Married at First Sight bride and groom Stephanie Sersen and AJ Vollmoeller didn’t always look like they’d make it on their season of the Lifetime show. Despite being early front-runners, they hit some rough patches. And, there was doubt among viewers surrounding their relationship.
They recently passed the one-year mark in their marriage. And, both AJ Vollmoeller and Stephanie Sersen talked exclusively with Soap Dirt about what the experts got right – and what makes their marriage work. What did the Married at First Sight couple reveal?
Married at First Sight: Hardest Part About First Year for Stephanie Sersen & AJ Vollmoeller
Soap Dirt (SD): In your mind, what was the hardest part about your Married at First Sight marriage in the first year?
Stephanie Sersen (SS): “The hardest part is learning how to navigate our reactions to certain things. For example, AJ [Vollmoeller] is very outright with emotions (as seen on Married at First Sight). Which is great when it’s positive but hard to handle when it’s negative. Whereas I’m more even-keel. So, that’s great that I can keep my cool, but not so great when AJ needs to feel love or excitement from me. I don’t show it so easy. So, we are still learning how to understand each other’s reactions”.
AJ Vollmoeller (AJ): “Learning each other. The little things that annoy us, the things we appreciate the most, what makes us happy, what makes us cry, mad, etc. Learning all the little things about what makes each other tic to be able to be sure we secure our future together – not just our present”.
“Confession: She [Stephanie Sersen] is MUCH easier to learn than I am. We were new to all this. We had no idea how to navigate it to make sure we set ourselves up for a lifetime of security and happiness”.
MAFS: AJ Vollmoeller & Stephanie Sersen Talk About the Experts – Did They Get it Right?
SD: What would you say the Married at First Sight experts got right when they matched you?
Stephanie: “I asked for someone trustworthy since several of my exes cheated on me. And, I asked for someone with a huge friend group, because I have a big social circle and I can’t handle jealousy. The [Married at First Sight] matchmakers found those core qualities in AJ [Vollmoeller] that were non-negotiable for me. Plus, many more like adventure, being career-driven, and family-oriented”.
AJ: “The balance of our personalities. Not only our opposite energies that balance each other out perfectly, but our ambition and drive as well”.
SD: What’s the best advice a Married at First Sight mentor gave you?
Stephanie Sersen: “The best was Dr Jessica Griffin offering to be there at any time. We could reach out to [ Dr. Jessica from Married at First Sight] if we needed anything. The comfort of knowing that I had backup when I needed it was a lot more meaningful than any words of advice”.
AJ Vollmoeller: “Pastor Calvin Roberson told us to hold hands whenever arguing. It helps to remind of the love and respect you have for each other. We still do this and it really does work”.
The Biggest Change Once Married at First Sight Production Left
SD: What was the biggest change once the Married at First Sight crew and cameras left?
Stephanie Sersen:”The biggest change was the freedom to do whatever we wanted! I could travel again! And AJ [Vollmoeller] could devote more time to his business – which made him happy”.
AJ Vollmoeller: We [AJ Vollmoeller and Stephanie Sersen] were on our own to make our own decisions, occupy our own time, and only had to ‘report’ to and focus on each other. We were able to fill our newfound empty time with getting to know each other better. And, also pursuing passions we have”.
“In our first year of marriage I published my first book, How To NOT Get Hired. Stephanie [Sersen] created a travelers’ blog, PhillySteph Travels. And, we managed to visit 11 different countries on six vacations – a total of 23 flights”.
SD: What took you by surprise when you finally watched your partner’s confessionals on Married at First Sight?
Stephanie: “No. Not at all. One reason why AJ [Vollmoeller] and I succeeded through filming was there was no surprises between us. We stayed awake until 2am nearly every night after [Married at First Sight finished filming] filming discussing what happened that day, what we said, and how we felt. We really bonded and supported each other”.
AJ Vollmoeller: “No, we discussed everything first or immediately after so there would be no surprises. We also never told the [Married at First Sight] cameras anything we hadn’t already discussed ahead of time to make sure we were on the same page. We felt this was needed to keep our marriage healthy and not give anybody involved ammunition to cause conflict”.
The Secret to a Successful Marriage & More
SD: What’s the secret to a successful Married at First Sight union?
Stephanie: “Putting your spouse first, no matter what, even when it’s uncomfortable or if you’re mad at them. Treat them how you want to be treated”.
AJ: “I wish there was just one secret. Unfortunately, there is no secret. It comes down to how much you value marriage as a whole and how much you value your partner. If you want to make it work, you will. If you want to give up and move on, you will. It’s all about dedication!”
Stephanie & AJ Address Biggest Misconceptions Viewers Have
Soap Dirt: Are there any big misconceptions you think Married at First Sight viewers have?
Stephanie Sersen: “That I never get a word in! I have a strong presence and loud voice. And, even though AJ [Vollmoeller] is louder, I know the right times to speak up to get my words heard. And he hears me!”
AJ: “That I am angry and never let Stephanie [Sersen] get in a word. And, that I drink all the time. A lot of the hate mail I got told me to put the bottle down or go to anger management. We had a lot of fun filming, too – just most of it wasn’t aired”.
“In all reality, Steph talks more than I do and I typically only drink one night a week. I will admit I am quick to spout off from the mouth – and in a tone. But, I attribute that more to being from NY than to being an angry individual”.
SD: What is the one question that you’ve never been asked and you wish had?
Stephanie Sersen: “Would you like to be a part of our travel TV show?”
AJ Vollmoeller: “I have never been asked about my professional focus before I was on [Married at First Sight] and if it changed after. A lot of people assume TV is your career once you are on it, but that is not the case at all for me. My passion and career focus was – and still is – my staffing/career counseling agency, Future Force. And, authoring my new book, How To NOT Get Hired. TV is a fun hobby for me as of right now”.
What’s Next for AJ & Stephanie?
Married at First Sight makes it seem like AJ hates the cameras. But, he told Soap Dirt exclusively that’s not the case. He said the MAFS cameras “were never the problem”. Meanwhile, he added that when you have a team of strangers around you that may not have “your best interest or the best interest of your marriage at heart”, it makes being comfortable in front of the camera “difficult”.
Both Stephanie and husband AJ are on the limited series Couples’ Cam. And, for someone like AJ that wants to be in front of the camera but doesn’t want a crew around, this self-shot spinoff is ideal. Meanwhile, despite their ups and downs, this Married at First Sight husband and wife still find ways to make things work more than a year in. In addition, with their go-getter mentalities and mutual love of travel, it’s worth watching what they do next.
For more Married at First Sight exclusives, come back again to Soap Dirt.