Come on, did you really think we would forget about one of the first and longest-running couples of MAFS? Not a chance. Doug Hehner and Jamie Otis will always have a special place in our hearts.

Not only has the couple stayed married since Season 1 (if you’re doing the math, that’s seven years and counting), but they were one of the true MAFS underdog couples.

On their wedding day, Jamie literally sat on the ground and cried, thinking she had made the biggest mistake of her life. Jamie repeatedly expressed how unattracted she was to Doug, how she felt she had made a mistake, how she wasn’t sure they would even make it until Decision Day, and yet, here they are.

Through it all. Doug leaned in and would not take no for an answer, and eventually, he won Jamie’s and the fans’ hearts.

The couple is now married with two kids and are hopeful for one on the way.

Doug and Jamie are definitely the shining examples of the MAFS process working its magic, and we love watching their love story continue to unfold.

While Jamie and Doug were a couple we adored, there were some other couples that we felt a little less fond of.

So we’ve rounded up three of our least favorite MAFS matchups for our next category.

1.Season 10’s Brandon and Taylor

MAFS Brandon and Taylor
MAFS Season 10’s Brandon and Taylor. Pic credit: Lifetime

Season 10’s Taylor Dunklin and Brandon Reid were possibly one of the worst matches in MAFS history, and that’s why this couple made the top of our hate list. From Brandon’s intense outbursts to Taylor’s trashy Instagram video, this couple had us rolling their eyes all season long.

Even beyond the season, when Taylor revealed on the Reunion Special that she and Brandon had run into each other at a bar following the season finale, and things had gotten physical. The night ended with the once husband and wife spending the night and the next day in jail. Yes, you read that correctly — jail. Both were released and filed restraining orders against each other. Fellow cast members were even called to testify at the court hearing, where the judge awarded both the restraining orders they asked for.

Jail, restraining orders, assault, this is just not the MAFS way.

Not only was this couple not ready for fame, they clearly weren’t a good marriage match. In fact, Brandon was the first and so far ever MAFS cast member to be granted an annulment due to special circumstances. Although given their situation, that was probably for the best.

2. Season 3’s Ashley and David

MAFS Ashley Doherty looks unhappily at her husband
MAFS Ashley Doherty can hardly hide her disappointment. Pic credit: Lifetime

Season 3’s Ashley Doherty and David Norton. Are you having trouble remembering them? Well, that’s probably because watching the couple was about the equivalent of watching paint dry. Let us rephrase that — watching Ashley interact with David was like watching paint dry.

The marriage started with Ashley crying in the bathroom while telling her friends she was not attracted to David and was very disappointed. That moment was honestly both the high point of their marriage and the last time Ashley showed emotion.

David tried his best to win Ashley over, and fans remained hopeful that in the footsteps of Doug and Jamie Hehner, Ashley would come around.

Unfortunately, that never happened for this couple as Ashley remained icy cold towards David the entire season. The couple never even held hands or kissed. At all. The entire season. Ashley continued to lament that she was “giving it her all,” but fans felt that could not be true.

When the couple participated in a Fishbowl Exercise assigned by the experts, Ashley could not come up with one single thing she liked about David, while David read off an entire list of things he liked about her.

Another Fishbowl Exercise had the couple write out their feelings, then share them. David wrote a heartfelt, two-page letter. Ashley wrote one sentence that said something along the lines of “I’m trying my best.” It was hard to watch.

Meanwhile, David also allowed his new bride to quit her job to focus on school while he completely financially supported her. In response, Ashley told David that she had “sacrificed so much to be with him.” But no one could really ever figure out what exactly it was she felt she had sacrificed.

It was a confusing time for all of us, David and fans alike. Finally, the couple reached a breaking point when David reached out to a girl on Facebook asking her out for drinks, and Ashley caught wind of it. Ashley finally had the out she had been looking for, and boy did she jump on it. Despite David’s apologies and explanations, Ashley would have none of it.

The couple finally called it quits on Decision Day while fans heaved a collective sigh of relief.

3. Season 8’s Kate and Luke

Luke Cuccurullo and Kate Sisk
Luke Cuccurullo and Kate Sisk on Married at First Sight. Pic credit: Lifetime

Season 8’s Kate Sisk and Luke Cuccurullo. Salty does not even begin to describe how we feel about this marriage.

Take one great girl, add one bizarre guy, add a healthy dose of gaslighting, shake and stir and you’ve got the cocktail of chaos that was this marriage. Why Luke, just why?

Despite Kate’s most sincere efforts, Luke continued to pull away from her. He would accuse her of having a drinking problem, say that she tried to force him to have sex with her, that she made him uncomfortable, all things that, if true, would be a big surprise to us. Especially since the couple had cameras on them 10 hours out of the day, and not an ounce of that was ever recorded.

Despite all the accusations, Kate kept pushing on with the marriage, hoping things would turn around until Luke had a few accusations come out of his own. Many fan boards were blowing up with the news that Luke’s Facebook, at the time, said he was interested in both men and women and was in a relationship with a man.

