In xoNecole's Our First Year series, we take an in-depth look at love and relationships between couples with an emphasis on what their first year of marriage was like.
When life hits you with unexpected news, like the loss of a loved one, it can be difficult to know how to move on. Grief is something we all experience and it is something that stays with us forever. But it is within grief that we try to find the joy in order to keep moving forward. That was the case for Briana Hampton, who is an entrepreneur/author based out of Atlanta, Georgia. After losing her mother to cancer in 2015, Briana navigated through her grief by trying her best with keeping herself busy in her career as a model.
One day, when Briana sent a Facebook message to her now-husband Robert Hampton, aka Latruth, about a possible career opportunity, she did not expect her life to take a turn for the better. Now after four years of marriage, both Briana and Robert are enjoying life to the fullest.
The couple was able to sit down with xoNecole and share more on how their initial connection has kept them married after all these years. For Briana and Robert, it was the ability to connect on an experience that is one of the hardest realities to have to endure. The way Briana and Robert could relate to each other would be how they took a chance on love. After months of talking, the couple knew immediately that they wanted to take things to the next level. While they met one another and bonded over the feeling of grief, they were each other's light to get out of a familiar dark tunnel. Here's what they had to share.
How They Met
Briana: "I reached out to him via Facebook. At the time, I was a model and I reached out to him for a promotion opportunity. He responded and asked me for my number and till this day, I still haven't gotten that promo (laughs). When he called me, I thought we were going to talk about how much the shoot was going to cost and stuff. But it led to asking questions to get to know more about me and after I realized what he was doing, I figured to just see where this was going to go. While we were talking, we got to the topic of my mom passing away recently. He shared that his mother passed away from cancer too. Instantly, that was a click for me."
Robert: "Yeah, that's the gist of how we met. When I saw her message and looked at her photos, I thought she was very beautiful. After she gave me her number, I contacted her and just went from there. I lost my mom when I was five years old. I don't think I ever met anyone else who lost their mom too. When she mentioned her mom recently passed, that was definitely something that made me take the wall down and open up to her more. We talked for hours into days without seeing each other face to face. So the chemistry between us was built."
"When she mentioned her mom recently passed, that was definitely something that made me take the wall down and open up to her more. We talked for hours into days without seeing each other face to face. So the chemistry between us was built."
Briana: "When my mom passed away, I was going through it. So when I met him, I was grieving her and I felt all the signs of her were coming through him. Whether it was our conversation and just our similarities, I felt my mom sent me an angel. Even our moms were similar in many ways that I just said, 'I got it, I am listening.' I knew that this was the person for me. Since my children's father, I never took anyone seriously. So when we were able to bond with each other's children, that made me more certain about him. When I moved to Atlanta, I expressed that for the long-term, I want marriage. I knew he was the man I wanted to be with and the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. He was my biggest cheerleader and that was it for me. He wasn't someone that wanted to control me, but wanted what was best for me and the family. He wanted to be the man to lead us down the right path."
Robert: "For me, it's loyalty over love. You meet a lot of people and they say they love you, but the loyalty doesn't match. I could tell that she was different from other women when it came down to loyalty, so that was key for me. Also, like she said, allowing me to lead was big for me. I don't think I've experienced love like this. For somebody to love me the way she loved me, that was it for me. With both of our moms passing and being able to be there for each other, we supported each other when times were hard. She also enjoys me being around her. I really believe that being with her, it's like my oxygen. You feel you can't breathe without her."
Robert: "My biggest fear was being with a woman who didn't understand my career. I worked my whole life in the entertainment industry. So I wanted someone who understood what that meant for me and who supported me in my career. I know with entertaining, it is hard to trust entertainers. Being more communicative with one another and building that trust helped me let go of my fears."
Briana: "My biggest fear was being with someone that will end up failing me and my children. Mainly putting my trust into something and it doesn't succeed. How I was able to let go of that fear was me paying more attention to his actions and less go by his words. We may seem like we disagree with something, but his actions will tell me that he is listening and he cares. He makes me feel secure and that is what means the most to me."
"I knew he was the man I wanted to be with and the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. He was my biggest cheerleader and that was it for me. He wasn't someone that wanted to control me, but wanted what was best for me and the family. He wanted to be the man to lead us down the right path."
Briana: "One thing I will say is that my husband is very friendly. So there were some flirting issues in the beginning of our marriage. I don't have a problem with people being friendly. But it is the way you go about it that gives a woman the idea that she has a chance with you is what bothers me. When you engage with someone in that way, they are going to take advantage of that. It was hard for me to communicate that that kind of behavior hurt my feelings. Over time, I had to learn how to actively communicate my feelings to him. I also had to grow accustomed to how the entertainment world works. Since then, he has changed his approach when he engages with other women. I think it is much better than before. He has changed the flirting a lot since then, for me."
Robert: "I don't feel like Briana had any habits for her to break. I just felt like she needed to understand more how the entertainment business works. Coming into the marriage, I have a huge fanbase and it is mostly women. With that, I handle certain situations the way I handle it and sometimes my wife wasn't comfortable with that. But after some time, I was able to show her that this is mainly business and that I separate that from personal. I had to be more mindful on how my behavior affects her and be more considerate. Before marriage, I was a single guy and I never had anyone question anything that I do. It was definitely an adjustment for me because I felt in the back of my mind that I was always doing something wrong at first."
Briana: "The most important lesson I've learned is how to listen better and be able to effectively communicate. It's important to listen to understand someone instead of listening just to respond. Let me tell you, I'm a Cancer, so if you try to hurt me, a Cancer will hurt you back! (Laughs) I was never taught how to effectively communicate my feelings, so it was a learned behavior to be in defense mode instead of speaking about how I really feel."
Robert: "For me, the biggest lesson is realizing that something that may seem small to me, may be major for the other person. I think that is in a lot of relationships. Going back to me being used to just doing what I want to do. When you are in a partnership, you can't do what you want to do anymore (laughs). So being able to understand each other's perspective on things and take a moment in the other person's shoes was helpful for me in this marriage."
"I make it a point to continue to date my husband within our marriage. Dating each other helps us learn more about each other as we grow over the years and elevate in different areas."
Briana: "I wasn't given any advice about marriage going into it. What I will say is that even though you are married to someone, it is important to keep the fire alive. I make it a point to continue to date my husband within our marriage. Dating each other helps us learn more about each other as we grow over the years and elevate in different areas."
Robert: "I didn't get any advice either. I had to learn a lot of things on my own. I do hate that I didn't get any advice, but I wish that someone that told me about how to handle conflict. You have to handle things differently after you make this commitment. Growing up, I didn't have a lot of people guiding me. But I always made the right decision when it came to doing the right thing. I think that speaks volumes about my character as a man."
For more of the Hamptons, follow them on Instagram @mrslatruth and @_latruth.
Featured image via The Hamptons