'Married at First Sight' recap: Taylor and Brandon reconcile, Zach is scolded by Pastor Cal and disappoints Mindy again, Katie and Derek have huge fight
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/19/2020
Married at First Sight featured all five couples surprisingly choosing to stay committed to each other on "Recommitment Day" but Zach Justice falling short of his promises to Mindy Shiben after she reluctantly decided to give him another chance to demonstrate his commitment to their marriage.
In addition, Married at First Sight expert Pastor Calvin Roberson scolded Zach for having "sucked" as a husband and seemed to believe Zach was putting on a show for the cameras.
An unprecedented five pairs of strangers were matched by returning Married at First Sightexperts Pastor Cal, Dr. Pepper Schwartz, and Dr. Viviana Coles to marry on Season 10 of the Lifetime reality series.
Brandon, a 34-year-old sales manager originally from the U.S. Virgin Islands who was raised in Washington, D.C., wed Taylor, a 27-year-old research scientist from Pittsburgh, PA.
Zach, a 32-year-old fitness professional from St. Mary's, GA, wed Mindy, a 34-year-old figure skating coach from Frederick, MD.
Katie, a 26-year-old mental health professional from Woodbridge, VA, married Derek, a 26-year-old cyber security engineer from Maryland.
And Jessica Studer, a 31-year-old nurse manager from Oak Harbor, OH, walked down the aisle to Austin Hurd, a 31-year-old network technician from Maryland.
Given all the couples were more than a month into their marriages, it was time for "Recommitment Day," a day which gave every spouse an option to end his or her marriage early and not go through with the rest of the experiment. Essentially, "Recommitment Day" serves as an out for any couple or person who might be miserable in their relationship.
Meka said she had never expected marriage to be this tough. When she first entered the process, she didn't even want divorce to be an option, but at this point, she was just trying to remain hopeful.
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Not only has Meka accused Michael of lying constantly in their relationship, but she also said he had the tendency to do weird things, like trying to cut a small patch of grass into an even layer in their home.
Michael said he has a fun personality and weird sense of humor but his wife didn't always appreciate it.
Derek and Katie argue about Derek's dreams
Meanwhile, Katie and Derek were still trying to figure out if they were compatible, and Katie wasn't convinced they were going to figure that out in just over three weeks.
Katie suggested to Derek that changing for each other may not necessarily be a bad thing because couples always sacrifice and change for the better when in a healthy marriage.
Derek immediately jumped the gun and asked Katie if she wanted him to change his unrealistic dreams, but she asked him to have a conversation and not get so defensive so easily.
Derek had dreams of doing eight backpacking trips through on different continents, composing a Christmas song, and building connecting tree houses. Katie just didn't know how to deal with that, and while Derek said he'd compromise on some of his dreams, he couldn't imagine going through life after giving up on his dreams.
Derek said the person he wants to be with wouldn't make him shut down his explorations and goals for the future.
"Derek being such a dreamer worries me a little bit, because I want a man. I don't want a little boy who's dreaming and writing Christmas songs," Katie said in a confessional.
Katie got straight to the point and asked if Derek wanted a marriage and a family or to just fulfill all these dreams.
Derek confirmed his first priority was finding true love and having a wife and his second priority was raising kids. But he didn't think life had to be limited to just that.
Katie accused Derek of being "up in the clouds" and asked him to come down and meet her halfway. Derek yelled at Katie for knocking his ideas before he even tried them, but Katie argued she had always been supportive up to date.
"I'm not asking you to help me with my dreams. I'm just asking you not to close the door on all of them before I even have a chance," Derek said.
Katie acknowledged Derek biting off more than he can chew would be a problem for her and their whole family. She didn't think Derek would have the time or energy to write a book, for example, when they have kids together.
Derek didn't know where this was coming from and wondered whether Katie was trying to come up with problems in attempt to sabotage their marriage. She just went on to say his dreams are "not realistic" and he has so many that she can't even keep track of them.
