Season 12 of Married at First Sight in Atlanta was filled with plenty of drama. The most watched season yet, we watched a man tell his brand new wife of less than 48 hours that he was expecting a child with his ex. We saw another man pass on having sex with his wife because he associated it closely with being in love, but didn’t mind asking her to perform other sexual favors nightly. We also saw a woman try at every turn to change her cowboy boot-loving, stuck-in-the-80s husband because she wasn’t attracted to him. “Drama” might be an understatement for all of that.
But in the midst of a few trainwreck matches was the ultimate success story in Vincent Morales and Briana Morris. Granted, they had some hiccups in the eight weeks — she could be interpreted as “bossy” at times and he allowed himself to get in quite the mood when he felt embarrassed — they were all in and genuinely in love.
Nine months after saying “I do” at the altar, the couple are now house-hunting, getting up early together (which was at one point an annoyance to Vincent so you know it’s real love), and finding joy in being homebodies. “If anyone asks us do we want to do anything we’ll say ‘Yes’ via text and then look at each other like, ‘Are you tired?’” Briana says. “Yeah. We end up, “Hey, let’s get a bottle of wine and watch some movies,” Vincent adds.
They are settled into married life and it feels good, which is a big deal considering the two never thought they’d be picked for Married at First Sight and now they’re one of the show’s success stories. We caught up with them as Season 12 concluded to talk about what turned them off about dating, what marrying a stranger taught them about love and marriage and why others should jump at the chance to get married at first sight.
ESSENCE: I always ask people when I talk to them from Married At First Sight, what was your dating experience like living in the city that you’re based in that made you feel like you wanted to be on the show? What kind of people were you finding yourselves getting to know in Atlanta that had you feeling like, “Uh-uh, this isn’t working for me”?
Vincent: For me, my experience wasn’t too great because I just feel like a lot of people are just having fun. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been wanting to settle down, so dating in Atlanta wasn’t that fun when you’re trying to be super serious, trying to marry somebody. I wasn’t planning on marrying somebody at first sight. I was thinking, “Okay, find somebody special and build. And then when I’m like 30, get married.”
Briana: For me, I mean, I will say I was someone who dated frequently —
or not date. I guess I would go out on dates just to meet people, because I just moved to Atlanta in December of 2019. And so I had a few months before COVID hit where if someone asked me out and I thought they were attractive, I’d go out with them. If I didn’t like their personality or something, some quirk, I wouldn’t proceed with that relationship. So, it was fun, it was a good time, but I was looking for something that was more serious, and a lot of people out here in Atlanta were not looking for that. They really did want a good time and that’s just not necessarily me.
Yes. From the outside looking in, I’ve always seen Atlanta as the turn-up capitol.
Briana: That’s what it is. It’s a lot of fun, but what makes it even better is when you have somebody to share those special moments with. So, going out and going to nice restaurants and going to bars and stuff like that, I want to make sure I’m safe. So, to have someone that I can share that with is even better.
Oh, I love that. And were you guys fans of the show beforehand or was it something that was recommended to you?
Briana: For me, well, one of my best friends actually said, “Hey, you should sign up for Married At First Sight.” And then I went to go look at maybe a few episodes. I don’t even know what season, but went to look at a few episodes and I said, “Why not? I think I got my stuff together. I have my stuff together. This is something I’m looking for, so let me just go for it.” And I actually think she applied … no, it was Love Is Blind, actually. We both applied to that, and Married At First Sight reached out. So, we were both ready.
Vincent: I had heard about the show, but I never watched. I was reached out to on Instagram, and I thought it was fake until I called the lady. It took me a few days. I was like, “Oh, this is spam.” And it didn’t even go to my inbox, it went to my spam. And then I had a conversation with her, she’s like, “You can Google me. I’m really legit.” So then I was like, “I got nothing to lose. I mean, I’m single. I am serious about finding someone, so let’s see.” I never in a million years would’ve thought I would’ve gotten picked.
And what did being married to a stranger, once you really got into the process, the eight weeks, teach you about patience and compromise and these pillars of a strong marriage?
