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‘Married at First Sight’ Recap: One Couple Decides Whether to Stay Together or Get a Divorce

Six weeks into most relationships, the couple are still keeping things light: dinners, movies, maybe the occasional sleepover. The Married at First Sight couples, on the other hand, are deciding whether or not they want to get divorced. With D-day looming in the season 3 finale’s first part on Tuesday, February 23, the three newlywed pairs were growing increasingly reflective of their time together, and while some knew exactly what they wanted to do, others were still (woefully) undecided about the fate of their marriage.

Sam Role and Neil Bowlus

Ever since Neil Bowlus returned from his solo trip to Las Vegas, it seemed that Sam Role’s opinion of him had changed completely. Her tough exterior had cracked, revealing a softer, sweeter wife beneath. They headed to Savannah, Georgia, for what Sam hoped would be a second honeymoon.

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“I am going to do everything I can to show him that we can make this marriage work,” she said to the camera, sheer determination in her voice. “I am being entirely vulnerable because we had a good weekend, and I need him to know in all honesty that I do not want to divorce.”

Neil, on the other hand, was conflicted about whether to continue their union. “I really have to sit and think about how I’m feeling emotionally,” he told the camera. He implied they had become more intimate as of late, but didn’t get into specifics.

“The changes that Sam has made, it makes it difficult coming into decision day,” he reflected. “She’s been able to open up and communicate. It’s great. I’m enjoying this side of Sam.” Still, he confessed to his mom that he was fearful there was “too much damage already done.”

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His fears weren’t unfounded. A montage of their six-week ride recapped some of their rough patches, including Sam rejecting his wedding-night onesie pajamas, their throw-down fight on their honeymoon, their struggle with finding a place to live and Neil telling Sam from Vegas that he doesn’t miss her.

But it caught some nice moments as well: Neil and Sam messing around at the Sky Gym, Neil bringing her thoughtful gifts from Las Vegas, their romantic weekend getaway to Savannah.

“Sam is learning more and more why she and Neil were matched. He is a rock,” explained Dr. Logan Levkoff. “She could never be married to someone as high-intensity as she is.” Whether Neil was learning why he and Sam were matched, however, remained more uncertain.

Tres Russell and Vanessa Nelson

Like Neil and Sam, Tres Russell and Vanessa Nelson found themselves on different pages. She knew she wanted to stay married. He wasn’t so sure.

“I’m scared because I’ve fallen in love with Tres, and I’ve been left before, and it hurts,” Vanessa lamented to the camera. Still, Tres was doing his best to keep their relationship on the upswing despite his doubts, gifting her roses and a bracelet (which she very much appreciated) on their last official night together.

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Chatting with one of his friends, Tres confessed, “There is a ton of pressure, honestly. It’s a tough process.” Meanwhile, Vanessa caught up with her sister, who noted that Vanessa looked “tired.” Not knowing where Tres was going to land was taking its toll.

A highlight reel of their trip from the altar to this moment included Vanessa’s joy at finding her wedding dress, their instant physical attraction, her repeated questioning of whether he was really committed to this marriage, Vanessa storming off and spending the night in her own apartment and their romantic getaway. (They left out the part where Tres’ face blew up in hives.)

David Norton and Ashley Doherty
Norton and Doherty

David Norton and Ashley Doherty

Perhaps more than any other couple, David Norton and Ashley Doherty had a rocky road. From Ashley’s insistence that she wasn’t attracted to David (at all), to David (allegedly) asking another woman out on a date, these two struggled to find common ground over their month and a half together.

“David is nice, he’s respectful, he’s kind, but he did break my trust. Things are getting a little bit better. I just don’t know where to go from here,” Ashley sighed to the camera.

David, however, remained his optimistic self. “Ashley’s great,” he told the camera. “I know I messed up once or twice so far. I am worried it is too late, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes to save this marriage. I’m doing everything that I can to give her just enough reason to stay married.” He went on to argue, “We owe it to ourselves, how far we’ve come, how much we’ve put into this relationship, to keep trying.”

There was a glimmer of hope, perhaps, when Ashley told her friend, “I wanted to give [David] the benefit of the doubt, and I did.” She also noted how much she appreciates that he was always “respectful and considerate and kind.”

The night before their big decision, David told his wife he was more nervous than on the day they got married, and Ashley said she understood.

“These two are polar opposites in a lot of ways, but ideally, they can use each other to meet in the middle,” Levkoff explained.

David and Ashley Decide the Fate of Their Marriage

David and Ashley looked stressed beyond belief as they sat down on the couch across from Levkoff and Dr. Joseph Cilona to announce what they had each decided. Ashley began by praising David’s ability to stay upbeat even through the tough times, and then David said his peace.

“There is love here, and it exists. I know it because I’ve felt it. Maybe you haven’t felt it, but I’ve felt it,” he told Ashley before adding, “You know that I want to stay married. You know that’s my decision.” She looked at him rather stone-faced, and finally replied.

“I think that you’re a good person, and I think we did grow a lot throughout this process. I definitely see why we were matched, and I never questioned that,” she revealed. “I really tried my best, and I gave this my all. As hard as it was for me the first couple of weeks, I really wanted it to work. I think the best option for us is to get a divorce.” David looked understandably crushed.

“This was really hard, and it’s not a decision that I came to easily, but I don’t have the same feelings. I wish I did, but I don’t,” Ashley added. When Cilona asked her to explain what she thought had gone wrong, Ashley cited the breakdown of trust.

“If you truly felt this strongly with me, I don’t know why the social media situation exists,” she replied. “I felt so betrayed and disrespected. It’s a hard place to come back from. This didn’t work for many reasons.” David argued that Ashley was just making excuses, sighing, “It’s clear she checked out a long time ago.”

Tell Us: Do you think David and Ashley made the right decision?

Married at First Sight airs on FYI on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST.

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