'Married at First Sight' star Mindy Shiben: My Dad said "I told you so" after Zach Justice and I split, we had to go to family therapy
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/28/2020
Married at First Sight star Mindy Shiben has revealed her decision to marry a stranger on TV resulted in some serious family tension that led to therapy sessions with her disapproving father, who apparently believed the show was trashy.
Mindy, a 34-year-old figure skating coach from Frederick, MD, was matched by Married at First Sight experts Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Dr. Viviana Coles and Pastor Calvin Roberson to wed Zach Justice, a 32-year-old fitness professional from St. Mary's, GA, on Season 10 of the Lifetime series.
Mindy's parents did not agree with or support Mindy's giant leap of faith, so they refused to appear on Married at First Sight's tenth season and attend their daughter's wedding.
"That was one of the toughest parts about [the show], especially in the beginning of the experience," Mindy admitted on a recent episode of Married at First Sight alums Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner's Hot Marriage Cool Parents with Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner podcast.
"I didn't really predict that reaction from [my parents]. I thought that, you know, maybe they wouldn't love the idea or maybe they would. I didn't know, but I thought that they would still come to my wedding."
Mindy elaborated on the moment she told her parents she'd like to tie the knot with a total stranger on TV.
"When I told them about it, my dad was just like, 'I don't know. I don't know.' And he kind of came back being like, 'I've thought about it and I don't want to be a part of this at all,'" Mindy shared.
"And my mom, I think they just both had the idea in their head that this is a reality TV show, so they didn't really listen to anything else beyond that. They just had it in their head, like, 'Okay, this is just kind of a trashy show,' or something."
Mindy said her parents didn't understand her perspective on Married at First Sight and that she didn't consider it to be "a typical reality TV show."
"This is people trying to make a genuine marriage work," Mindy insisted of the concept.
After her parents were a no-show at her wedding, Mindy's marriage to Zach got off to a rough start during their honeymoon in Panama when Zach admitted multiple times he wasn't attracted to his wife -- and then things spiraled downhill from there.
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"It was really rough during the experience when I married Zach and things weren't going well. [My parents] knew about it and I was open with them," Mindy explained to Jamie and Doug, who got married on Season 1 of Married at First Sightand have their second child on the way.
"My mom was supportive. It was hard because I don't think she fully understood what I was going through since she wasn't really there and stuff."
"But my dad was like a huge, 'I told you so.' We had a couple of therapy sessions to try to create a sense of peace between us, because we were really not doing well for a while."
However, Mindy said relations with her father improved over time with professional help.
"Luckily now, we've gotten past it and we just kind of agree to disagree there. So my relationship with my family is really strong now," Mindy shared on the podcast.
Doug acknowledged getting one's family onboard is probably "the toughest part" of choosing to marry a stranger and even his own mother cried behind closed doors when she found out.
"It's a rough situation, especially when it doesn't work out," Doug reasoned.
"If they're not going to take the time to look back on some of the past shows or see some of the success stories, it's kind of tough to explain what the experiment is to [anyone]."
Married at First Sight's tenth season premiered with Mindy crying to her sister about her parents' disapproval and how she feared being "embarrassed" on her wedding day because her groom wouldn't be able to meet her parents.
"Picturing myself walking down the aisle without my dad there and all the things that you do with your parents at your wedding, just thinking about that brings the waterworks. It's definitely emotional," Mindy explained.
"[But] my parents' reaction didn't really make me second guess this. I believe so strongly in this experiment and what this is all about, and I knew really in my heart that this is the right thing for me, even without the support of my parents."
Mindy went through with marrying Zach and put her all into the relationship.
But after a tumultuous journey, Mindy dumped Zach and ended their marriage nearly two weeks before "Decision Day" because he had put little-to-no effort into their relationship and sparked an inappropriate and disrespectful friendship with Mindy's pal Lindsay behind her back.
At the reunion special for Married at First Sight 10, Mindy radiated positive energy and said she had found an inner-strength that she never knew existed. Mindy also revealed she had begun dabbling in dating.