Dr. Viviana Coles Reveals How The Matchmaking Process Works On Married At First Sight - Exclusive

People all around the world have been marrying complete strangers for centuries. Yet, more and more singles in the states started thinking an arranged marriage could work for them as well after seeing Married at First Sight. Having three experienced experts from the show set you up with your perfect soulmate — all according to science — almost seems too good to be true. Many of the couples they've matched over the course of 12 seasons are still together, too, so these experts obviously know what they're doing.

Even off-screen, licensed therapist Dr. Viviana Coles is constantly helping couples make their relationships right. "It's what I do all the time. I'm always working with clients," she said in an exclusive interview with The List. "That's something that I think is very interesting — the dynamics of marriage," and many fans of Married at First Sight would agree. After all, millions tune in each week to see how these love stories will play out. 

Sometimes, these couples seem perfect for each other, and other times, we witness them constantly arguing. So how exactly do the experts set them up? Aside from the quick therapy sessions we see on the show, the actual matchmaking process itself is something that's been kept mostly behind-the-scenes — until now. We sat down with Dr. Coles, who revealed how it all really works on Married at First Sight.

Dr. Viviana Coles shares how the couples are cast on Married at First Sight

Each and every season of Married at First Sight, thousands upon thousands of people sign up to see if the experts can find them a soulmate. "And that's a lot," Dr. Viviana Coles told us. Luckily, she has an entire team behind her when it comes to casting the most compatible MAFS couples. Many of those who apply can be quickly disqualified due to not meeting some of the specific requirements for the show, such as being too young or living too far away.

In the end, anywhere between 150 and 300 candidates are chosen for the experts to evaluate, and that's when the real work begins. "We're gathering information from two different rounds of psychological evaluations, we're doing background checks, we're doing criminal checks, we're doing financial checks, we're doing employment verifications," Dr. Coles revealed. "We're meeting with friends and family, we're talking to exes, we are looking at pictures, social media, deep dives in social media. There's a whole lot that's going on in the background." Needless to say, setting up complete strangers is not a simple assignment — and there's still even more to it.

Every expert takes the time to sit down with each of the few hundred candidates, pinpointing their personality and figuring out exactly the kind of partner that would be perfect for them. After that, it's time to determine which ones make sense together. "So that's where we start to really bring it down to shared values, core values, deal breakers, strong preferences, history," Dr. Viviana Coles explained. In addition to all that, a person's specific preferences for their ideal partner are taken seriously, too. "There's so much to think about and so much to consider," she said.

Dr. Viviana Coles clarifies the most important aspects of creating compatible couples

Yet, maybe one of the most important considerations for candidates on Married at First Sight is if they're ready to embark on this eight-week journey. "We're really trying to discern whether they're ready for marriage," she said. "And then of course, in the background, we're thinking, could they be ready for this process? Because those are two different things." All candidates must be completely open to getting to know someone who could be their soulmate — so if the experts come across a candidate who admits they easily shut down during an argument, they definitely won't be cast on the show. Obviously, having a healthy kind of communication is a big component to being a part of a successful couple, especially when it comes to marrying a stranger.

While all of the professionals are busy getting to know each person, the entire process really helps candidates get to know themselves a bit better, too — and who exactly would be the perfect person for them. "We will always wish for the best," Dr. Coles said. "And when it doesn't work out, all we can hope is that the participants are left better off, anyway, because they, as individuals, have learned more about themselves in romantic ways."

New episodes of Lifetime's Married at First Sight air every Wednesday. Married At First Sight: Unmatchables, produced by Kinetic Content, premieres on April 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.