Married at First Sight featured Shaquille Dillon taking the lead in his relationship and turning Kirsten Grimes on, Jasmine Secrest reluctant to dig deep with Airris Williams and feeling alone in their marriage, Clint Webb getting to "the crust" of Gina Micheletti, and the four couples sharing stories of shame and insecurity during the Season 16 episode that aired Wednesday night on Lifetime.

The remaining four Nashville-based couples on Married at First Sight for Season 16 are Gina and Clint, Airris and Jasmine, Kirsten and Shaquille, and Nicole Lilienthal and Chris Thielk.

Domynique Kloss and Mackinley Gilbert decided to get a divorce on Day 12 of the process and were not featured in the latest episode.


Married at First Sight experts Pastor Calvin Roberson and Dr. Pepper Schwartz matched the five couples for matrimony in Tennessee.

The show features strangers meeting at the wedding altar and then spending the next eight weeks embarking on a honeymoon, moving in together, and navigating the joys and struggles of daily life together.

And at the end of the experiment, Married at First Sight's Season 16 couples will reach "Decision Day" and have to decide whether to remain married or decide to end their marriages and divorce.

According to Pastor Cal, this is going to be the "most intense season of Married at First Sight yet."

The Married at First Sight broadcast began 24 days before Decision Day, with Nicole, Chris and Nicole's father Mark -- who hadn't been very supportive of his daughter's decision to do this experiment -- trying goat yoga together.

Nicole hoped Chris and Mark would bond and that her dad would eventually come around to the idea she had married a stranger.

Mark shared with Chris how he got divorced when Nicole was four-years-old and Nicole talked back to him and would "ditch" him as a teenager with attitude. Mark said his daughter changed for the better in her twenties and he was glad to see her so content and happy.

"Where we are right now, I couldn't be happier," Nicole's dad said.

Mark said Chris had earned his respect and he'd be willing to allow Chris to call him "dad" at the end of the Married at First Sight process.
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Dr. Pepper then paid Kirsten and Shaquille a visit at their apartment. The expert planned to prompt each couple to reveal vulnerabilities about themselves to hopefully build trust and an emotional connection.

Kirsten and Shaquille couldn't come to any solution or agreement after their last fight about things being "Kirsten's way," and so they hoped Dr. Pepper would guide them in the right direction.

Kirsten told Dr. Pepper that she and Shaquille were learning how to communicate with each other, and the expert advised them to never make assumptions about each other.

Kirsten then shared how it was "shameful" when her parents split up and the divorce made her "so closed off" because she didn't understand what happened or why it happened. She admitted living in two different households was difficult for her and she always tried to handle her sadness and issues by herself, without leaning on others for comfort.

When asked what he felt shame about, Shaquille explained how his mother had worked a lot when he was growing up and he never really felt her being "present" as a result. Shaquille also said he found his biological at age 17 when he was in college and held a grudge against him for a while -- until he felt ready to forgive.

Dr. Pepper acknowledged the stories of their past were important, and then the couple was asked to speak about their intimacy and physical chemistry.

"We've been doing better at it," Shaquille revealed, adding how he kissed Kirsten on the forehead every day. "At first, she didn't want to kiss at all... I accepted it. And then it started growing, like, 'I want a kiss.'"

Dr. Pepper hoped the couple could graduate to real, serious kisses, and Kirsten seemed open to that. She advised Shaquille to get rid of any resentment he felt for the beginning of the marriage and not to draw back from Kirsten because it would make her feel rejected.

Dr. Pepper suggested he should be his masculine and desirous self, and Shaquille pointed out that he knew what he needed to do in order to fix the problem.


Clint was then shown FaceTiming with his buddy David, and Clint said he and Gina were "in a really good place" and were growing. However, he said he wanted to know "the inner crust" of Gina, essentially everything about her.

Clint said he often shared stories about himself with his wife, trying to open Gina up, but she would listen and not reciprocate. Clint acknowledged stripping back "the onion layers" of Gina was a challenge but he wasn't going to give up.

Dr. Pepper then chatted with Airris and Jasmine, and Jasmine shared how she desired deeper conversations with Airris, who had told his wife that he wasn't attracted to her.    

"We were existing, we were stagnant. And I was just letting it be that," Jasmine admitted, adding  that they needed to connect more on an emotional level.

