Becoming a parent for the first time is a daunting task for anyone, but for Shawniece Jackson and Jephte Pierre, there's been the added layer of their ongoing relationship issues.
In Tuesday's episode of Married at First Sight: Happily Ever After? (produced by Kinetic Content), the new dad opened up about how welcoming daughter Laura just a couple months prior had affected his relationship with his wife, which had dissolved to the point of separation early on in Jackson's pregnancy.
"The baby came so early in the relationship, and we put a lot of feelings on hold," he admitted to expert Pastor Cal. "I love her, but I don't feel like I'm in love with her, which is difficult, because when she sees me and how I love the baby, it's instant. I know it has to be hard for her to watch that."
When asked to clarify what not feeling "in love" means, Pierre continued, "I see the fact, and I value and respect the fact that she is a good person, but when it comes to my heart being completely in it, it's more of a commitment than it is, for me, a feeling."
Pastor Cal challenged Pierre to focus on the positives in his marriage in order to "rewire" the negative thinking the couple has been going through recently, reminding him that a longterm relationship with a partner sometimes relies on that deeper commitment rather than in-the-moment feelings.
"I really want my marriage to succeed," Pierre agreed. "Shawniece is a wonderful woman, and I don't want to lose her."
Jackson was more than aware of where her husband's feelings lie, she revealed to Dr. Jessica Griffin, saying she often cried when seeing how he doted on their daughter and dog with his love while leaving her at more of an arm's length.
"He's an amazing father," she noted. "He said he's been the happiest in two months that he's been in his entire life, and I was like, 'Really?'"
Pastor Cal noted, "Everything's magnified when the baby comes. If you're having issues before the baby comes, the baby comes and for a short time will hide those issues, because you're feeling good about the baby. But then after a while, it's all magnified."
In the end, the pair told the experts in couple's counseling that although their relationship was a "work in progress," the two were willing to "do everything" to make sure they came through it together.
Married at First Sight: Happily Ever After? (produced by Kinetic Content) airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
Photo Credit: Instagram/Shawniece Jackson