Derek said he's well aware of how much work he'd need to put into accomplishing these dreams and he's not sure he could even do it, and then Katie stormed out of the room.
"I feel like your dreams to you are more than this marriage and you clearly don't have any f-cking idea what you want, so I'm done having this conversation. Let me know when you figure out what you do want!" Katie shouted.
Derek told the cameras he had every intention of achieving all of his dreams and the fact Katie didn't think he's capable of doing so "really stung."
"I don't want a marriage with you if I don't get any dreams. I want to have a marriage with you where I can at least do some of my dreams, because you're supposed to be a part of my dreams. If that's not good enough, I don't know what I can do," Derek told Katie when she was hiding in their bedroom with the door closed.
Katie snapped at Derek to "be a f-cking grown up," and so he gave up on the conversation and slept on the couch.
Katie didn't think they were on the same page, and she said these problems were building ontop of her initial fear that he'd never fall in love with her.
"I don't feel secure with making a family with someone like that... and I don't think I ever will be," Katie told the cameras.
Zack and Mindy
With 23 days until "Decision Day," Pastor Cal and Dr. Viviana wanted to have straightforward conversations with each participant about what was or was not working in his or her marriage.
Dr. Viviana hoped each couple could recalibrate their approach and remember why they wanted to get married to begin with, and Pastor Cal set out to identify what would make each person say "yes" or "no" on "Decision Day."
"If we feel someone is just going through the motions or playing to the camera, we will ask them to either recommit or get out," Pastor Cal explained. "Being married for the long term is a choice you make every single day."
Pastor Cal first sat down with Zach, who said there had been some ups and downs as well as "really tough conversations to muddle through." Zach said marrying a stranger came with more struggles than he had ever anticipated.
Meanwhile, Mindy shared with Viviana how Zach had accused her of lying during their one-month anniversary dinner without actually telling her what incident he was referring to.
"It's probably worth mentioning while he was calling me a liar, he started a friendship behind my back with one of my friends that he met at the wedding, and I just found out about that. He deleted the conversation and hasn't shared that with me either," Mindy explained.
"But apparently they talk quite often... I've gotten different stories from both of them [about their purpose for talking]. A lot of the details of their stories just aren't the same, so I have no idea. I think he's needed a reason to not move in and to not be a good husband."
Pastor Cal asked Zach why he chose not to move in with Mindy, and Zach said it wouldn't have made anything better. Zach said he was aware his decision went against the norm, but he insisted he had been physically and emotionally faithful to Mindy.
Pastor Cal therefore wanted answers on why Zach had been talking to Mindy's friend, and Zach said she had given him advice on how to approach his relationship with Mindy.
Zach said he wasn't trying to hide the conversation and had no idea why she hadn't mentioned it to Mindy either.
Mindy told Viviana that Zach said he would be very sad if he didn't get to see her anymore, but she wasn't sure whether he meant that or not. She didn't want to hurt Zach and said she hated the idea of potentially giving up.
"If he is genuine about changing things, I feel okay with giving him a shot," Mindy said.
If she were to say "yes" on "Decision Day," Mindy wanted to feel cared for and appreciated. She wanted to feel like she had a husband she deserves.
When Pastor Cal asked Zach if he was still committed to his marriage, Zach replied, "If I were to say today, 'This isn't going to work,' I'd go into tomorrow with a ton of regret. You can walk away from the unknown when you have an opportunity."
Zach insisted he could "absolutely" remain committed to Mindy, which shocked Pastor Cal.
Pastor Cal pointed out his relationship had been steadily declining.
"Up to this point, you know you have sucked as a husband," Pastor Cal noted with enthusiasm, adding that Mindy really wanted to be married but Zach had put in no noticeable effort to be married.
"Why the heck now should you even continue?! Why?"
Zach said he wanted to make Married at First Sight a positive experience and only have positive memories, but Pastor Cal wanted a successful marriage for him -- until "death do us part."
