I’m a relationship expert on Married At First Sight – how we really choose couples and why it's not quite what you think | The Sun

“WE’VE got a match,” are the words infamously uttered over and over by the Married At First Sight experts every year.

Celebs Go Dating’s Paul C Brunson, sex and relationship therapist Charlene Douglas and Mel Schilling – who first appeared on the original Australian version of the show – are all seen pairing strangers up in order to get married, based on their values and personalities.

There are some couples who have lasted – like Adam Aveling and Tayah Victoria, who recently had their first child together – but the majority haven’t, with many of them not getting on from the very start.

Now, in an exclusive interview, psychologist Mel reveals how she and the other experts really choose the couples – and how they do actually get a helping hand from the telly execs.

Producer input

“It's pretty complex,” she tells us. “It's very much a collaborative process between the three of us experts and the production team, so we're all coming at it from different perspectives.”

Previous contestants have revealed that they’re given a 500-question questionnaire to fill out when they apply to MAFS – which can take over 12 hours to complete.

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This questionnaire covers everything from their political and religious views, sexual history, likes, dislikes and type of person they find attractive.

And Mel explains what happens when she, the experts and the producers all cast their eye over these lengthy forms.

She says: “I personally am very much about understanding a person's values and their strengths and really looking at what is likely to predict compatibility.

“And we put all of our information together and then it's just a really in depth, robust discussion about all the pros and cons of a couple because, at the end of the day, there's no formula here, it's not an exact science.”

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She continues: “It's very much about weighing up the possibilities of what all of these pieces of data about this person mean for them and what it's going to mean for them in a relationship with this person, and what combinations that’s likely to throw up.

“So it's a really complex process, and I love it because we can really get our teeth stuck into it.”

Disagreements about couples

With British Charlene’s expertise lying in sex, States-born Paul’s in the relationships and Australia native Mel’s in the psychology behind people, the trio don’t always agree on couples during the choosing process.

Mel says: “Paul, Charlene and I come from such different backgrounds, and we're all from different countries, different cultures, and also different professional backgrounds, so we really do bring a very different perspective. 

“And that's great, as it leads to some really interesting debate.”

There are many couples on MAFS who viewers get very invested in, and one in particular who shocked with their split this year was Chanita Stephenson and Jordan Emmett-Connelly – who seemed solid from their wedding day.

And Mel admits she becomes just as invested as fans of the show.

She says: “I'm a bit like a crazy auntie there, watching along and hoping for the best but ripping my hair out and having a few tears when things don't go well. 

“For a while, I tried not to take it personally, but I realised that doesn't work for me, so I do. I really do!

“I'm right there with them, both personally and professionally.”

Potential new MAFS romance

MAFS is returning to E4 for a Christmas special on December 11, in which familiar faces from the 2021 and 2022 series will come together for a festive dinner party.

Knowing the show and dinner parties, it’s likely that there will be fireworks, as Jordan and Chanita are both invited, as well as former couple Adrian Sanderson and Thomas Hartley, who have confessed they no longer speak to each other.

But Mel hints at a potential romance between Amy Christophers or Nikita Jasmine and one of the single men from the last series of MAFS.

Mel says: “One of the things that I think is quite fascinating is seeing the cross-pollination of people from the different seasons connecting, and the sparks that start to fly!”

With Christmas fast approaching, Mel is encouraging everyone to break at least one tradition this year, and make a change over the festive season, with one idea being to swap the dreaded brussel sprouts out for Tenderstem broccoli.

She says: “I do see you Brits as being very Christmas crazy. I love how you go so much further than we do in terms of the decorations, the music, the drinks, everything!

“But I'm also very aware that that can mean being a bit stuck in your ways.

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“I'd love to think that this Christmas is about starting a new way of thinking and looking at our Christmas traditions and starting new ones and maybe rejecting those old ones that no longer serve us.”

Watch Mel give her tips on how to break free from traditions for a more fulfilling Christmas at www.tenderstem.co.uk/break-up-with-brussels

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