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Shawniece Jackson and Jephte Pierre tied the knot on the sixth season of Lifetime’s Married at First Sight in Boston. Shawniece, a cosmetologist and salon owner, and Jephte, a teacher, sometimes had a tumultuous relationship on the show. They have since temporarily separated (and reunited) more than once – most recently during quarantine on the spin-off Married at First Sight: Couples Cam.

Still, the Married at First Sight couple had at least one compelling reason to make their marriage work: their daughter Laura, whom they were already expecting just a few months into their relationship.

In a new YouTube video on her personal channel, Shawniece recently opened up about her love story with a stranger, the truth about her marital issues, and her brand-new wedding ring – an important symbol in her relationship with Jephte, as the couple mutually decided not to wear their rings for a time.

Jephte and Shawniece opened up about not wearing their rings on a ‘Married at First Sight’ special

After getting married in 2018, Shawniece and Jephte went through a number of ups and downs in their marriage. On an April 2020 Lifetime special, Married at First Sight: Where Are They Now, Jephte told host Kevin Frazier that the couple decided to “alleviate some pressure” by taking off their rings during and after their separation.

When Jephte felt prepared, he explained, he would ask his wife for her hand in marriage.

“I decided that I wouldn’t wear a ring until I got down on one knee and proposed to her myself,” the Married at First Sight star said.

For her part, Shawniece told Frazier she wasn’t worried about the pair not wearing rings at the moment.

“I know plenty of men who wear rings who still do things that they ain’t supposed to,” the cosmetologist pointed out when Frazier asked if she was concerned about Jephte getting women’s attention without a ring on his hand. “So I think, yes, a ring symbolizes something to the outside world, but our commitment is beyond the rings. And we’ve been committed to each other since we came back and said, ‘Let’s do this.’”

The couple went through a separation at the beginning of Shawniece’s pregnancy

In a recent YouTube video in October 2020, Shawniece updated curious Married at First Sight fans on her love story with Jephte.

While the Lifetime star said her wedding day was a “special moment,” she admitted that it took some time for her marriage to fully get off the ground. Jephte and Shawniece simply “weren’t clicking on an emotional, romantic level at first,” she explained.

When Shawniece found out she was pregnant with her daughter Laura just months after the couple got married, it was a difficult time. The Married at First Sight stars were “arguing and battling” frequently, and they decided to separate for a time.

“Legally, we were married. But emotionally, we weren’t,” Shawniece confessed. “Mentally, physically, emotionally, we were not a married couple.”

At the time, Shawniece said, she was “over it” and would have divorced her husband if given the chance. In part to protect herself emotionally, she “mentally and physically removed herself from the situation.”

Shawniece insisted that Jephte was never unfaithful

In her video, Shawniece also took the time to clear up the rumor that Jephte had been unfaithful to her. Her husband did date a few other women during the early months of her pregnancy, she explained, but they were fully separated at the time.

“He did not cheat,” she asserted, adding that the Married at First Sight couple was living apart at the time and that she had been the one to initiate the separation. They were only planning on moving forward as co-parents, not romantic partners.

Over time, however, the couple found their way back to each other. They reunited and realized that they wanted to do things “their way” this time around.

“It’s not everybody’s relationship. It’s our relationship,” Shawniece said of what she and Jephte realized the hard way during their separation.

They worked on communicating more effectively with each other through therapy, both individually and as a couple.

But the couple hit one more snag during the COVID-19 crisis. Shawniece left her full-time job in order to serve as a homemaker and take care of baby Laura, and Jephte had a job change around the same time. The pressure and stress of the situation made them realize something crucial: “We forgot about us,” Shawniece revealed.

The Married at First Sight star explained that the pandemic finally brought them to a breaking point that allowed them to build a true foundation as a couple.


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Jephte got down on one knee and presented his wife with a new ring

Naturally, many Married at First Sight fans wanted to know why Shawniece was sporting a brand-new, three-stone diamond ring. She explained that she took their original rings when she and Jephte initially decided to separate. After they reunited, the couple decided that they wanted to do “all the things they didn’t get to do in marrying as strangers,” such as enjoying a traditional proposal.

Things finally came full circle when, on their three-year anniversary, Jephte surprised Shawniece with a ring. The three stones held a particular meaning for the unconventional pair.

“He told me that it’s a past, present, and future ring,” Shawniece said through tear-filled eyes, “because we finally have a past, we have a present, and we have a future together.” Because of all the struggles they’d gone through, they now had “a foundation to grow and to move forward.” Jephte also surprised his wife with a Gucci bag and a wallet she’d long been waiting for – but hadn’t been expecting.

“I knew I deserved it, but I wasn’t expecting it at all,” the Married at First Sight star said of her gifts.

Shawniece gushed about the romantic gesture, saying, “It was just our moment.” The ring represented a solemn promise they made to each other that had nothing to do with the outside world’s expectations.