"She doesn't want just a positive experience. She doesn't want just a friendship. She wants a freakin' marriage. Can you give her that?" Pastor Cal asked.
"Yes," Zach replied.
"Zach, with all due respect, I don't even believe you! I am calling B-S, man! Do you believe in what you're saying?" Pastor Cal asked.
Pastor Cal questioned whether Zach was trying to build a modeling or fitness career from being on the show. He didn't think Zach just hanging around for eight weeks was going to make him look like a good guy.
Pastor Cal, however, couldn't force anyone to get a divorce, so he begged Zach "not to screw around with [Mindy's] heart."
"I still see hope," Zach insisted.
Zach promised to speak to Mindy more often and more clearly, and he admitted they needed more time together because it was obvious on-camera. Pastor Cal snapped at Zach in reply saying, "Don't act married; be married!"
Viviana told Mindy that it was time to fulfill her own expectations, like ending her marital contract if Zach couldn't step up to the plate and meet her needs and do things her way for once.
Mindy therefore demanded to see Zach outside of filming, which Viviana called "minimal." When asked to take it up a notch, Mindy said she needed Zach to be transparent about the relationship he was having with her friend and to see the messages.
And finally, Mindy wanted Zach to tell her what he was accusing her of lying about or confess he was making it all up.
"That's really how I feel because I didn't lie to him about anything," Mindy noted. "And he has to move in! Those four things."
Viviana hoped Mindy would commit to advocating for herself, and Mindy said if Zach did not meet her demands, she would be willing to say, "Yes, [this is over]."
Mindy and Zach reunited after their separate sessions with the experts, and Zach said he was recommitted "without hesitation." Mindy confessed she had been "on the fence" about the decision because she lacked trust in him.
Mindy addressed her concerns with Zach and asked to see his text messages with her friend, but he said those conversations didn't exist anymore. He claimed he had taken it upon himself to delete the messages, simply because they stopped talking.
"I feel like Zach is deliberately lying to me. The fact that Zach and Lindsay both deleted their text messages, that's a huge red flag and makes me think they're hiding something," Mindy told the cameras.
Zach explained "regardless of the intention," him talking to Lindsay "sucked" and "didn't feel good." They agreed it wasn't cool of Zach to do, and then Mindy revealed she had also recommitted -- only if her four conditions she had discussed with Viviana could be met.
Zach was game for all three conditions except for living with Mindy. He said he's rarely home and goes to bed very early, and he didn't want Mindy to think he had moved in with her just to appease her.
"How is not making a move better? We are married and we are supposed to feel out this relationship, this marriage, leading up to 'Decision Day,'" Mindy said.
"And the reasons [you gave]... and that you don't want that to negatively impact us, I can't say for sure it wouldn't, but I think we need to know that, if it will or not... We need some kind of move in that direction or else I can't stay committed."
Zach just said, "Okay."
Jessica and Austin
It then became time for Viviana to sit down with Jessica, and Jessica said her marriage was going really well with Austin. She said it was "really easy" with Austin and she felt totally protected by him and safe with him.
Austin said he never expected the experiment to go this well for him. Despite butting heads here or there, he said their issues had been healthy stuff to get through.
Austin just wanting things to continue in the same direction and grow in order to be able to say "yes" on "Decision Day."
Bedtime had apparently been a problem for Jessica because she goes to bed earlier, but Jessica confirmed that didn't impact their sex life negatively at all.
"What would it take for you to say 'no' on 'Decision Day?'" Viviana asked Jessica.
"So we haven't said 'I love you' yet, and I do love him. And sometimes, I catch myself wanting to say it, but I don't want to say it yet because I want to make sure that it's mutual and I don't really feel like I know where he stands," Jessica shared.
But Austin said he totally trusted Jessica and wasn't holding anything back in their relationship.
"If there was a loss of trust in anyway, that's definitely something that could turn [our marriage] sour for me," Austin disclosed.
