An unprecedented five pairs of strangers were matched by returning Married at First Sight experts Pastor Calvin Roberson, Dr. Pepper Schwartz, and Dr. Viviana Coles to marry on Season 10 of the Lifetime reality series.
The Married at First Sight broadcast began with seven days remaining until "Decision Day" and the final day of the couples' retreat.
Taylor told Meka that Michael had explained to her why Brandon was having a hard time with the experiment and chose to never return. Michael claimed Brandon was struggling to balance filming with his career, and while Brandon really liked and cared about Taylor, he had a bad way of showing it.
Michael admitted both he and Brandon had to do a better job of showing their affection and how they cared.
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Taylor, however, said Brandon's words didn't mean much since they didn't come directly from him, but she was willing to talk to Brandon once she got home.
Meka was waiting to see more from Michael, saying he showed her "nothing" although he insisted to other people he really cared for Meka and wanted his marriage to work desperately.
"To me, it almost seems fake that you so easily say it to [other people] but you don't say it or do it with me. The vibe I'm getting is that he doesn't want to be in this marriage," Meka confided in Taylor.
On Katie and Derek's drive back home, Katie saw a turtle on the side of the road and determined she wanted to save and name him Calvin or "Cal." Katie was trying to embrace her inner-child, which Derek had been trying to help her to do, and Derek noted he was "turned on" by Katie's cute reaction to the turtle.
However, Katie and Derek eventually had to free the wild turtle because they wouldn't be able to properly care for or feed it at home with products available in a pet shop.
Michael and Meka go apple picking
Meanwhile, Michael was hoping to reset his relationship and start fresh with an apple-picking excursion, but the dynamic was still awkward and tense between the couple.
Michael and Meka sat down for a picnic, but Meka wasn't impressed because Michael ate everything he wanted out of the picnic basket and left her all the undesirable food items. Meka blasted Michael for not trying, saying his behavior was not going to help their marriage.
On the drive back home, there was awkward silence between Michael and Meka. Meka complained to Michael about how he had chosen to "zone out" on their picnic and not make an effort by asking her questions about how she was feeling.
Meka accused Michael of making sweet statements such as, "Oh I want to be intentional and spend time with you, or, "Oh, you're my wife and I want this to work," that weren't intentional because he barely spoke two words to her and walked around with his headphones in.
"I feel I'm really at my breaking point... I got Married at First Sight because I was looking to be with someone who would be there for me, and none of that is happening," Meka vented to the cameras, adding that Michael didn't show he cared for or appreciated her at all.
Meka slammed Michael and said it was his turn to show up and try for their marriage because she had been carrying them the whole time. Michael disagreed, insisting he had carried their marriage for the first five weeks, but Meka bashed the idea and argued Michael had no accountability.
Katie and Derek visit a vineyard
Katie and Derek were then shown enjoying each other's company at a vineyard, but Katie pointed out they had gone through "a rough patch" for the last few weeks. She was feeling better about their relationship going into "Decision Day," but it wasn't clear whether Katie was going to say "yes" to staying married.
"I'm hoping you will," Derek replied.
"I guess you'll find out," Katie said.
Derek wondered whether Katie thought they were compatible enough, but he told his wife they definitely had a fighting chance and had some really good moments together throughout this experiment.
"I think Katie could be the person that I want to spend the rest of my life with, the person I want to madly love and never look back. So, I need to figure out how to reassure Katie that she should say, 'Yes.' I want her to say, 'Yes,'" Derek told the cameras.
Katie and Derek made promises to each other at the vineyard by participating in a tradition involving locks and throwing the key in a pond, but Katie couldn't promise that they'd always be a team or that she'd never give up working on their marriage.
Katie could only promise that she and Derek should always make sure the other is happy, even if that meant being apart and not married.
Michael and Meka try and talk it out
Once Meka and Michael returned home, they decided to sit down, talk and hash things out.
Meka told Michael he had not acted like her husband all weekend and he seemed to do things sometimes just to get a reaction out of her. Michael apologized for not communicating either of the two nights of the couples' retreat.
However, Michael explained his uncle had passed away suddenly and Meka didn't comfort or console him. Michael said his wife didn't respond with "kindness or care," and so it made it difficult for him to be vulnerable with her.
