Married at First Sight's ninth season stars Matt, a 32-year-old professional basketball player from Raleigh, NC, and Amber, a 27-year-old eighth grade English teacher currently living in the Charlotte area, as well as Jamie, a 35-year-old technical consultant from Columbia, SC, and Elizabeth, a 30-year-old account executive for her dad's company from South Carolina who was raised in Mooresville, NC.
The MAFS season also stars Gregory Okotie, a 32-year-old math learning center owner from Fort Washington, MD, and Deonna McNeill, a 30-year-old operations manager currently living in the Charlotte area, as well as Iris Caldwell, a 27-year-old who works for a nonprofit from Raleigh, NC, and Keith Manley, a 27-year-old high school basketball coach from Greensboro, NC.
The Married at First Sight broadcast began with 11 days remaining until "Decision Day," when each couple must determine whether they'd like to stay married or get a divorce.
Greg and Deonna went on a double date with her sister De'Asia and De'Asia's boyfriend. But since Deonna was running late, Greg had an opportunity to ask for some dirt on Deonna.
Greg asked how he could break through Deonna's walls, and De'Asia advised Greg to keep putting in the work but be patient. De'Asia said Deonna tends to be guarded because she had her heart broken before but she's definitely trying to open up to Greg.
De'Asia also didn't consider Deonna's high school and college relationships to be real.
The two couples threw axes at targets and had a blast together, and De'Asia's boyfriend hoped more double dates were to come.
As for Iris and Keith, Iris was hoping Keith was fully committed to her. She told him to visualize walking down a dark and scary place on "Decision Day" if he ultimately chose to divorce her.
Meanwhile, Amber had dinner with her best friend Raven and explained her situation with Matt had improved but it still wasn't great. Despite Matt's flaws, Amber said he melted her heart and she wanted their relationship to work out so badly.
FOLLOW REALITY TV WORLD ON THE ALL-NEW GOOGLE NEWS!
Reality TV World is now available on the all-new Google News app and website. Click here to visit our Google News page, and then click FOLLOW to add us as a news source!
But at the same time, Amber wanted her husband to give his best effort to the relationship as well and have the same values about marriage.
Amber told Raven that Matt went out with his friends every day, and Raven told her that she deserved much more in a marriage.
"You don't deserve to be someone's second choice or backup option. You're such an amazing person, I don't know why you're having such a hard time finding that," Raven told Amber.
Amber said she tried to be perfect and it just didn't seem to be enough for Matt. Amber was apparently asking for "minimal, respectful things" from Matt, and as a wife, she felt she deserved those.
Raven was concerned Amber was considering staying married to Matt, and he acknowledged Matt didn't recognize what he had right in front of him. Raven clearly thought the world of Amber and wanted what is best for her.
Jamie and Elizabeth meet after four days apart
Jamie and Elizabeth's marriage was faltering as well. Jamie said he and Elizabeth hadn't spoken in a couple of days after getting into a fight about Elizabeth's behavior at the racetrack.
Elizabeth then revealed Jamie didn't come home for four days and she thought it was "f-cked up." Jamie told the cameras he and Elizabeth had a vicious cycle of fighting and their marriage would never last if it continued.
Elizabeth therefore texted Jamie and asked to talk over ice cream. He said he had enjoyed his four days away from Elizabeth and the bad energy.
Jamie said he was tired of being talked down to and insulted. He also said Elizabeth's "lack of remorse" from their time at the racetrack was a problem.
The couple had trouble communicating and Elizabeth just gave Jamie the silent treatment. Jamie said Elizabeth had no humility and never took responsibility or ownership of her mistakes.
Jamie, however, said he left their apartment before their relationship was ruined beyond repair. Jamie said after doing some reflecting, he thought it would be best for them to take a step back.
Jamie therefore suggested they take sex off the table for a while and "strip away the bullsh-t" so they could gain a better understanding of each other and hopefully stop fighting "over petty stuff" and "tearing each other down."
Jamie knew exciting and wonderful things awaited them underneath their issues.
Elizabeth agreed it was a good idea because sex was always a point of contention between them; however, she didn't have faith Jamie could last long, giving him "three days max."
The four couples showed up to a large cabin in Black Mountains, NC, with a beautiful mountain view. There was even a black bear wandering around the driveway.
Deonna and Greg arrived first, followed by Elizabeth and Jamie. While the two men grilled outside, Deonna and Elizabeth chatted about their marriages, and Elizabeth said she really liked Jamie while Deonna noted she had "grown so much."
Jamie and Greg also talked, and Jamie admitted he and Elizabeth had sex problems because she had accused him of being with her just for that. Jamie was a bit envious Greg and Deonna waited so long to be intimate, but Greg said there was plenty of time to fix their problems.
Iris and Keith made it to the cabin while the other two couples were having dinner, and then Amber and Matt showed up shortly afterwards.
Amber and Matt were working on growing their emotional intimacy, so Matt hoped a romantic weekend away could help them with that. Amber felt she deserved more than Matt was giving her.
The next day, the couples wanted to take some shots together, but Iris rejected her shot and wouldn't play along. Keith said she needed a little "push" sometimes, but Iris insisted she doesn't give into peer pressure like that.
While Iris and Keith claimed they liked each other, Elizabeth wasn't so sure because she told the cameras their body language spoke differently than their words.