Viviana asked Jessica to share her feelings with Austin and not worry about how he'll respond, but Jessica just wanted some reassurance in return to confirm it truly was love.
When Jessica and Austin reunited, they were sweet and giddy and shared their experiences with the experts. Austin promised Jessica he was in it for the long haul.
Jessica stuttered when trying to say, "I love you," so she opted against divulging all of her feelings. She said she just wasn't ready to let them all loose yet.
Meka and Michael
Afterward, Meka and Michael faced "Recommitment Day," and Michael told Pastor Cal that he was getting settled into a new job as the director for an extended-day program at a school in Washington, D.C.
Michael shared his marriage was going "okay" and he was just trying to have fun at all times. Michael could tell why they were matched given Meka is very logical and analytic and he considered himself to be the "emotional core" of their relationship.
"It's a good thing to be fire and ice, if it works!" Michael said.
On Meka's end, she admitted to Viviana, "There was so much damage done in the beginning that it's still been hard to bounce back from it."
Meka was admittedly on guard and struggled to open up to Michael the way she had wanted to going into the process. Meka said there had been "a lot of inconsistencies and dishonesty" in her marriage, which had been hard for her to get over.
"It can be something as simple as, like, the mileage on his car and it can be something as big as what he does for a living," Meka told Viviana.
Meka said she had asked Michael for paystubs or some evidence of his employment but was still waiting to see the proof. Meka didn't even trust Michael's supposed salary, and she was coming off angry.
Meka was clearly frustrated because she had asked for someone honest.
"And that's not who I got," Meka said. "It's frustrating being married to someone that I don't know when he's telling the truth."
Meka confessed she was pretty much frustrated with Michael every day, and Viviana pointed out that didn't seem like "a soft place" for Michael "to land."
But Michael told Pastor Cal that he and Meka had worked through his dishonesty in the beginning of the relationship. Michael explained in order to protect himself with his background of being adopted, he had not been transparent.
Michael suggested Meka hadn't created a safe place for him to be honest and trust her, but Pastor Cal said since he had been dishonest, he had to do "twice as much" to even get to the point where they could be considered even.
Both Michael and Meka, however, decided to stay committed to their marriage and continue trying. Michael thought his marriage could grow, continue and last if they could work out the remaining kinks.
Michael told Pastor Cal he needed Meka to be emotionally vulnerable with him and initiate those type of conversations.
"Does she ever come to you and initiate emotion?" Pastor Cal asked.
"No," Michael replied, insisting he was being honest.
Viviana told Meka a commitment to her marriage could be trying something different or inviting some help in, and Meka acknowledged she still held out hope Michael could be the man she's supposed to be with.
Meka said she was 100 percent and "absolutely" committed to her marriage but she needed to see Michael be consistently honest. She understood there may be some things Michael didn't want to share with her yet, but she just didn't want him to lie his way out of something.
"My worry is he doesn't know how to stop embellishing. He doesn't know how to stop omitting. He doesn't know how to be 100 percent honest. That's the part that scares me, because we've had this conversation a million times," Meka explained.
Pastor Cal told Michael that Meka wanted to change her "hard exterior" but she was waiting to see if he could be honest with her first and provide a stable foundation and environment for them.
"I need you to prove to her that she can trust you with her heart," Pastor Cal told Michael.
And Viviana asked Meka to be softer and have some naked moments where she opens her heart.
Once Michael and Meka reunited after their separate sessions, Meka asked Michael how she could become a spot place for him to land in order to help him open up to her and be honest, and Michael said quality time and going out on dates could help that.
Michael also hoped they could develop some physical intimacy so he could feel close to her, adding that there are ways to initiate that other than sex.
Meka wanted her effort to be acknowledged since she held Michael's hand one day, but Michael said, although he appreciated the gesture, he needed it to be more heartfelt and genuine next time.
