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‘You have to keep it fun…keep dating so you won’t forget each other’

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By Je’Don Holloway-Talley
Special to The Birmingham Times

“You Had Me at Hello’’ highlights married couples and the love that binds them. If you would like to be considered for a future “Hello’’ column, or know someone who would, please send nominations to Ariel Worthy aworthy@birminghamtimes.com. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.

TERRY AND TIQUELA MILLS

Live: Bessemer, AL

Married: May 19, 2012

Met: Terry and Tiquela were introduced in 2009 by her sister Ashley, who had previous conversations with Terry about Tiquela. Finally, after months of waiting the two met at a party, Tiquela said, “and he just walked up to me and said, ‘Hi, my name is Tuck, put your number in my phone . . . I thought that was real audacious…and interesting, so I did it.” Terry said Tiquela “knew what the deal was. We knew of each other prior to this [party], so it wasn’t like I needed an introduction…she already knew who I was, so I felt like, let’s cut to the chase.”

First date: They met at Terry’s house for Monday Night Football. He was impressed by how well versed Tiquela was in football. “She really knew the game, and that was crazy to me.” Said Tiquela, “I’m a sports chick, I love sports, I love football, and watching the game together was a cool first date to me.”

The attraction was natural.

“It was real casual,” Tiquela remembered. “I liked being able to be around somebody that I was attracted to, that I could have fun with… I didn’t have to pretend. I could be myself with him, and that’s real big to me,” she said.

However, Terry and Tiquela did go on a more “traditional date” that weekend; they enjoyed dinner and a movie. “We love to eat and try new foods,” Tiquela said.

Terry and Tiquela Mills for You Had Me at Hello for The Birmingham Times. (Provided Photo)

When it got serious: “We were on the phone one night, and we got into it, and I hung up in her face. The next thing I know, she popped up at my house, mad, and that was so unlike her . . . . she never showed emotion. And, for her to be at my house beating on my door, angry, showing emotions…that really meant a lot to me,” Terry said with a laugh.

The proposal: Terry proposed to Tiquela the day she picked up her brand new 6 series BMW from the dealership. “I wanted it to be a day she could never forget. She got engaged on the same day she got her dream car.”

The wedding: “I remember I was so calm at first, until I got ready to come down the aisle,” Tiquela laughed, “as soon as the lady opened the double doors…I felt like I was going to pass out. Everything was a blur.” Until she got to her dad, that is. “Once I was able to latch on to my daddy, I started calming down.  Terry agrees that the pre-wedding jitters made the whole ceremony a blur, “I was so nervous that I wasn’t even there,” he said. “Most memorable for me was the reception that lead to the party bus [and] the “celebrity-type” celebration at Martini’s.

“It was a big production. We had two big sections roped off, I had a cameraman following us around… you would have thought Jay-Z and Beyonce were in there.”

Words of wisdom: Communication is key, both say.

“Whether it’s good bad or ugly, you gotta address it [the matter] up front,” Terry said. “That’s the key [to marriage], being able to communicate.”

“Don’t say things you’ll regret, don’t hit below the belt,” Tiquela said. “Don’t hit your partner where it hurts… this is your life partner, you’re going to come back to him/her at the end of it all, so you can’t do that,” she said.

Terry and Tiquela Mills for You Had Me At Hello for The Birmingham Times. (Provided Photo)

“You gotta keep it fun,” Terry said. “Keep the dating aspect of your relationship, so you won’t forget about each other,” he said. “It’s easy to end up just coexisting.”

“Laugh together,” Tiquela said. “Go for drinks, or go to the movies and have some laughs together.”

Terry said to pick your battles. “You’re not going to win all of them, but you have to know when to let stuff go,” he said.

Learning to “be a wife” came with its own set of challenges, Tiquela said.  “Learning how to separate myself from family and friends and implementing being a wife first, and putting each other before everyone else in your life is a must. It’s not ‘me’, it’s ‘we.’ I’m 4 ½ years older than him, and very independent. Learning to be a wife was tough at first,” she said.

Happily ever After: The Mills have a two-year-old son, Trace. Terry, 35, is founder of T. Mills Realty Group and Tiquela, 40, is a registered nurse at Children’s of Birmingham, as a cardiovascular operating room attendant. They are an adventurous pair who likes to take summer trips to Los Angeles for the annual BET Awards.