Meka said she wanted to be sensitive to Michael's "family stuff" but they were going through things in their marriage that were also important and shouldn't be brushed under the rug. Meka said it's natural for couples to juggle multiple issues at once.
Michael felt he was always the person to compromise and keep things going, but Meka argued she never stopped trying and never did anything bad enough to warrant Michael losing trust in her or wanting to leave her.
Michael, however, had been looking for "tenderness" and "compassion" from Meka when his relative died, and he said her response was "the exact opposite of that."
Michael claimed he understood the "seriousness of the vows" he had taken but it hurt that Meka was not able to see the significance of his uncle dying over whatever their issue was at the time.
Michael expected Meka to show concern, and Meka acknowledged she could've handled the situation better and also apologized.
Michael therefore said he and Meka had "a fighting chance" on "Decision Day" but he couldn't make their marriage work alone.
Taylor reveals she and Brandon have reconciled
The eight spouses remaining in the experiment each met with loved ones to talk about the highs and lows of their marriage.
Taylor met up with her friends and revealed she and Brandon had argued during the couples' retreat and slept in separate rooms.
"He said that if the executive producers didn't give him an apology, he was not coming back film," Taylor shared.
Taylor's friends called Brandon "a child" and "a six year old in a grown man's body." Brandon apparently claimed his relationship with Taylor could be different once cameras aren't around because filming caused him stress.
Taylor said Brandon wasn't "a horrible person" but he definitely had "issues," so she wasn't sure whether she wanted to stay married to him or not. However, her friend Brittany thought Brandon treated Taylor with nothing but disrespect and Taylor deserved much better.
Brittany went as far as to say she'd be heartbroken if Taylor chose to keep Brandon as her husband.
"I had a talk with Brandon and he really wants to make this work. He's like, 'Production is pinning us against each other,' and this and that. I don't know. It's just a lot to think about," Taylor revealed.
Taylor revealed she and Brandon started hanging out outside of filming because he said he loved being with her but just wasn't comfortable with production and the cameras anymore. She said Brandon was actually talking and opening up in this new environment, which gave her hope for "Decision Day."
Taylor told her friends that both she and Brandon were likely to say "yes" on "Decision Day" and give their relationship a fair shot without cameras being involved.
Austin chats with a friend about Jessica
Austin then met with his buddy Paul at a restaurant, and Austin said things had been going very well. Paul asked if anything was bothering Austin, and he said while they butted heads here or there -- over him traveling for work, for instance -- Jessica said she loved him.
"I know I did feel it in the moment. I just want it to be truly from me, in my own moment and in my own time," Austin said.
"Part of the reason it's hard for me to say it is because I've had my heart broken in the past, where I really took the time to say it and I really made sure of it and then I said it and then my heart was broken not too long after."
Austin was actually a little bit worried Jessica might flip a switch and say "no" on "Decision Day," and Paul admitted to the cameras Austin tended to overthink things sometimes and really needed to step up in this situation and express his feelings.
Michael meets with his sister
Afterward, Michael met up with his sister LaTonya, and he said he hadn't arrived at a decision yet regarding "Decision Day." LaTonya explained Meka's concerns over Michael's dishonesty, and Michael explained he ignored or omitted details during conversations when he didn't feel comfortable.
LaTonya advised Michael to just say he's not comfortable in those situations rather than lie his way out of them. And Michael agreed issues from his past and being adopted had surfaced in his marriage.
"If you're not telling her the absolute truth, that relationship is not getting better -- it's actually worsening," LaTonya shared.
"You are enough in your own skin. Could you be better? Of course. But you are enough and you've always been enough."
Derek meets with his family
With four days left until "Decision Day," Derek had dinner with his sister Nicole and father Kevin. Derek said he enjoyed Katie's company as well as who she is as a person, and he revealed he was willing to take a second leap of faith to make his marriage work.
Derek and Katie had already talked about children and baby names, and Derek said if everything went according to plan, they'd have a baby three years from that point.
However, Derek confessed their personalities clashed at times, especially in regards to Katie not embracing his "inner nerdiness," and Katie could sometimes be "too abrasive."
Derek didn't want his relationship with Katie to be built off arguments and quarrels. Derek also said Katie had a problem with his dreams, and hearing that made Nicole nervous.