"We have something that we are protecting and fighting for," Michael told the cameras.
Meka said quitting and walking away from this marriage was not an option and they were both going to do everything in their power to make sure it works.
Brandon and Taylor
The next couple to sit down with the experts was Brandon and Taylor.
Brandon told Pastor Cal he and Taylor "were not able to rebound" from his outburst during their honeymoon in Panama and had "zero communication over the last few days" over Taylor's Instagram Stories video and the fact he had moved out of their shared apartment.
Brandon said Taylor felt like he had abandoned her and they were both "kind of over it."
Taylor shared with Viviana her relationship did not get better after Panama and Brandon had been difficult with production. She wanted to see his sweet, caring side more and hoped they could get to a place where they could have open communication with each other.
Taylor therefore told Brandon that she wanted to be his friend but that Brandon refused.
"This seems like it's a game of chicken. This seems like the two of you don't want to say one way or the other, 'I like you. I see a future with you.' And neither one of you wants to say, 'I don't like you. I don't see a future with you,' and stick to it," Viviana reasoned.
Taylor said she could try to break down her own walls to help Brandon do the same and open up. With that being said, Taylor claimed that if Brandon wanted to continue working on the marriage, she would also be onboard.
Taylor noted there was a lot she liked and disliked about Brandon but she hadn't given up yet on the marriage.
"So yes, I am committed to this marriage and to Brandon," Taylor told Viviana.
But Brandon vented to Pastor Cal, "I can't do it."
Brandon said he was all about Taylor when they first met because she's beautiful, outgoing and intelligent, but he wasn't sure he could remain married to her without seeing a lot of change.
"Do you believe this is a viable relationship? Because the moment you stop believing this can work, it will not work," Pastor Cal reasoned, adding that they didn't know how to get beyond the roadblocks they caused.
"Can you get over it? Can you move forward?.. Absolutely, but it's completely up to you guys."
Brandon said if Taylor became the woman he wanted her to become, he'd like to stay married to her.
"If I see a difference, if I see a change, I'd be willing to continue on. But I need to see it!" Brandon noted.
"She would have to act like a wife... Someone who is not constantly going out to party with her girlfriends, someone who hasn't blocked me on social media, someone who hasn't gone on and said they're a single person. I also want someone who is not going to intentionally try to hurt me if they feel like they're hurt."
Taylor told Viviana she would need to know in her heart that Brandon is not a disrespectful man and see consistent, respectful behavior. She also wanted to see "consistent interest" from Brandon.
Taylor had no idea whether Brandon was going to show up to their apartment after their respective counseling sessions, but he did.
Taylor suggested they should try to communicate better, and Brandon said he was willing to work on his flaws as long as he could trust her and see changes.
Taylor said they needed to let go of the past if they were going to move forward, and Brandon agreed, although he was still clearly upset about her Instagram Stories video.
Taylor explained Brandon shouldn't get to decide whenever they talk, and they both agreed on not running away when problems strike. Brandon listened and didn't shut down, and Taylor was given confidence they could turn things around and not be petty with each other anymore.
After a great conversation, Taylor and Brandon hugged it out.
Derek and Katie
And finally, it was Derek and Katie's turn to decide whether they'd like to recommit to their marriage.
Derek revealed things had been going well and they were making strides to get to know each other on a deeper level. He said he could see a future with her but they just had a big fight.
Derek didn't want to lose the progress they had made, but he looked forward to experiencing life and wanted his wife to feel the same way.
Meanwhile, Katie told Viviana that she and Derek had established a strong friendship but she didn't believe in or stand behind Derek's dreams and goals. Viviana actually told Katie to "fake it until you make it" and pretend to support him.
Pastor Cal thought it was necessary for a married couple to believe in each other's dreams, and Viviana told Katie to look at Derek's goals as him having a great entrepreneurial spirit.
Katie said if Derek continued to be open and emotional, she would want to say "yes" on "Decision Day" but she needed him to be more realistic and mature.