At breakfast, Matt said it was stressful to figure out how to effectively articulate his feelings and issues to Amber in order to reach a positive solution.
Amber worries Matt is just "blowing smoke"
The four couples then participated in an activity provided by Dr. Pepper in which each person had to share something he or she had learned about him or herself as well as his or her partner.
Everyone agreed that when communicating, "yes" or "no" answers allow spouses to interpret their own story and come to their own conclusions.
Iris said it's like trying to put a puzzle together without all the pieces, and so the couples were learning from each other about how to improve their own relationships.
Matt, however, suggested it's sometimes best to just leave problems as they are and walk away from them. He said stressing out and overthinking things takes time away from a couple being able to actually enjoy each other's company.
Matt admitted he thought he was going to enter the process calm, cool and collected but that wasn't the case. Matt struggled to be accountable for someone else and put Amber's feelings and emotions before his own. He basically confessed it was hard to leave his bachelor lifestyle behind.
"It's a lot more work than I expected, and I've tried really hard," Matt announced to the group, adding that he didn't mind putting the work in considering he really cared about Amber.
Matt confirmed he did, in fact, have "a deep and meaningful connection" with Amber. He said he just needed to be alone at times so that he could gather his thoughts and return to the marriage as a better person, bringing his best self to the table.
Amber, however, told the cameras that Matt had never said those words to her personally. She therefore wondered if he was just "blowing smoke up everyone's ass" because his actions did not match his claims.
Amber said it was important to give the process 100 percent because no one wants to look back and wonder how things might've gone differently had they tried harder, but Matt said there were times when he just couldn't give himself to Amber emotionally.
"In my mind, I feel like I'm giving a lot. And it's hard when that's not enough," Matt noted.
Amber confides in Iris about Matt
Afterward, Amber told Iris before a hike that Matt cared about her but he was selfish and cared about his own needs first and how he looked in front of other people.
Amber felt second in his life, and Iris was sad to see that Amber had "lost a little bit of her sparkle."
"I think it's truly because of how Matt is treating her, because I don't know what person can go through a situation like this -- like literally be broken down every day -- by someone you're trying to love and someone you want to love you," Iris said in a confessional.
"That's hard. I don't know how she's doing this, because I know I would've flipped out if it were me."
Amber said Matt was texting her a lot more but he still wasn't coming home at night at the time she'd like. Amber's entire heart was in the process, however, and she had faith.
The conversation made Iris realize Keith had been so patient with her and really wanted to get to know her on an emotional and intellectual level, especially considering sex wasn't a part of their equation.
Later on, each couple enjoyed their own date in the mountains. Deonna pushed Greg out of his comfort zone to have an adventure in which they ate "food" in the woods, such as beetles and mushrooms, and Elizabeth and Jamie rested in a salt cave and received sound therapy.
After Jamie licked the salt, Elizabeth laughed about how he was "a freak" but she loved it.
Afterward, the couples split off with the men and women breaking into separate rooms for conversation.
Everyone seemed nervous about what they wanted to do on "Decision Day." Elizabeth, for example, really loved Jamie but also reiterated how they had some volatile fights and misunderstandings.
Deonna acknowledged she was moving slowly in the process but Greg was moving at her pace and she was pretty sure she had reached her answer on whether or not to stay with him. It seemed Deonna would say "yes" to staying married, but he worried she was moving too slow for her husband.
Amber expresses more doubt about Matt
Iris seemed happy except admitting to some really tough times, but then Amber dropped a bombshell about the way she was feeling.
"I'm in a very weird spot. I have seven weeks of emotions toward Matt, but it's hard for me to see what they are. Do I just care about Matt? Do I like him? Do I love him? Do I hate him? Do I want to be his friend? I don't know. I just know I feel for him," Amber told the girls.
Amber said Matt was "on summer vacation all the time," and she thought he was "freaking out." Amber said Matt had commitment issues because he was used to traveling the world for basketball and being single.
Amber saw potential for her relationship to be successful, but she needed him to feel the same way about her that she felt about him -- and she didn't know where he stood.
Meanwhile, the guys talked to each other about "Decision Day." Jamie said he really valued Elizabeth and it would be hard to go back and date again and be single.
Jamie said he really "vibed out" with Elizabeth and wanted to spend time with her but he needed more than eight weeks to figure everything out.
Greg explained he just wanted to feel content with his answer on "Decision Day," because it was clear the guys didn't have all the answers they needed.
Keith said he had a lot in common with Iris and enjoyed being around her but he wouldn't know his decision until the final day of the experiment. He wondered if they were truly soul mates or not.
"I know she wants to stay married. I know that. But I don't know if that's because she takes being married so seriously... or if she really wants to be with me," Keith told the guys.
Matt voices doubt about staying with Amber
Matt explained his marriage had been "a battle" but it helped him and Amber grow a lot together and they had created a very strong bond.
But Matt said he was so focused on trying to make the marriage work that he had yet to sit back, take a moment, and ask himself, "Am I happy?... Is this what you want, Matt?"
Matt knew he had some thinking to do.
With one week to go until "Decision Day," Amber and Matt played a fun game of "Truth or Dare" in the hot tub with Elizabeth and Jamie.
There was a lot of kissing involved, and Amber gushed about her physical connection with Matt still being there although the pair had previously decided to take sex off the table. She really hoped their relationship could recover.
Each couple got closer during the retreat, but would it be enough? Each pair had one week left to figure that out.