How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
In 2005, Keyshia Cole's hit single, "Love" hit the airwaves and had everybody and they mama singing off-key. Little did the singer know, a Louisiana love that's more than a decade in the making was actually conceived thanks to one of her concerts in Baton Rouge that same year.
Love is a dangerous game that can either be a whirlwind miracle or hit you like beautiful disaster. NOLA-born bridal coach Pep and her husband, Ebo Holman, met only months before Hurricane Katrina, but not even a storm of the largest magnitude could manage to keep these one-day lovers apart. The couple told xoNecole that they first crossed paths randomly during a casual encounter that would eventually blossom into a lifelong blessing.
I think we all have at least one pair of shoes that are absolutely adorable but impossible to walk in, and in Pep's case, those uncomfortable heels walked her right into the presence of the man she was destined to marry. While waiting for some friends after the concert, she was approached by a handsome stranger with good conversation.
Afterward, the two parted ways, but it wouldn't be long before they reconnected. The couple's hour-long conversation turned into a breakfast date via phone the next morning, but due to the sudden devastation brought on by Hurricane Katrina, it would be months before they went on their first real date. After making it official, they carried this patience into their relationship and waited nearly 10 years to jump the broom.
Although we as women are sometimes quick to put a deadline on relationship milestones, Pep says patience and discernment were the keys to securing the man of her dreams. She told xoNecole, "Some people may feel like it's a waste of time. Maybe maybe not. I also see people date for two years and get divorced by year five. It's really no formula to it. It's just two people who are good for each other and that's the magic sauce. It's not about a time thing, it's about who I want to be with. So often we allow people to tell us where we should be, what we should be doing. And that can really affect us."
What God had his hands on, no man, woman, or natural disaster can get in the way of, and this was especially true for Pep and Ebo who later fell madly in love and made it official in a Nola-Ghanaian fused wedding that nearly broke the internet.
14 years after that Keyshia Cole concert, Pep and Ebo share a home in New Orleans and are still in love. Pep shared, "The more and more I got to know him and I got to know his character, I learned from him. Like how to treat other people, how to be a good gift giver, how to appreciate other people. Then I was like, well this is somebody who I want in my life because he was always showing me different layers of himself, but every layer that I peel back was good. I was just like, fuck that. I'm not letting this person go. So that's why on the inside of my wedding band, I have never let go. Cause I was like, I'm never letting go. This person is mine. This is my person."
The couple recently sat down with me to talk about that fateful night, the 10-year journey to the altar, and how they keep their love alive after more than a decade.
How They Met
Pep: At the time I was doing Army recruiting and I was passing through Baton Rouge, Louisiana. And a friend of mine called and asked did I want to go to a Keyshia Cole concert. And this was in 2005, June 2005. And I said, sure, but I can't drive my government car, so I'll need a ride. So I rode with my friends to the concert. Well because I rode with them, I had to wait for them to finish up. While I was waiting for them, I was standing outside and I heard this guy say, "Oh my God, you're walking gingerly.'" And I said, "Gingerly? Well, at least my toes are done." And he said, "Well, let me see." And then that turned into like a one-hour conversation and he introduced himself. I introduced myself and we talked and we exchanged numbers and that was pretty much how we met.
The Morning After
Ebo: I have a little thing that I do. Like most guys, they wait two days, three days, you know, and people forget you after a while. So I actually called her the next day and asked [if] she wanted to go out to eat, but she was leaving. I was living in Baton Rouge [at the time] and she was leaving to go back to New Orleans. But you know, I kinda like strike while the iron's hot. I don't usually wait for the individual to, you know, forget you. So that was my little thing that I kind of did that I think helped me out.
Pep: Yeah, I think it helped, but what he's not saying that he didn't call me the next day. He called me the next morning like, early in the morning, like rooster early. Like… it was 6 a.m., I thought it was insane. But the crazy part was, that I was actually up because I was driving back. So it's really early and I was actually pulling into Jack In The Box. I was getting some breakfast and he called and I was like, "Okay, who is this?" And he's like, "Oh, this is Ebo. You know, we were talking last night." And I said, "Hello?!" You know, like, are you serious? Why did you call me so early?" He said, "Well, I called you so early so that you wouldn't forget me because I know you probably met other people last night. And I just didn't want you to forget me." And that was like… Oh. And then he said, "I'm thinking just you might be up because you said you were in the army, so I figured you may be a morning person." But I'm not a morning person.
Making It Official
Pep: We made it official Easter 2006 and we were on a trip together. We came in from Baton Rouge and we got a room at the W in New Orleans for Easter weekend and we went out to eat and we were just hanging out. And my mom called and asked like, "Well, what are you doing?" I said, "Well, I'm here, with Ebo. And we're just hanging out." And my mom was like, "Well, what is that? The boyfriend? 'Cause it's a holiday, like you don't just hang out with people unless you really dating them or something like that." And I just was kind of like, "Uh..." and I was looking at him and he was nodding like, "Yeah, we together, right?" And I was like, "Yeah." And that was it. It was like very impromptu and we've been together ever since.