Jasmine told Airris that her family moved when she was young and she didn't fit in any more, which left her with low self-esteem. Jasmine said returning to Nashville helped her find self-love and confidence, and so it was difficult for Airris to not love her or be attracted to her.

"I got to be this person who I am all about, and now I'm in this marriage that I've longed for forever, and now my person is not even feeling me. I almost felt like I'm in a marriage by myself," Jasmine lamented. "Is it worth me telling him this? Does he even care?"

Dr. Pepper suggested that maybe the issue wasn't even about Jasmine, which is something she hadn't thought about. The expert said maybe Airris' lack of connection or attraction to his wife had nothing to do with her.

With that being said, Airris opened up about how he had experienced major deaths in his family, including his father and his best friend who had killed himself in high school. One of Airris' college roommates also got hit by a drunk driver during Airris' junior year in college and died.

"So I'm kind of afraid to get close to people, because there's a possibility of them leaving. That might sound crazy to someone else, but that's just the norm for me. I feel like that has impacted me and it's still impacting me to this day," Airris shared.

Airris admitted one of the reasons he got married at first sight was to keep him from running. Airris said he longed for a normal family life, mainly because he had missed out on milestone and special moments with his father.

Dr. Pepper reasoned that maybe Airris wasn't letting himself get close to Jasmine or be loved in fear of losing her, and Airris agreed. Jasmine -- who hadn't learned the extent of Airris' pain before-- therefore realized she was going to have her work cut out for her but she'd have to support him.

Jasmine followed that up by saying she felt sheltered because her parents had a happy marriage and  she's not a confrontational person because she never saw her parents fight. Because Jasmine never saw her parents resolve conflict, she admitted that she struggled to communicate and solve problems.

Dr. Pepper challenged Jasmine to be the woman she inspires her mentees to become, and she asked Airris to open up and stop running. She wanted them to go above and beyond what felt easy to them and dig deep.

That night, Kirsten found herself attracted to Shaquille when he helped her design a logo for her real estate career and said he could also create a website for her job. Kirsten even noted how she liked the sound of "Kirsten Dillon."

"What really turns me on is a handsome, sexy man handling his business," Kirsten gushed. "There's just something about it."


With 23 days to go until Decision Day, Dr. Pepper sat down with Nicole and Chris, who clearly had a strong relationship foundation already.

The pair explored what could affect their marriage, and Nicole opened up about how her past relationships affected her more than she thought. She used to think that being vulnerable made her weak and that she'd get taken advantage of.

Nicole therefore tried not to cry in past relationships, but she said she was trying to be vulnerable with Chris and allow him to treat her with respect, which is something she hadn't received from men in the past.

Chris said he never put walls up with women and so, for some of them, they thought he was coming on too strong. Chris admitted relationships never worked out because of it and so he was thankful for his wife.

Each couple then asked and answered questions inside of a fishbowl. During that activity, Kirsten revealed that she wanted Shaquille to take the lead in their relationship, but Jasmine struggled to come up with answers to most of the questions -- and Airris noted.

Airris shared how he thought his high school friend's suicide was "selfish," but he eventually came to forgive him, especially because Airris had no idea what he was going through in that moment.

"I thought this was something she wanted to do. You're saying you want to have these conversations; I'm having a conversation. I'm telling her about some of my traumas and I'm going deep," Airris told the cameras in a confessional. "I'm trying to get that same from her but it's not happening. I'm kind of confused what's going on."

When asked what worried her most in that moment, Jasmine replied, "Our marriage."

Dr. Pepper then visited Clint and Gina, who had been spending more time together. Gina, for instance, was sitting on the floor in Clint's room at night just so they could talk before bed.

Clint confirmed he had fallen in love with her dog, Hank, and Gina said they were just trying to focus on having fun.

"Just having fun isn't going to make this marriage," Dr. Pepper noted, urging the pair to go deeper.

On the topic of shame, Gina said she struggled with vulnerability in the past because she had grown up with a single mother and so it was easy for her to open up to women, but not men, unless she felt she's in a really safe space.

Gina admitted she and Clint were a bit nervous to dive deep and reveal their truths because of the fight that had taken place during their honeymoon in Jamaica.

Clint told Dr. Pepper that he always tried to be vulnerable and share stories about himself and in a past relationship, he had dated a woman for three years who was showing him "a false persona." He therefore wanted to know about Gina's hopes, dreams, and core values.