Viviana told Katie she should want a fun relationship, and they could have an excellent balance in their marriage given Katie is more of a grounded individual.
"What do you think at this point it would take to get you to a 'yes' on 'Decision Day?'" Pastor Cal asked Derek.
"I need my wife to support me in some of my dreams. The lack of belief hits me. That is something I do need to assess because that is very important, especially going forward in the future," Derek explained.
Pastor Cal challenged Derek to pull back, let go, and embrace what he already has. Pastor Cal said Katie should be his priority and he needed to prove to her that she could trust him with her heart.
Katie shared she cared about Derek and wanted to recommit to their marriage and to making it a happy and healthy one, and she said she "really really [wanted] to be" her husband's No. 1 fan.
Derek told Pastor Cal he had put Katie on his healthcare plan at work to show he was in it for the long haul, and the expert seemed really impressed.
When they reunited afterwards, Katie apologized for the argument they had the previous day. Katie said Derek essentially gave her an ultimatum about keeping his dreams and so she worried a life with her wasn't enough for him.
"I'll always be chasing an adventure, but to me, the greatest adventure is what we're doing," Derek told his wife. "And that adventure doesn't end."
Katie also said Derek deserved a wife who would be his No. 1 fan but she needed to hear he wanted her and would prioritize her. Derek therefore promised Katie that he wanted her in her entirety and her future dreams.
The pair said one after the other, "I want you," and then they kissed and embraced.
"And I won't make fun of your Christmas song," Katie noted sweetly. "I'll do the cowbell."
With 22 days until "Decision Day," Pastor Cal met up with all of the Season 10 MAFS brides while Viviana gathered with their grooms.
Brandon revealed he had forgiven Taylor for her mistakes and they were spending more time together, and Taylor said she noticed Brandon wearing his wedding ring again.
But Mindy admitted Zach had yet to move into her place and was supposed to bring a bag over that very night.
Mindy said she was trying to be patient and compromise, and Pastor Cal pointed out Zach was "not a horrible person" but he didn't really know how to handle this situation.
But Jessica argued Zach knew what he had signed up for and wasn't obliging by the terms of a real marriage, which was living together. Jessica didn't want to see her friend Mindy get hurt.
"I think Zach is not interested in a lifetime marriage. I think that maybe he was interested in the idea of promoting himself a little more," Jessica said in a confessional.
"The recommitment, that was actually really hard for me," Mindy confessed. "I was very much so on the fence, and I am still wondering if I made the right decision. I am."
Zach told Viviana he was putting in more time with Mindy but still didn't want to move in with her.
"We are kind of working through that as far as what is that going to look like? Is that going to be a couple nights over? For me, my focus is more quality time," Zach said.
As a result, Pastor Cal advised Mindy to protect herself and set and maintain her standards.
"Have something he should reach -- and don't give in," Pastor Cal told Mindy.
Mindy learned Zach needed to put in the effort she had been willing to put in.
"So if Zach can't follow through, this will be the end of our marriage," Mindy admitted to the cameras.
The episode concluded with 22 days left until "Decision Day" and Zach going over Mindy's apartment with a backpack on his back.
Mindy gifted Zach's two dogs with toys and they enjoyed some wings and wine together. Mindy was "so excited" Zach was going to spend the night, saying it was a really big step for them.
Mindy hoped for a perfect evening and remained optimistic, and she told Zach that while he was getting ready early in the morning, she could take the dogs out for him.
Zach brought sweatpants, a T-shirt and two pairs of socks with him to the apartment, but Mindy was still happy. She mentioned he should bring more clothes with him next time.
Mindy gushed about how the couple was going to sleep in a bed together for the first time since their honeymoon and she looked forward to waking up next to her husband.
"Maybe we could have a real shot at being happy together," Mindy said in a confessional with a big smile.
But then Zach dropped a bomb on her and said, "I think I'm going to go in the other bedroom."