Despite being married for seven years, the Married at First Sight couple has never shied away from the good, bad and wild parts of their relationship. But in recent weeks, the pair has made headlines for their social media posts that often paint a marriage in serious distress.
"We're not giving up on each other—not now, not ever," Jamie proclaimed through Instagram on Aug. 10 while looking visibly upset in a selfie next to a tearful Doug. "Right now, I'm fighting for my marriage. For my children. For ME."
While some are quick to criticize the couple for being overdramatic or sharing too much information, this duo says they are providing an authentic look at marriage that isn't always hearts and kisses.
"Honestly, the past couple of weeks I feel like finally, there's like a little bit of a light at the end of the tunnel because for a long time, I was wondering whether or not we were able to overcome just some of the problems that we were having," Jamie exclusively shared with E! News on Aug. 20. "And honestly, I don't know if we would have if it wasn't for therapy, which sounds, I know probably sounds crazy to some."
Back in 2014, Jamie and Doug met on the very first season of Married at First Sight. After following through with the social experiment, they appeared on Jamie and Doug Plus One in 2017 and filmed the birth of their now 4-year-old daughter Henley. Most recently, they documented the arrival of 15-month-old son Hendrix on Married at First Sight: Couples' Cam.
"We've made a commitment to each other and to really our fans that have been with us from day one to show the good, the bad, the ugly and everything," Doug explained. "More importantly though, I think it's inspiring to not just show issues or problems or challenges, but very rarely do you get to see the progress of the work that's being made and the solution to it."
"A lot of people don't see the work put in behind the scenes," he continued. "I personally can't imagine a life without Jamie, without this family and I know how great it is and how great it can be and how much we can grow."
According to Doug, he can be a "terrible communicator" who finds himself unable to "get out what I need to say or what I really mean."
"A lot of it is because I'm just maybe not confident or maybe just hiding or just, you know, just waiting for things to blow over and that can only take me so far," he explained. "And, you know, couples therapy has really helped bridge that gap and seeking out personal therapy, I mean it's, it's not a stigma anymore. It's something that's been instrumental in keeping us together."
According to Dr. Viviana Coles, who has not treated Jamie and Doug but has served as a Married at First Sight expert in recent seasons, therapy can be a helpful tool for couples in various stages of their relationship.
"I have worked with couples who are four weeks into their relationship, four months in, four years in. It's heartbreaking, and much more challenging for all parties, to work with couples who are starting therapy when on the verge of calling it quits," Dr. Viviana shared with E! News. "The earlier you establish a working relationship with your therapist, the better the chances at a favorable outcome."
The licensed relationship therapist and author of The 4 Intimacy Styles added, "I see my clients, at most, a couple of times per week and, at least, three to four times per year for maintenance. This is the best way I can help them to avoid any major pitfalls and resentment."
Jamie is the first to admit that she has learned many things about herself and her relationship when speaking to a professional. As she explained to E! News, "I am a firm believer that you should always be working as an individual and as a couple...You can't rely on your spouse to check all your boxes and that's genuinely what I was doing with Doug and I think he was doing with me. I think a lot of people probably ended up doing that with their partners because of the pandemic."
According to Dr. Viviana, growing and evolving as an individual is necessary, but it sometimes demands more work in a relationship because it creates more opportunities for disconnection.
"Couples therapy can help keep the connection from growing into an unhealthy chasm," she explained. "This pandemic has forced us to re-evaluate our lives. Growing in new directions for personal fulfillment does not necessarily have to spell the end of your relationship."
Looking ahead, Jamie and Doug hope to continue growing as individuals and as a couple to a point where they feel more comfortable expanding their family. "We're discussing one or two more children," Jamie shared. "We're not not trying, but we're definitely not trying as hard as we were just because now we realized, holy crap, we should probably slow down, and like really become realigned again."
And while neither would characterize divorce as a sign of defeat, Jamie and Doug are far from calling it quits on their love story. As Jamie explained, "Full transparency. I don't want to divorce. I want to know that my husband is 100 percent committed."
Doug replied, "I'm 100 percent committed."
Married at First Sight: Couples' Cam (produced by Kinetic Content) airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. on Lifetime.