"I feel like he's not really initiating that either because he's never asked me any deep-ended questions," Gina countered. "On the opposite end, I'm not going to be like, 'Hey, I want to sit down and talk about this and tell you everything about me.' I'm not comfortable doing that."


Gina explained to Clint that he needed to ask her specifics to break down her walls, but Clint said if that's the way she communicates, then she should've been asking him questions as well.

"Set the precedent!" Clint complained. "It just doesn't feel organic to me. If she's not willing to share that and I have to elicit that out of her, it feels like I'm doing a Q&A session."

But Dr. Pepper pointed out how they just had different styles of communication, which they both needed to be receptive to.

With 22 days to go until Decision Day, Nicole and Chris were shown working out together in a gym. Nicole opened up about how her mother didn't know that she had allowed an ex-boyfriend to burn her with a cigarette. Nicole said she felt shame about the lie but knew her mother was going to find out from the show.

Chris, in turn, said he had thrown a party once while his mother was baking brownies for everyone. The police arrived and threatened to throw his mother in jail due to underage drinking in her home, but Chris assured her that nothing happened and his mom is an amazing person.

Both Nicole and Chris loved their parents and didn't want to disappoint them.

Chris then revealed during the fishbowl game that his biggest insecurity was, "Am I a lovable person, and am I worthy of love?" Chris acknowledged Nicole had changed the game for him, and Nicole assured her husband that those women in his past weren't worthy of his love.

"I'm going to make it my mission to make him see how worthy he is, because he is such a wonderful man," Nicole gushed in a confessional.

Nicole also shared how she was worried they were in "a happy bubble" and it was one day going to burst, possibly because of her ruining the relationship. She said there was a part in her brain telling her, "You don't deserve to be this happy... I'm almost afraid of leaning into the happiness."

With three weeks to go until Decision Day, Airris asked Jasmine's mother Evette for advice on ways he could draw deeper responses out of Jasmine and get her more comfortable talking to him.

Evette advised Airris to pull things out of Jasmine because she often held things in. Evette said Jasmine was so focused on helping other people that she rarely took herself into account.

Evette was also nervous about Airris' decision not to have sex until after Decision Day. Evette feared Airris was going to hold himself back from a natural opportunity, but Airris said he was looking for shared interests and similar lived experiences to build physical chemistry.

Evette could tell that her daughter was in her head, and she hoped this relationship was going to work because she really liked Airris. She asked Airris to stop overthinking things and to get out of his comfort zone.

While playing the fishbowl game that night, Gina shared with Clint how "delegation phobia" is a toxic trait for her because she's extremely independent and never asked others for help. Gina also told Clint that she had to let go of feelings of rejection and abandonment from her father not being around when she was younger.

Clint said his father was also barely around, probably because his parents had wed at a super young age. Clint made it known that his father was a good provider, but he because of work, he didn't get to spend as much time with him as he would've liked.

Gina also revealed she got insecure about financial stability, success and not feeling like she's doing enough. Clint also said he got insecure about not fulfilling the things he wants in life, such as traveling more and having kids.

Gina thought she's be a good mom, and she was happy the pair was on the same page in terms of wanting the same things out of life.

Clint was thankful for this new knowledge and context into Gina's life, and he noted that they were finally getting into "the crust."

The episode concluded with Shaquille surprising his wife with a body-paint party. Shaquille set out to discover if Kirsten trusted him enough "to make a masterpiece out of her body."

Shaquille really got into the activity, and Kirsten told the cameras that she loved the attention and being her husband's "work of art."

Shaquille could feel Kirsten's energy and that she was letting him lead, and he said it felt great to hear his wife say, "Do your thing!"

Kirsten gushed about how this gesture was something she had been wanting from Shaquille.

"I love this quality time with him. This is definitely spicing up our marriage," Kirsten told the cameras.

Shaquille then put whipped cream in Kirsten's mouth and transferred a strawberry from his mouth into hers, resulting in a sexy kiss. The couple repeated the act, and then Kirsten suggested they should get washed up and make "sweet love."

Kirsten shared in a confessional, "Consummating this marriage will definitely help the chemistry and intimacy grow. I don't know if it's going to happen tonight. Only Shaquille and I will know about that!"


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About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.