Amber Bowles had a tough lesson to learn about self-love during the unconventional early days of her marriage to Matt Gwynne. Ahead of Wednesday's all-new episode of the Lifetime reality show (produced by Kinetic Content), Bowles opened up to PopCulture.com about the ups and downs of marrying a complete strangers ahead of revealing her choice on Decision Day.
"When I first signed up to be matched by the MAFS experts, I was hoping for them to find my lifelong partner," she explained of her reasoning for appearing on the show. "For me, that is someone open to this process and open to growing with a stranger. I was hoping to be matched with someone kind and someone ambitious. I thrive off of creating goals and achieving them, so I wanted someone who had that in common with me. I was never concerned about looks because attraction can grow."
The biggest obstacle she and Matt had throughout the experiment was communication, with which the couple "truly struggled," especially during the times when the former pro athlete would disappear all night and return home without wearing his wedding band.
"I am non-confrontational to the point where I run away from confrontation," Bowles admitted. "Matt is the type of person who does not like to express his feelings or communicate his feelings. Therefore, Matt and I constantly struggled to work through any of our issues because neither one of us were comfortable with initiating a confrontation. We both struggled with having 'deep' talks about the areas of our relationship where we needed to grow. Thank goodness for the experts!"
While she can't give away the choice she made on Decision Day just yet, Bowles' biggest takeaway from the experience was, "I need to put myself first more often."
"I've always felt that putting myself first and loving myself was selfish. However, through this experience, I have learned that I can't maintain a healthy relationship with my partner if I am not willing to put my needs first at times," she explained. "There needs to be a healthy dynamic of giving and taking and not all giving on my side. When there is a healthy balance of give and take in a relationship, that relationship can flourish. "
During last week's Married at First Sight: Unfiltered, Gwynne was confronted by MAFS alum Jamie Otis about his late nights away from his wife, with Otis asking him, "You said just a few weeks ago you would never do this again. What happened?"
"I needed space," Gwynne replied, adding when asked if he was taking marriage seriously, "Marriage is something I'm not very happy in right now, and I'm not really feeling like I want to spend much time with Amber at this time."
"I think it's just her personality at times. It just aggravates me," he added of his wife. "I get annoyed and I get aggravated. She stresses me out. She vibrates at a very different frequency than I do. She worries all the time, and I'm, like, on edge all the time. That's not me. I need to be relaxed and in a good place. I could not take anymore. I was just like, 'I've got to get out of here! I've got to go!'"
"Whether it makes me look bad on TV or it upsets her, I don't care," Gwynne concluded. "I'm going. Like, I'm out! I need to decompress and relax and get back to a good place so I can bring that person back to this marriage."
Married at First Sight (produced by Kinetic Content) airs Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
Photo credit: Lifetime