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Howell man’s life unfolds on ‘Married at First Sight’

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Staff Writer

Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner 
PHOTO COURTESY OF FYI Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner PHOTO COURTESY OF FYI Finding love and getting married is a goal for many people, but for Howell native Doug Hehner it is part of a very public social experiment.

Hehner, 31, willingly participated in an experiment that changed his love life forever: He got married to someone at first sight. What makes the experiment so public is the fact that Hehner’s new marriage is part of the FYI cable television network reality show “Married at First Sight.”

“Married at First Sight” airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. Episode five of the 10-episode series aired this week. Episodes are repeated at other times during the week.

Hehner is a Howell High School graduate who played football, baseball and basketball for the Rebels. He is a member of the Howell High School Hall of Fame.

Corey Davies coached Hehner on the football field and said he has seen “Married at First Sight.” He said the idea for the show seemed crazy, but he said he supports Hehner completely.

“Doug was always a very good and conscientious kid and an extremely talented athlete, and I hope the show helps him find the right one for him,” Davies said.

“Married at First Sight” features three couples who agreed to get legally married to a person they met just minutes before exchanging vows. Relationship experts selected people from a pool of candidates and paired each person with an individual they believed was a perfect match.

While learning about the show and the casting process, Hehner, who is a software salesman, did not know what to expect.

“I had searched through different reality shows to see what was out there, and when I got a phone call from one that was talking about a love experiment, I knew I had to try out the idea,” he said.

Trusting four experts to pick the woman one is going to marry seems difficult, but Hehner said he has full trust in the professionals helping him out in his love life, which is one of the reasons why he decided to appear on the show.

“I tend to be a very open-minded person, so that was never the problem, which is why I decided to be on the show and see if the experts can help me out. And I knew if I didn’t do the show, I would always have those ‘what ifs’ in my mind,” Hehner said.

Jumping into marriage minutes after meeting one’s future spouse might seem like something that one’s family members and friends would feel apprehensive about, but Hehner said his family has been his best source of support.

“I think, more than anything, my family was curious at what the outcome of the experiment was going to be, but I have such a great and supportive family … and although it took some convincing my mother that I was going to take getting married seriously, they stood by me,” Hehner said.

On the show, the newly married couples are seen testing their relationship by going on a honeymoon, moving in together and discussing finances. For Hehner, living with a woman he barely knows provides the chance to work up a relationship with her.

“I think that because I was put into a marriage with someone I barely knew, it seems to be pretty backward, but I think that was the best part of this experiment because it made me open and honest with myself,” he said.

Hehner married Jamie Otis, a labor and delivery nurse who works in New York. Meeting Otis for the first time while standing at the altar was a weird, yet pleasant experience, according to Hehner.

“I felt like I was standing at the altar for what seemed like an hour, but when I saw Jamie, I thought she was obviously gorgeous and I got excited, but when Jamie started to cry, I didn’t know how to comfort someone I barely knew,” Hehner said.

Hehner and Otis’ relationship continues to unfold on the series, and Hehner said he has learned a lot from Otis about love and life in general.

“Jamie is a beautiful person inside and out and was completely open during the entire experience. She taught me if you feel something, say it and never hold back. She is honest, knows who she is, and where she wants to go in life,” Hehner said.

As viewers of “Married at First Sight” continue to watch Hehner and Otis, they can expect to see the typical discussions that come with marriage, according to Hehner.

“Fans are definitely going to see some bickering and tears between Jamie and I, but they will also see us taking more positive steps forward as we overcome some challenges,” he said.

Contact Taylor M. Lier at tlier@gmnews.com.

2014-08-07 / Front Page

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