Vincent: I think we are both very passionate and strong-willed people, so we knew that we really liked each other and everything just seemed perfect, but obviously we do have our differences and things like that. We just knew that we really wanted to make this work, so we worked really, really hard. I mean, it was a process that was sped up at an extremely fast pace, so not everybody can do it. A regular relationship, people have their ups and downs, but you marry a complete stranger and you’re supposed to live with them and try to cope and work together and things like that. So, definitely compromise. You’ve got to be able to compromise. If you can’t compromise, it’s out of the window.
Briana: For me, well, I didn’t know that it’s hard for me to compromise on things. I thought I was pretty easygoing, but then … as soon as this and that, we’d have conversations and we had differences in opinions and things like that, I had to come to a realization. I have to take his opinions and his thoughts and everything into consideration. I can’t just say, ‘Well, it’s my way or the highway. And that was more so what I was used to because I could get out of any relationship. I didn’t have to be there. And so, I mean, here I have a choice, but I want to be here. And so in order to make this work, I had to come to some type of compromise when it came to certain things and the same for Vincent. So, we had to take each other’s opinions into consideration, for sure. And we come to a middle ground on literally everything.
Were there moments that you look back on during the season where you felt like, “Wow, I probably could’ve gone about this situation differently?
Vincent: Yeah. I mean, definitely I think it was hard getting over being behind the camera. It’s just like we’re normal people and then you go from being a regular ol’ person to being behind the cameras, so that was something I had to get used to. So sometimes I think I would overreact over little things just because I’m hypercritical of myself. You want to look good, especially because you have your parents, your family looking at you, friends. So, that’s something that I had to get used to, being behind the camera, and just kind of being more carefree and being myself instead of just hiding the inner-Vincent or what-have-you.
Briana: I realized that I have facial expressions that I cannot hide. And so when anybody says something that was off to me or I didn’t understand, it was written all over my face. And so I have tried my best or I’m trying my best now, to not have those expressions because someone can read your face and be like, “Oh, you don’t agree with that,” or “Did that sound weird or something?” Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions and the things that they say. And so I can’t just interject by means of facial expressions. I can’t interject how I feel because someone is expressing to me how they feel.
I wanted to ask too, especially for you, Briana, I know that you gained a pretty strong friendship with Paige. And so I just always wonder what it’s like when you guys, you come into this process together, you met all the girls. You all were very excited about the prospects of getting married to these guys you didn’t know. And obviously her scenario didn’t turn out the best. I know you tried to be as supportive as possible. I always wonder what that’s like, how you feel when your own marriage is thriving, going really well, and then somebody that you build this relationship with, you’re watching theirs be extremely toxic?
Briana: I talk to her every day. I just try to make sure she’s good. It doesn’t matter who she’s with, but if I see her demeanor start to change or she starts to go into her shell a bit … and she’s a pretty outgoing person and she loves to have fun, but when she starts to retreat, that’s when I think that I have to at least say something. And I can’t say that it’s my place to tell her what she should do because it’s not, at all, but I can give a little guidance and I tell her how Vincent treats me and what I will not tolerate. And that’s literally all I can really tell her. And I can tell her what I see for her. So, I see Paige having everything in a relationship. Someone holding her to the sky.
Paige being his everything. And during filming, I did see that that wasn’t happening at all, not even a small amount, and so I would have sidebar conversations with her. And oh, by all means, our conversations were not on camera because that’s not my place, but via text message, when I would see her outside of filming, if we were walking our dogs outside, she and I would always have conversations. I would definitely tell her what I see for her life, whether I said it on camera or not. Paige is a very strong, beautiful, independent … she’s a catch, for sure. And so there’s no reason why anyone should treat her less than the queen that she is.
Nice. That’s great. And so lastly, looking back on this season and seeing the ups and the downs that the couples had and the success that you guys had, there are people who would watch Married At First Sight and say, “Wow, that’s a major jump to make. You can probably go out and find love, you just have to wait for it.” What do you say to those people?
Briana: I say, “Why wait when you can take a leap of faith and see what happens?” It could come out a beautiful love story. You never know until you actually try it.
Vincent: I would say for men, marriage is scary. That’s something that we think that we’re supposed to do when we’re real old. I think that’s one thing that helped me definitely, that we weren’t just dating, because you could see something you don’t like and you can just run away and you really wasted an opportunity. So, I think the fact that we got married right away, it pushed you to work harder and actually make it work. When you’re committed to each other on that sort of level, it just makes it way more intense, so it makes you want to work hard. So, why not?