Couple excited for life after being ‘Married at First Sight’

Staff Writer

 Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner HOWELL — After a very public and unique social experiment, the cameras have stopped rolling and Howell native Doug Hehner has found what he was looking for: love and a happy marriage.

Hehner, 31, was recently featured on the FYI network’s TV show “Married at First Sight.” Four relationship experts chose six people — three couples — who they believed were the perfect match for one another. The twist to the show was that each couple met for the first time just minutes before they exchanged marriage vows.

Hehner, who is a graduate of Howell High School and a member of the school’s Hall of Fame for his athletic achievements, was matched with Jamie Otis, 27, a labor and delivery nurse from New York.

Through nine episodes of the series that were filmed during the first five weeks of their marriage earlier this year, Hehner and Otis experienced their share of ups and downs.

“Married at First Sight” aired this summer. On the 10th and final episode that was broadcast earlier this month, when they were given the opportunity to file for a divorce or to stay married, the couple decided to remain together.

In an interview on Sept. 18, Hehner and Otis said they viewed the social experiment as a very positive experience.

“You never really can tell how to act and reflect on what we went through, but I think, through watching the series, it is pretty neat to go back, watch all that we have been through and see how far we have come,” Hehner said.

The couple said they have some fun plans for their future.

“We definitely are working on finally getting a place to call our own, hopefully in a nice, suburban-like community. We also want to get a new puppy and maybe turn spooning into making a family someday,” Hehner said.

Hehner and Otis said that, during their participation on “Married at First Sight,” they learned a great deal about each other and about themselves.

“I think the biggest thing I learned from Doug is that I tend to always be so serious, and he showed me it is OK to let your guard down and have fun with life. In the past, I always had a checklist of what I needed to do,” Otis said.

Hehner said the biggest lesson that he learned from the social experiment had to do with communication and how to interact effectively with one another.

“The experiment has taught me that communication is key to building and maintaining a good relationship and staying comfortable with each other during the experiment as we started living together,” he said.

When asked if there was anything he would have changed about the experience, Hehner said he would not change much, but he would have liked some more off-camera time when Otis met his family.

“The entire experiment worked out in our favor, because if we did meet before we got married, it might have been different. The cameras constantly being there filming did tend to get in the way,” he said.

Otis said there is not much she would change about how things turned out. She said she is grateful to the show’s producers and to the experts who paired her with the man who became her husband.

“I would have loved to talk with him before exchanging vows, because it was pretty hard to do that within 10 minutes of just meeting someone. With the cameras around, we were not able to hang out much without being filmed. But, despite that, I am thankful to everyone who worked with the show, and I consider myself very fortunate to have Doug in my life,” she said.

FYI executives recently announced that a second season of “Married at First Sight” will be produced, featuring new couples.

Hehner and Otis said they have several suggestions and tips for those couples as they prepare for a life-changing experience.

“I would tell the new couples that you have to commit to opening yourself up completely to the person you are paired with. There is not a ‘you’ anymore, but a ‘we,’ ” Hehner said.

Otis said having an open mind is essential to having a successful outcome in this social experiment.

“You have to go into it knowing the unexpected might happen. I did not realize I had trust issues, and I had no idea how bad they were until I went through this experiment,” she said. “And I am grateful for being able to work on that with Doug. At the end of the day, it is an experiment, and the experts will help you find your true love.”