"If you're not compatible, you're not compatible. So it will be interesting to see what happens here," Nicole told the cameras.
But Kevin told Derek those problems wouldn't be too hard to work through if they loved a lot about each other and could accept each other for who they are.
"Can you accept who she is?" Kevin asked his son.
"I'm not quite sure," Derek responded.
Jessica talks with her twin sister Jennifer
Jessica then met with her twin sister Jennifer, and Jessica said she felt comfortable, protected and couldn't imagine her life without him. Jessica gushed about how she and Austin were connected, but at the same time, they did have their fair share of issues.
Jessica, for example, was concerned Austin had yet to say, "I love you," back to her. Jessica said if Austin was committed to her, he should be able to profess his love -- and she didn't want to be married to someone who refused to say "I love you" in return.
Meka talks with her mom
Meka sat down with her mother Timeka for a chat, and Meka confessed she often responded with anger during conversations with Michael but she had given her marriage her full effort.
"I didn't prepare myself for what if [this marriage] is a nightmare?... It's not a nightmare, but it's also far from perfect," Meka explained.
"The more and more I'm with him, the more I feel like it's not just a few white lies."
Timeka trusted her daughter's judgment and planned to completely support Meka and Michael if they chose to stay married. Timeka said Michael had the "core qualities" Meka wanted in a husband but he had some things to work on.
Meka felt Michael was simply not happy with himself or who he sees in the mirror and so he often portrayed himself in a false light. She understood why Michael felt the need to put on a show, but she wasn't okay with it at the same time.
Katie meets with her dad and stepmom
Katie then met with her father Dante and his wife, and Katie confessed her relationship had been "bumpy" and she wasn't feeling very fulfilled. Katie was confused about how to proceed.
"I don't feel special at all... There is a giant emotional disconnect. As soon as I think I'm closing the gap, it shoots way open again," Katie explained.
Katie didn't think Derek knew how to express himself, and she called him "a boy" instead of a man. Katie had been hoping for an older, more mature man waiting for her at the altar, but she said she got a baby-faced boy with a baby personality to match.
Dante thought Derek was a good guy with great values, and he advised his daughter not to scare her husband away. Katie noted Derek was always quick to apologize after fights but she wasn't sure he could love her in the way she needed or wanted to be loved.
Katie said Derek was definitely a good person at his core, but it didn't seem like it was enough.
"Are you seeing enough that there's potential?" Dante asked.
"I don't know," Katie replied. "I definitely need to get [my ring] resized if I'm going to keep it."
Michael suddenly reveals he's quitting his job
With only two days remaining until "Decision Day," apartment footage caught Brandon and Taylor hugging on the couch, and Meka and Michael went out to a nice dinner.
Meka noticed Michael's work schedule had changed and he had been home a lot more, so she asked what was going on with his job. And then suddenly, Michael revealed he had put in his two weeks notice because the job simply wasn't working.
Michael said he couldn't come to an agreement with his employers that would be best-case scenario for himself and his students.
Meka agreed Michael shouldn't stay in a job that made him unhappy, but at the same time, Meka was worried because this was Michael's third job during the Married at First Sight experiment.
Meka wanted to make these decisions as a couple and hoped to feel stable and secure in her marriage.
Meka wondered if Michael would have ever informed him of this decision had she not asked, and that was a big problem. Meka questioned whether Michael was ever going to be honest with her and if he was dishonest simply because he didn't like her enough.
Meka wondered if Michael would be honest with a woman whom he liked more, but Michael assured her that his lies were his fault and he wanted her to feel safe in their marriage and be open to moving their marriage past "Decision Day."
Meka said that's exactly what she needed and had been asking for, so she appreciated hearing her feelings were valid and there was a path that existed past "Decision Day" in Michael's mind.
The couple had a breakthrough because Michael finally took accountability and apologized.
"That makes my decision that much harder, because we have had a rocky eight weeks together. And this, for me, was the light at the end of the tunnel I've been waiting for this entire marriage," Meka gushed to the cameras.
Austin and Jessica have a tense dinner
Over a nice dinner out, Austin realized Jessica's insecurities and need for him to constantly be around might present a real issue for them going forward. Jessica was still hung up on his travels for work and not professing his love.