When these allegations were brought up during the Reunion Special, Luke vehemently denied them, saying his Facebook status was a joke. Some joke.

Despite his denials, fans and Kate were still not convinced. Regardless of his sexual orientation being the issue or not, there is no doubt Luke could have handled the entire situation very differently.

Finally, Kate and Luke called it quits on Decision Day and went their separate ways. Kate was dating someone new by the reunion special, and we think we can speak for everyone when we say: You go, girl!

These are the three MAFS couples we didn’t see coming.

1. Season 3’s Sam and Neil

MAFS Sam and Neil strike a goofy pose at their wedding
MAFS Season 3’s Sam and Neil strike a goofy pose. Pic credit: Lifetime

Season 3’s Sam Role and Neil Bowlus. Ok, so we know this couple didn’t make it past Decision Day, and that, quite frankly, was no surprise. But the real surprise for us, and the reason they made our list, is the unbelievable friendship and closeness that came out of their marriage.

The couple was rocky from the start. Sam admitted as soon as the wedding day that she was not physically attracted to Neil. She admitted this to him on the honeymoon, where things with the couple went from bad to worse. Sam continued to berate Neil for his laid-back personality, often saying things like “be a man” and “take charge.” Neil continuously told her that he did not appreciate the comments, and yet they continued.

Sam also called Neil “fake,” saying that he was a different person in front of the cameras than in real life. The couple’s fighting continued throughout the season, despite Neil’s attempts at peace. Finally, through working with the experts, Sam began to see the light, that perhaps she was more the problem than Neil was. Sam dove into self-work, and immediately things with the couple began to shift.

Unfortunately, it was too late, and for Neil, the initial issues had colored his view of the relationship to the point that he asked for a divorce on Decision Day. Sam expressed she wanted to stay married, but Neil was unswayed.

But the true surprise of it all was that the couple remained very close friends following the divorce. The couple expressed mutual respect and closeness and remained a large and supportive part of each other’s lives. Sam’s complete 180 and the couple’s ongoing friendship was a delightful surprise for us, the experts, and the fans. The couple demonstrated that even if the marriage itself didn’t work out, the show’s process could still hold a successful outcome.

2. Season 9’s Deonna and Greg

MAFS Deonna and Greg pose for wedding pictures
MAFS Deonna and Greg smile on their wedding day. Pic credit: Lifetime

Deonna and Greg Okotie of Season 9. This couple was a real shocker for us. While the couple didn’t have very many head-on collision fights or knock-down-drag-out disagreements, it didn’t seem like this couple was really all that into each other.

Throughout the season, Deonna seemed to struggle to be physical or intimate with Greg. The couple struggled to hold hands, hug or consummate the marriage. Deonna even asked Greg to tone down his compliments of her.

Despite Greg’s best efforts, Deonna seemed distant and somewhat uninterested throughout most of the season. Deonna did finally come around, and the couple held hands and even more, as the couple just had their first baby.

The couple did decide to stay together and seem to be doing well, despite many fan’s predictions that the couple wouldn’t make it past Decision Day. The couple seemed to lack in passion they made up for in compatibility of long-term goals and plans, and it seems that for these two, that was the magic formula to their success.

3. Season 9’s Beth and Jamie

MAFS Beth and Jamie pose for wedding photos
MAFS Beth and Jamie on their wedding day. Pic credit: Lifetime

Beth and Jamie Thompson, also of Season 9. Beth’s red hair wasn’t the only thing fiery about this duo. This couple did not seem capable of going more than an episode or two without some explosive disagreement. During one of their fights, Beth even flipped a coffee table over, yelling at her husband, Jamie, “I’m sick of this.”

In another incident, Jamie told Beth to “shut up for once” in front of the entire cast while everyone awkwardly looked on. The two seemed like they couldn’t agree on anything, especially in the bedroom, where Jamie felt they weren’t having enough sex and Beth felt like they were having “boring Caucasian sex.”

The couple had fights over almost everything, from Beth’s job working for her father to Jamie’s attitude. The fights seemed explosive and neverending. So it was quite a surprise to fans when the two recommitted to each other on Decision Day and have actually managed to stay together since that time.

The couple picked up and moved from their home in Charlotte, North Carolina, to a new home in Northern California following the season finale. The two have remained together ever since and appear in multiple show’s follow-up specials and Couple’s Cam episodes.

While the couple’s fiery relationship initially seemed unsustainable, it appears the couple has been able to keep it at a controlled burn, allowing them to remain together and, by all appearances, happy. Who knew?

So there it is, MAFS fans, the good, the bad, and the unexpected. While the first 12 seasons have given us a lot to think about, something tells us it will be nothing compared to the current 13th season. Will our list gain a few new couples for each category? We will have to wait and see.

Married at First Sight airs on Wednesdays at 8/7c on Lifetime.