Ebo: Like we really crawled our way even to that point. We talked for a long time, we were just hanging out, we were doing a lot of boyfriend-girlfriend kind of things with no titles. So it was like pretty much like we almost understood in each other's minds, at least my mind until we actually said it out loud.
"We really crawled our way to that point. We talked for a long time, we were just hanging out, we were doing a lot of boyfriend-girlfriend kind of things with no titles. It was like pretty much like we almost understood in each other's minds until we actually said it out loud."
Pep: I don't think it was one moment [that I knew he was the one]. I think it was a series of moments. When I could just be myself more and more and more. And once I was able to really, really, truly be myself, that's when I knew like, 'Okay, this is somebody who I could keep around,' you know? There was a level of consistency with him, like he never changed up. He was always the same person. Like the sun rises every day and it sets every day. I promise you.
"There was a level of consistency with him, like he never changed up. He was always the same person. Like the sun rises every day and it sets every day."
Ebo: Well, I mean, there's always going to be some sort of disagreement. We've argued before and it got heated, but it's never anything that's disrespectful and never anything that's a final thought. We're different personalities. I'm calm, she's excited. I'm a slightly neater person. So we have disagreements, but I mean in the grand scheme of things is just common, you're going to have to have disagreements. And you don't try to be hurtful to the individual you love like a stranger on the street. Some people blur those lines and say hurtful things to people that they love. And I think some people treat their loved ones, or their wife, or their girlfriend, like a person on the street and say hurtful things. Why would you do that?
Pep: When you know, when you are arguing with someone, you know your limits. That there are some things you can't come back from. You know, I'm aware that saying certain things could escalate an argument or tiny disagreement to like, something of monumental proportions. So I think when you're having a disagreement with anyone, but especially with your spouse, you just can't say everything that comes to your mind. You just have to just say, you know what, it's just a moment. It'll pass.
Ebo: Well I would say, take it seriously. I would have friends, they dated for a year or two years, and get married. They treat marriage like they're dating, rather than treating it like it's marriage. It is something different than boyfriend and girlfriend is, it is something different than having a fiance, and a lot of people don't look at it as something different. They look at is like, 'It's my girlfriend part two or an extension of our dating life,' and it's not that.
Pep: Number one, you have to go at your own pace and you set your timeline. So when we were starting out dating, and we didn't get engaged until we had dated for a decade. We dated 10 years, most people would have thrown in the towel. And the people who look at that and say, 'Oh look, I wouldn't date somebody for that long and I wouldn't do this, and I wouldn't do that.' They jumped into a marriage after two years of knowing a person and they jump right back out because they don't even know that person.
So I would say get to know the person. And don't look at the people's relationship and feel like that's what you should be doing based off of what they're doing, or what everybody else's timeline is. And if it takes five years, if it takes two years, if it takes 10 years, that's your business. Nobody else's business, it's yours. Some people may say, 'Y'all had a celebration for your wedding,' and you damn right. We were celebrating being together for a decade and starting a new chapter because we deserved it and we knew each other front and back.
"I would have friends, they dated for a year or two years, and get married. They treat marriage like they're dating, rather than treating it like it's marriage. They look at is like, 'It's my girlfriend part two or an extension of our dating life,' and it's not that."
Pep: We have some business ideas that we want to work as husband and wife and we think it would be a great thing for us to work together. I have my business The Bridal Citizen already. We just plan on living and being model citizens. Doing good for our community and giving back. Starting with the one business and keeping it up and going forward.
Ebo: She's the dreamer. I'm kind of like a foundation-type of individual. Like she brings in the ideas. I'm more of like, like stack on stack, on stack, on stack, like a financial foundation. I'm the stable individual. She might come up with an idea for a business and I may say, "Let's buy a property," you know, so it's a yin and yang deal. We have different directions for growth, but we do agree that multiple streams of income in our future is going to be the only way to be comfortable and live a fruitful life.
The Best Part
Ebo: Her lightheartedness. She does things that out of the norm, from just like a random blurting out random like rap verses or something that you don't expect that she will know. Just unexpected humor. That's what I love the most.
Pep: His ability to always move forward. We have had moments that would probably bring most people to their knees because they were so gripping. My dad died, and just other things that have happened to us, you know. There have been times where I was just beside myself, you know, trying to figure out how do I pick up the pieces, how do I move forward? And Ebo has this way of being really, really silent, but really confident. Like it's a quiet confidence that is very comforting and reassuring. It's a quiet, reassuring confidence that he exudes that just lets me know like, okay, we're going to get past it, whatever it is, we're going to be able to get past it. And that is what I appreciate.