Pastor Cal Shares His Secrets To A Successful Marriage - Exclusive

After 20 years as a marriage and relationship counselor, Pastor Calvin Roberson has gained a lot of insight into what makes marriages succeed or fail. And his expertise — along with his ability to bring out the best in couples navigating challenges in their relationships — is why he was invited to join the team of matchmaking experts on Lifetime's "Married at First Sight."

On "MAFS," Pastor Cal's first challenge is to help the show's hopeful singles avoid the biggest cause of failed marriages: choosing the wrong person. (As most of us know from experience, this is an easy mistake to make — we're not always the smartest when it comes to picking out our own would-be partners.) The next task for Pastor Cal and his fellow relationship experts is just as challenging: helping couples who look great together on paper navigate their new relationships in real life. From this experience — as well as his counseling practice off the show — Pastor Cal has identified a few key secrets to finding and keeping that special someone. In this exclusive interview, he shares what he's learned.

Pastor Cal shares his biggest piece of advice for a strong marriage

The hard truth is a strong marriage requires a lot of work. As fans of "Married at First Sight" know, even couples who want very much to be married and stay married — and who are hand-picked for each other by a team of experts -– can experience conflicts and misunderstandings. And in any conflict in which the two sides can't come to an agreement, the battle can escalate to all-out war, or they might bring in an objective third party to act as a mediator.

As a professional marriage counselor, Pastor Cal's job is to serve as this objective mediator when couples hit rocky patches — and he's seen how people can benefit from outside support. "Do not discount professional help," he said. "I think a lot of times, people forget that in every other pursuit in life, we look for help, we look for someone to sort of instruct us. And I think that on the show, we encourage people to reach out if you're having some issues." He added that he'd give the same advice to anyone watching the show. "There's nothing to be ashamed of by saying, 'I need help,'" he said.

Pastor Cal warns against this big mistake

Pastor Cal didn't hesitate when asked about the biggest mistake people make when seeking a life partner. "Deal-breakers," he said. "Biggest mistake people make is that they get locked into this mindset of having deal-breakers: 'This is what I want.' They have a list. I tell people, 'Look, throw away your list. Whatever you think you want in a relationship, throw it away, and let's rebuild.'" And by "rebuilding," Pastor Cal means looking past the physical and thinking hard about who you really are and what you really want from life. "Start with the more important values. Like, what are your core values? What is your view of the world? What is your view of how you fit in the world? These are the things that keep people together."

In short, one of Pastor Cal's secrets to love is to do a lot less looking and a lot more listening and thinking. "Whether or not you're the right height, or the right eye color, the right hair color, or even the right size, that's all just superficial stuff," he said. "But values, true values, making sure that you have not only compatible values, but that even your differences are complementary. These are some of the things that I believe are germane in a relationship."

New episodes of "Married at First Sight" drop on Lifetime on Wednesdays at 8pm Eastern/7pm Central. Pastor Cal's new book, "Marriage Ain't for Punks," is available wherever books are sold.