"Jessica is not being very supportive. The conversation about my job just gets repetitive. It's all about her, and so going into 'Decision Day,' I do think that's a concerning thing. I mean, I'm not going to just quit my job because she's going to miss me a little bit," Austin told the cameras.
The dinner turned out to be tense, and Austin noted they both had a big decision coming up.
Jessica felt Austin was being a little inconsiderate of her feelings, and she noted the stress of the experiment and "Decision Day" was starting to get to them.
Katie and Derek talk things out
Katie and Derek also enjoyed a nice meal out, and Derek was ready to open up more -- although he might get his heart broken. Katie said Derek tried to push things under the rug a lot but she always wanted him to talk about his feelings.
Katie saw potential in building an emotional connection with Derek, but she was disappointed they didn't already have one.
Katie also said there was a lack of initiative on Derek's part and she needed him to be strong and confrontational sometimes. Katie essentially owned the fact she can be a "b-tch" at times, especially when she's stressed.
"Whatever happens, I do think that you're a good guy. I just am not sure yet if you are THE guy," Katie told her husband.
Derek believed Katie was trying to find things wrong with their marriage as if she didn't want their relationship to work out. He thought she was trying to sabotage what they had.
Derek told Katie before bed that night there was a chance he could fall in love with her and they made a great team. Derek said he was "terrified" Katie might leave him but he found comfort in the fact there was a chance.
Katie said she felt better and was starting to get more clarity about what she wanted, and Derek told Katie he wouldn't regret doing this experiment even if they didn't work out.
Jessica and Austin continue to clash over his job
Jessica and Austin's tension continued once they returned home. Jessica felt Austin was belittling her feelings, but Austin said he was tired of Jessica suggesting she didn't like or approve of his job.
Jessica explained the logistics of Austin's job were something they'd have to overcome but she didn't dislike his job.
Austin just hoped Jessica's feelings toward his job wouldn't continue to be a strain, and he noted Jessica wanted to spend every waking moment together but that wasn't always going to be the case.
"We're just not seeing eye-to-eye on this topic at all. The way he's shutting down and not wanting to talk about this and twisting it into something I don't agree with his career choice and I don't agree with how hard he has to work, I've never said those words," Jessica told a Diary Cam.
"And the fact that he's trying to put those words into my mouth is not leaving me with a good taste right now. He's almost saying, like, I'm trying to make it about me."
Austin and Jessica were going to bed angry, and Jessica said she didn't want this to be her last night with Austin.
Michael and Meka grade their behavior
Before bed, Michael asked Meka to grade herself on how she had behaved during their marriage, and she gave herself a B, while Michael graded himself a C+. Meka, however, was more optimistic than ever, and she thanked Michael for listening, being engaged and taking accountability.
"Everything about where we are feels like what I've been asking for over these past eight weeks," Meka said, before asking Michael to continue being vulnerable, open and honest.
Michael insisted he cared about Meka and their marriage although he had not done the best job of showing that. Michael saw a future beyond "Decision Day," and he apparently hoped Meka did too.
Taylor worries about Brandon's "Decision Day" decision
Afterward, Taylor was shown saying the last eight weeks had been an emotional roller coaster. She called Brandon "impulsive," "unpredictable," "petty" and "very set in his ways."
Taylor wasn't even sure Brandon would show up on "Decision Day," although she felt she had put him first in their relationship.
"Deep down... I do believe Brandon really cares about me, and he assures me things will be different off-camera. So I really don't want to get a divorce," Taylor said in a confessional.
The couples split up for "Decision Day"
With only one day to go until "Decision Day," the couples were asked to sleep in separate places to clear their heads before the final decision.
Katie had a lot of "mixed feelings" about her marriage and was "torn" between being optimistic and realistic about her marriage. Katie saw potential with him and said they had built a solid friendship, but she said she had a lot to think about.
Derek then asked Katie to write one thing down in their bucket list they would do together if they chose to stay together. Derek wrote down "a sailing lesson," and Katie wrote down "Greece."
Meanwhile, Jessica felt she and Austin had taken a few steps back, and she admitted packing up her belongings was a little awkward.
Austin was preparing to make a decision based on whether his marriage could realistically work, and he wouldn't even kiss Jessica on her way out.