I married a stranger during the pandemic

MICHELLE Jenkins, 27, a teacher, lives in Sheffield with her husband Owen, 33, an IT director.

Here, she reveals how their relationship blossomed after saying ‘I do’ as a stranger in March 2020.

Michelle Jenkins and husband Owen got married after meeting on Channel 4's Married At First Sight


Michelle Jenkins and husband Owen got married after meeting on Channel 4’s Married At First Sight

Starting to kneel in our bedroom, my husband Owen took a diamond ring from his pocket.

Crying, I choked: ‘Yes!’ before we both burst out laughing.

The irony is that we have been happily married for exactly one year, since we said ‘I do’ like strangers in March 2020.

Meeting in the fifth series of Channel 4’s Married at First Sight, we skipped the usual flirting phase and went straight to heavy commitment.

It was December 2019, when I decided to apply after seeing the program advertised on TV. I feel ready to settle down and I want to meet a man who wants the same. Internet dating isn’t right for me – I’ve met a few guys, but it never worked out.

The manufacturers contacted me a few weeks later to take me for a review, before telling me I had been selected. My mother Anne and my friends were worried, but I felt that it was something I had to do for me.

The production team and I then had six weeks to find a dress, arrange a hen, and arrange the prenuptial agreements and a will, as the marriages on the show were binding. legally binding at the time.

My mother was a little upset because she felt like all tradition and excitement had been taken from her, plus she was afraid that things wouldn’t work out, but most of my family and friends were supportive.

Tradition abandoned

I don’t know anything about Owen, other than his name and a few minor details, but I got caught up in the romance hoping he might be the One.

On March 14, 2020, the enormity of what I was about to do hit me. Straightening my beautiful ivory wedding dress, I gripped Gary’s father’s arm as the door opened into the ceremony room, where I could see the smiling faces of friends and family.

Everything was blurry, because I decided not to wear glasses so it wasn’t until I got close to Owen that I could see his face. Thankfully, he’s actually very handsome! The show’s producers say physical attractiveness is something they can’t guarantee, but it’s definitely there for me.

We had a great day, and our friends and family said it was like a normal wedding, apart from the cameras rolling. And as soon as my mother met Owen, she was surrounded.

That night, Owen and I stayed up until 4 a.m., talking. We had all the conversations you’d never have with someone you just met – relationships, kids, dreams. At one point, Owen looked at me and said: ‘I like you, do you like me?’ I replied: ‘Of course yes, I’ve been laughing all day!’

After our honeymoon in Edinburgh, I left Hastings so we could move in together at Owen’s house in Sheffield in August 2020.

Michelle's mother was saddened by her plan to marry a'stranger' during the pandemic


Michelle’s mother was saddened by her plan to marry a ‘stranger’ during the pandemic

It was certainly a powerful way to start our relationship, but being thrown together like that was also easier, and I knew I was developing feelings for him – by the end of the first week, both of us. We both said ‘I love you’.

Compared to the show’s other series, our experience was very different – because of the pandemic, Owen and I were only 24 hours a day, so we’re in our own little bubble.

After the show ended, we stayed together, buying a four-bedroom house in Sheffield in January 2021. Then, shortly after our one-year anniversary, Owen proposed.

That moment meant a lot to both of us – we also chose each other in real life.

Today, how we meet is hardly in conversation. We’re just like any other boring couple – we watch TV, argue about housework, and we want to start a family someday.

The way we met may not have been the same, and we were the first MAFS UK couple to go away, but I am so happy I decided to marry a stranger. I cannot imagine my life without Owen now.

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PaulLeBlanc is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. PaulLeBlanc joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: paulleblanc@dailynationtoday.com.

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