A Valentine's Day Exclusive: Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner
Open Up About Love, Each Other & Their Future
As a young widow and fairly public figure, whenever I’ve been asked what the most difficult part of being married was for me, I’d answer,”Being 'grown-up' in it!” The fact is, when it comes to marriage - especially in the beginning - many of us aren't. We lead with our “kid” legs walking us through the door and into our happily-ever-afters. Only later, do we realize what successful marriages actually rely on to work, none of which have anything to do with the wistful fantasies of children that we arrive with to these incredibly serious commitments.
“Marriage” is hard work and requires a maturity that entwines love with the less romantic but critical attributes of devotion, steadfastness, trustworthiness, faith, courage, understanding, empathy, resilience and more. The fact is, no one truly knows what marriage actually requires and demands when they say “I do” at the alter. But as Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner have demonstrated through their participation in “Married At First Sight” and “Married At First Sight: The First Year,” staying married is a decision -- and one you make every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to sleep.
Currently, Jamie and Doug are 'working through and riding out' the challenges their unusual marriage is imposing upon them...and the entire world is watching, if not, waiting to see the outcome. These two people are having to squelch their own, as well as their audience’s, kid-infused fantasies and expectations for the health, hope and future of their union. They are “growing up and growing together” -- tuning out all harsh criticisms while tuning into each other and each other’s needs in order to make their relationship work. It’s not easy under the best of circumstances. It's even harder when thousands of viewers have hopped into bed with you, as in the case of Jamie and Doug.
Maybe the following interview can help viewers understand, more clearly, Jamie and Doug's position. And maybe...just maybe...in honor of Valentine’s Day, we can couple that understanding with some desperately needed support. After all....lest we not forget that, although Jamie and Doug are merely characters in a series to us, they are, in fact, real people to each other and their dreams for the future. Like every young couple, support is what they need and, hopefully, what they will get more of at the conclusion of reading the interview below. Enjoy getting to know Jamie and Doug like never before.
What are your personal mantras?
Jamie: "It is what it is." Further explained, “Don't let miserable circumstances or bad luck get you down. Keep moving.”
Doug: The tattoo on my chest is a reminder and my personal mantra. My chest tattoo is mirrored, and each letter stands for a word - CAHAYCD DSTYOT. I have only told a handful of people.
When you first saw each other at the alter, what did you ‘honestly’ think?
Jamie: I didn't think. I just cried. Lol
Doug: I couldn’t believe how stunning she looked, and I remember thinking that she didn’t really look like any of her family members. I really ‘lucked out’ with her as my wife.
What triggered the transition from ‘living with a stranger’ to ‘loving this man/woman’ for each of you?
Jamie: It took a lot of time. It's a whirlwind of emotion. And I want to feel it in my bones and know that it's REAL. I don't want a TV marriage. I guess my insecurities get in the way.
Doug: I think we became more and more comfortable living with each other and spooning. I think the turning point into loving each other was when we began supporting each other, no matter what it was. We started to become a team. And felt like we got each other’s backs! Jamie also worked nights at the hospital, so three or four days a week, I would see her on my way to work, which was when she would be coming home to sleep. That part gave us a chance to miss each other and realize how much we enjoyed each other’s company
Jamie, share something about Doug your viewers do not know. Doug, do the same about Jamie.
Jamie: I'm saving this for my book coming out this year! There are LOTS of things viewers don't know about us.
Doug: Jamie has a “NO DOOR POLICY” to take a number 1 in the bathroom.
What has been the most difficult challenge in this entire process for each of you?
Jamie: Dealing with the haters that hide behind social media. Lol
Doug: The most difficult challenge was trust and building a foundation to grow from. That, and believing that the experiment may actually work!
What is the biggest lesson each of you has learned about marriage in going through this process?
Doug: You must accept the fact that it will not be perfect all the time, and that there is no “I” or “Me” anymore in decisions; it is always “Us.”
Jamie, you went from being everyone's darling to being highly criticized for your continued relationship with your ex-boyfriend. How are you handling this backlash? And where is Doug in the process?
Jamie: I am living my truth. The truth isn't always pretty. But I'm not hiding or pretending. I'm dealing with honest feelings, publicly. If people hate me for being honest about my struggles, then so be it. My husband loves me for not lying to him and painting a pretty face just so I can save face. Our relationship will either survive or die; but either way, it will be 100% genuine and authentic.
Doug, what is keeping you committed to Jamie during this time of emotional upheaval when many are saying that you should leave Jamie?
Doug: We promised each other that we would always be honest with how we feel. Obviously, Jamie is way better with that than I am, but I made it known that I was “OK” with whatever she had to tell me. A lot of people will not understand why, even if I explained it. Bottom line, when you marry someone, it is until death do you part. I know the inner Jamie, not the outer Jamie, which is the Jamie that people see on TV. Kind of like a belly button!
Doug, are your parents sharing any advice or thoughts on Jamie's decision to remain a part of her ex's life and vice versa?
Doug: They shared a great deal about what it is to work on things --.how to compromise, and how to argue. You do everything ‘humanly’ possible to get through challenges.
Would either of you go through the process again given what you know now?
Jamie: Only thing I'd change is the amount of time I spend caring about what others think.
Doug: 100% YES
What is one piece of advice each of you would offer to others considering getting married?
Jamie: I always say to never take my advice. I married a complete stranger. Lol
Doug: Make sure you do not rush anything, and do not assume that your partner should know what makes you annoyed and upset and angry. “Communication,” that would solve a lot of mini arguments before they become something bigger.
Doug, please finish this sentence, "I am Batman." Jamie, please finish this sentence, "I am proud of who I've become."
What is one thing that would break this marriage up for you, Doug? What is one thing that would break this marriage up for you, Jamie?
Jamie: Cheating. I think we both agree on that one.
Doug: If Jamie would agree to go on “The Bachelor” again. That, and cheating.
Do either of you believe in God? And if, so how does faith play into making this marriage work?
Jamie: Yeah. But we aren't super religious.
Doug: I believe that everyone has a plan, and things happen for a reason.
Share a social cause/organization or nonprofit each of you either directly or indirectly support. How and why are you involved?
Doug: Ocean Preservation Society (OSP), which directly affects the trapping and killing of dolphins and whales, using them in aquariums, and the massacre of dolphins in Japan. I will NEVER go to a water park with dolphin or orca shows.
When all is said and done, how do each of you want to be remembered?
Jamie: I want to be remembered as being genuine and honest. And an amazing mother. Hopefully, one day, I can fulfill those dreams.
Doug: Everyone needs a Doug!
I think ‘everyone’ needs a Doug and Jamie in their lives to remind them of what marriage and love are truly all about. That feeling you feel ‘moments after meeting someone you can imagine spending the rest of your life with’ doesn’t even closely resemble that which you, actually, need to do so. Unromantic...yes, but ‘surface love’ rarely equates with ‘lasting love.’
Let Jamie and Doug’s REALITY signify the true meaning of ‘Valentine’s Day’ for you.
Happy Valentine's Day, All! Especially, you two -- Jamie and Doug.
Many thanks to Jamie Otis, Doug Hehner and Kinetic Content for making this interview possible.