13 seasons, 12 cities, 44 couples matched (49 including Season 13) and the question still remains…does Married at First Sight work?
Is this modern matchmaking experiment an effective way to get a spouse, or is it all for show?
Well, let’s take a look at the numbers and see just how effective Married at First Sight actually is.
The number of MAFS couples that are still together
There are currently 12 couples from the show that are still together.
That number might change, however, as Jephte Pierre and Shawniece Jackson of Season 6 have recently reported that their marriage is on the rocks. But since the couple has not yet announced a divorce filing, we will keep them included in the “still together” column, even if it is just for the moment.
That number could actually go down some more if the rumors surrounding fan favorite of Season 11, Bennett Kirschner and Amelia Fatsi are true. Rumor has it the couple has split, but no official announcement has been made, and Bennett refuses to break his silence around the status of his marriage. So until there is an official divorce announcement, we will leave this couple in the “together” pile, too.
Until this month there were actually 14 couples still together, but this month not only brought the premiere of Season 13, it also brought the demise of two of the Married at First Sight Season 12 couples. Erik Lake and Virginia Coombs, and Ryan and Clara Oubre, announced plans for their impending divorces this month.
Of the couples still together, the longest-running is all the way back from the show’s very first season: Doug Hehner and Jamie Otis. Doug and Jamie are the stuff of MAFS fairy tales, a true underdog story. The couple initially seemed like they had little to no chance of making it. Following the wedding ceremony, Jamie sank to the ground in tears, convinced she had just made the biggest mistake of her life, stating she was not at all attracted to the man she had just married.
Doug did not let this deter him. He worked overtime to show Jamie he was a trustworthy, loyal and good guy, and before long, he had won both Jamie’s and the fans’ hearts. The couple has been together seven years and counting and their family has expanded to two, and hopefully soon three, children. The couple shows how successful the MAFS process can be if the individuals in it are willing to open their hearts and their minds to the possibility of love, even if it looked a little differently than they had initially imagined.
Other couples that have stayed together include Season 12’s Briana and Vincent Morales, Season 5’s Anthony D’Amico and Ashley Petta, Season 7’s Danielle Bergman and Bobby Dodd, Season 8’s Stephanie Sersen and Aj Vollmoeller, Season 8’s Kristine Killingsworth and Keith Dewar, Season 9’s Deonna McNeill and Gregory Okotie, Season 9’s Elizabeth Bice and Jamie Thompson, Season 10’s Jessica Studer and Austin Hurd, Season 11’s Amani and Woody, and Miles and Karen, also of Season 11.
The number of couples that have divorced
July was a rough month for the MAFS couples: two divorces and two possible soon to be divorces in one month! Even long-lasting, OG fan favorites Jamie and Doug Hehner admitted to having a rough patch in their marriage this month.
The show’s success rate has been an ongoing debate among fans and experts alike. Especially since there were even some seasons where no couples stayed together at all, including Seasons 2, 3, and 4. Following the unsuccessful seasons, the show went through several relationship expert changes, in hopes of more promising results. However, even after all the changes, the most recent season, Season 12, had a final couple count of just one, Briana and Vincent Morales. Watch
ing this past season was a bit like watching the Willie Wonka chocolate factory tour — couples began dropping off one by one, until there was only one left.
So, what is the verdict on the show’s success rate?
The show’s rate of success
With the conservative estimate of 12 couples still together out of a total of 44, the final percentage rate of success is 27 percent, so less than half. If we calculate with the two on-the-verge couples going the way of a divorce, then the final count will be 10 couples out of 44, giving us a percentage of 22.73 percent. So it is safe to say the show has a 20 – 30 percent success rate, leaning towards 20 percent.
So with a national average success rate of marriage only being 50 percent, does that make the show less successful than meeting someone the old-fashioned way? Or does it even out between the cameras, the matchmaking, and the stress of going from very single to very married in 24-hour period?
It’s hard to say, but with five new couples being matched in the current 13th season, perhaps the numbers will skew in the process’s favor. If all five couples in the new season stay together, with the two on-the-fence couples also staying together, it will give the show a success rate of 34 percent. Now we are talking!
But although the show’s numbers may not accurately portray it, the show itself seems to be a success. Even the couples who don’t stay together often walk away saying they’ve learned something about themselves, what they want out of a relationship, and more about the type of person they do want to be and be with.
Even if the show isn’t at 100 percent success rate of couples, with the fans, it is always batting 1000.
But even so, it would be nice if the show’s numbers could match its value, so let’s all cross our fingers that the current season will be successful and bring the MAFS success rate to its highest yet!
Married at First Sight airs on Wednesdays at 8/7c on Lifetime.