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‘Make sacrifices to make the other happy’

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By Anita Debro
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 Erica Wright at ewright@birminghamtimes.com. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.

TEREIKA AND ORLANDO WEEKS

Live: Montevallo

Married: July 6, 2002

Met:It was December 1999 and Tereika, a West Blocton native, attended a basketball game at the University of Montevallo with a friend. Orlando, a Mobile native, was on the basketball team. Through their mutual friend, the two met up before the basketball game. “I knew she was going to be there,” he said. “So we made plans to talk before the game. I had a hurt ankle and pink eye, but she couldn’t resist me,” he joked. The pair also talked after the game.

“I woke up the next day with double pink eye,” Tereika said.

First date: A couple of weeks later, the two met up at a bingo hall in Bessemer for their first date. And Tereika’s mom tagged along. “That was something new to me,” Orlando said of the bingo date. “But we talked the entire time and had a good time.”  Tereika said Orlando almost didn’t make that first date. “At first he turned me down when I asked him. I wasn’t used to that so I said I was through with him. But 30 minutes later he called back.”

Instant connection: The two connected on a spiritual level, Tereika said. “He was just different from everybody else. It was a God thing.” Orlando agreed. He said he was drawn to Tereika’s maturity.  Although she was younger than he was, she was already working towards her future, he said. At the time they met Tereika had a one-year-old son from a previous relationship. “She had values and she was going to help me become who I was supposed to be. She really brought value to the table.”

The proposal: November 18,2001. The couple had been dating for about three years.  On Tereika’s brother’s birthday, she recalled Orlando came home and started an argument. “We never really argued like that,” she said.” But on this particular night he stirred up something.  Then he just suddenly got down onto one knee and proposed.” Orlando said he staged the fight and was always planning to propose. “It worked out,” he said.

The wedding: The couple married at Union Baptist Church in West Blocton. “It was a life changing moment,” Tereika said. “I remember getting ready to walk down the aisle and my dad was about to pass out, but he didn’t,” she said. Orlando said it was hot that day and he did not want to do the first dance at the reception but he did it anyway. “The wedding was really the icing on the cake for our union the way God wanted it to be,” he said.

Words of Wisdom: Communication, prayer and understanding are most important in a marriage, Orlando said. “It is hard if you don’t communicate with each other,” he said. “You have to work to do it.” And sometimes one person will have to make sacrifices to make the other happy, he said. For example, Tereika wasn’t always into going to sporting events, but after they talked about it, the couple decided sometimes they would make sacrifices to be able to spend that time with the other. “Now she is an LSU fan,” said Orlando, also an LSU fan.

For Tereika, healthy communication is key to a lasting marriage. “I grew up seeing a lot of arguing and I didn’t want that,” she said. “I knew I wanted to be able to talk to my husband about things.”

Happily ever after: The couple enjoy traveling. They have been to Jamaica, Las Vegas, Mexico and Grand Cayman Islands to name a few. They look forward to more travel. Tereika owns Elysian Grace Boutique in Montevallo and Orlando owns a barbershop, True Blades, in Jemison. Orlando is also the pastor at The Word Christian Center in Thorsby, Alabama.  The couple have three children: Undraez, 20, Orlandis, 15; and London, 9.