‘You Had Me at Hello’: Married Couples in Birmingham Area on Finding Love

By Chanda Temple

Special to the Birmingham Times

Algernon and Taneisha Tucker. (Taneisha Tucker photography).

On Tues., Aug. 29, the OWN network premiered the docuseries “Black Love,’’ which highlights the realities of love, dating, relationships and marriage. The second episode will air on Sat. Sept. 2 at 8 p.m. CST. Today, The Birmingham Times serves up its own look at love through Chanda Temple’s new series, “You Had Me at Hello.’’

To nominate a married couple for consideration, send emails to chandatemple@gmail.com.

Who: Algernon and Taneisha Tucker of Trussville, Ala.

Married: Dec. 12, 2009

Met: May 2008. Though he was divorced, Algernon believed in finding love and marriage again. He decided to try online dating. It was a first for him. He had been on www. blackchristiansinglesmeet.comf or about six months when he met Taneisha, also a divorcee. It was her first day on the site. They exchanged a few online messages before talking for five hours on the phone. “We talked about everything,’’ Algernon said, adding that he selected online dating because he thought it would be a good filtering system in helping him find someone who’d be a good fit for him.

So, did Taneisha have Algernon at “Hello?’’ Algernon posted the question, “What makes you uniquely brilliant and attractive?” on his profile. Taneisha’s answer intrigued him. In fact, it was a topic she had previously discussed in a class at church. He also enjoyed their phone conversation. But he didn’t know what she looked like. He asked for a photo. She sent him one, and then another and another. He thought Taneisha was beautiful. He was sold.

They had their first face-to-face meeting on a Sunday in June 2008 after church. At the time, he lived in Atlanta and Taneisha lived in the metro-Birmingham area.  So, they met a mid-way point, which was Anniston, Ala. A friend joined Taneisha for the road trip. The conversation and dinner were so good that Algernon asked Taneisha, “What’s it going to take to be you and me?’’

“I was clear on what my goal was – I wanted her to be my girlfriend,’’ Algernon said. Her response? She said she’d let him know by Friday. When Friday came, Taneisha was in.

Planting a seed: Early in their relationship, Taneisha went to Atlanta to hear Algernon talk at Toastmasters. He laid out his responsibility as a man, discussing how husbands and farmers are related.

A farmer is a cultivator, taking a seed and cultivating it into something more beneficial, Algernon said. A husband has a similar role, raising not only the family but also accepting the responsibility to raise his wife to a higher level of consciousness through his connection to God. At that moment, Taneisha knew she had made the right decision with Algernon.

The proposal:  One month after getting to know Taneisha, Algernon knew he wanted to marry her, but he waited to propose more than a month later on Aug. 8, 2008. Taneisha said, “Yes,’’ but on one condition: They needed to be in a relationship for “four seasons’’ of the year before they said, “I do.’’ Algernon agreed.

Commuter marriage: For the first five years of their marriage, their jobs kept them in different cities. They saw each other every weekend, with Algernon traveling to Birmingham one weekend and Taneisha driving to Atlanta the next weekend. “We decided that the driving was not an issue and that we wanted to see each other,’’ Algernon said. “We made it work.’’ (Today, they wake up in same city every day. They live in Trussville.)

Love and marriage: Outside of their full-time jobs, Taneisha runs www.taneishatucker.com, where she specializes in engagement, wedding, event, couples, family and special occasion photos. Algernon provides technical support and accompanies her to assist. Algernon is also a leadership and relationship coach. Together, they’ve hosted two relationship conferences known as Can You R.E.L.A.T.E. Their next workshop is planned for spring 2018.

“The purpose of the conference is to answer the question: Can you relate to yourself, your spouse, your role as a spouse, as a parent, your church and the work you are passionate about,’’ Algernon said.  “If the answer is no, you need to ask yourself what will it take so that you can?’’

For more information on the conference, visit www.algernontucker.com.

Advice on love: “Learn to love yourself first because everything you do is infused with the energy that you bring,’’ Algernon said. “If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love the other person.”