The Married at First Sight decision day is just hours away, and hope for this season's three couples is fading fast.
In last week's episode, Molly Duff and Jonathan Francetic decided to throw in the towel on their marriage, declaring it "over" prior to the big day. Even the couples that appeared to be doing well over the past few weeks — Shawniece Jackson and Jephte Pierre and Jaclyn Schwartzberg and Ryan Buckley — have come up against stumbling blocks going into decision day.
Marriage expert and Married at First Sight relationship guide Pastor Calvin Roberson, known as Pastor Cal to his couples, told PopCulture.com exclusively that it's only natural for the pressure of the relationship deadline to stir up new drama and old issues in these married pairs.
"It's always a lot of pressure, and this is a very difficult thing" he told PopCulture. "It's so much more than you expect."
Despite the challenges facing the couples ahead of decision day, Pastor Cal said he believes that all of them can make it work if they focus on communicating "openly and honestly" with one another.
"I mean, imagine you're being asked to be completely open with a person that you just met at the altar for the first time in your life," he told PopCulture. "That's a huge challenge. Most traditional marriages find it hard to be open with people they've been dating for years."
Even Duff and Francetic, he added.
"We do know that Jon and Molly are having a particularly difficult time right now," he admitted, "They need to find that sweet spot, find that place where they both can be completely and totally trusting of each other, but it's very difficult for them."
Watching the tape Francetic released of his wife berating him after a night out, calling him "disgusting," Pastor Cal didn't see the shocking footage as the necessary end of a marriage.
"The words were harsh. America saw that the words were harsh," he explained to PopCulture. "But I believe that when you're out and emotions get involved, there are a lot of things going on with her also. It was the anniversary of her father's death, and she didn't share that with John, so her emotions were all over the place. So, I think what you saw there was the culmination of all those feelings and emotions just coming together."
He doesn't defend the words in the tape, he said, but understands where the emotions were coming from. "We never encourage anyone to use harsh and degrading language for people in general ... but at her heart, she's a very sweet person. She got caught at a very bad time, and that did not look good."
"Our couples have cameras on them 40-50 hours a week, and if any of us, any traditional marriage, had cameras on them from morning 'til noon for literally six days a week, we'd all look a little crazy," he told PopCulture, laughing.
So, despite what has happened so far this season, Pastor Cal said fans shouldn't count anyone out just yet.
"Going into the finale, you can expect a lot of emotions, a lot of drama," he told PopCulture. "I always believe that marriage brings with it a certain amount of intense drama even without cameras, so I think there's going to be a lot of surprises ... you can look for a rollercoaster of emotions there."0comments
Don't miss the Married at First Sight decision day, airing Tuesday, April 24, at 9 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
Photo credit: Lifetime