Pastor Cal Says 'Married at First Sight' Marriages Are "Not For Weaklings" (EXCLUSIVE)

Jamie Lerner - Author

Oct. 18 2023, Updated 9:13 a.m. ET

Pastor Cal and Dr. Pepper from 'MAFS'
Source: Lifetime

The Gist:

  • Married at First Sight matches couples who don't meet until the day of their wedding and say "I do."
  • Pastor Cal Roberson has been part of the experiment since the beginning.
  • Some fans still wonder how real or fake Married at First Sight is.
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We love to watch random people meet for the first time at their wedding and try to work it out after. That’s basically what Married at First Sight is, and they do it well. The producers have figured out the perfect balance of dishing out the drama and matching up couples that actually work, which surprises us all. So how real is Married at First Sight, and could it be scripted?

We spoke exclusively with the show's longtime expert Pastor Cal Roberson, who shared his thoughts on people who claim the show isn't as authentic as it claims to be. If Married at First Sight is actually scripted, then that changes everything. While we can all agree there’s likely not a script that actors are handed and there is some level of reality to the show, how deep does that level go?

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Married at First Sight is no different, although it varies based on which version. Many participants from the Australian version of the show have come forward to say that it’s all completely bogus, whereas the American version has a bit more honesty to it.

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The American version of ‘Married at First Sight’ is completely unscripted and the most honest of all the versions.

Because the American version of the Lifetime love series was first, they wanted to make sure they were being true to the title, so participants do get legally married after never meeting one another. Not only that but if they decide not to stay together after eight weeks, they cannot apply for an annulment. They must legally divorce (but production will cover this if it’s in that eight-week timeframe).

'Married at First Sight' Virginia & Erik
Source: Lifetime
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When we asked Pastor Cal what he says to people who claim MAFS is fake, he admitted that he "understands" why some might think that way. But he also stands behind the show's authenticity.

"With so many shows that claim reality but shoot for ratings, it’s easy to assume that," he told Distractify. "However, I wouldn’t be aligned with any show that is fake about marriage. It’s a matter of integrity for me. And besides, you can’t make this stuff up and our couples are not that great at acting."

He also said that the 2023 writer's strike didn't effect the show "because we don't have writers." And, he added, "there are no scripts." Pastor Cal and the show's other experts work diligently in the casting and vetting process as they try their best to successfully match couples each season.

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Pastor Cal on 'MAFS
Source: Lifetime

The Australian version of ‘Married at First Sight’ is notoriously manipulated and seems scripted.

Despite Pastor Cal's claims about the U.S. version of the show, many contestants of the Australian Married at First Sight reality show have come forward with allegations of disingenuous actions and practices bordering on abuse. One contestant, Susan Rawlings, broke her contract to bring these practices to light, claiming on her blog that the participants were not allowed bathroom breaks and were completely sleep deprived.

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According to her, hey’d film 12 to 16 hour days and then have to do one-on-one interviews. She also shared that they were literally fed lines from a script, so it’s safe to say that the Australian Married at First Sight is very close to scripted.

'Married at First Sight' stars Miles & Karen
Source: Lifetime
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The marriages on ‘Married at First Sight’ are also totally real.

While the premise of the show exists in that two people who have never met get married, the goal of the show is to set up happy relationships. According to Pastor Cal, the producers want people truly looking for love, not for fame. And, he shared with us, he advises those looking for the latter to look elsewhere.

"This is a legally binding marriage that is not for weaklings," Pastor Cal said. "Only those ready to put in the work need apply."

Married at First Sight airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.

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