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‘We go out every weekend, even if it’s just for an hour’

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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, please send nominations to Erica Wright ewright@birminghamtimes.com. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.

CHADRICK ‘CHAD’ AND TAMEKA WOOLEY

Live: Alabaster 

Married: March 14, 2008

Met: March 14, 1997 at a birthday party for a friend of Tameka’s. Chad, who had already graduated from Thompson High School in Alabaster, said he was dropping his younger brother off at the gathering, and wasn’t interested in going inside, but that his brother begged him to come in. Had it not been for his brother’s insistence, Chad said he never would’ve met his wife.  

“I walked in regretting going at first, and soon as I got in there I saw Tameka… I noticed her before she noticed me, and she was actually sitting on the couch talking with a guy, and I didn’t know if he was her boyfriend or what, but I was determined… I sat down in between them with my back to him and [introduced himself], and we started talking and exchanged numbers about an hour later,” he laughed. 

“We’ve been together ever since,” Tameka said.

First date: At Marble Slab Creamery in Hoover, in April 1997. Tameka said she was a little nervous going on her first date with an older guy and she had to convince her mom.

“I had just turned 17, and he was 23… I was excited, but nervous at the same time.”

Chad said he could tell she was nervous and did what he could to calm her nerves. “I was the oldest of two younger brothers, and she was the oldest of two younger sisters… I remember us getting along so well, and the conversation started bouncing off of each other… I hated having to take her home at the end, I remember not wanting the date to end…,” Chad said.

The turn: In May 1998, the couple gave birth to their first daughter a week before Tameka graduated from Thompson High School;  and two weeks later got their first apartment. The couple said that marriage was always on the table, but were taking their time and going their own pace, Chad said. “As we got older and got more spiritual and in the church, we realized that we’d wasted a lot of time not being married. But, in all of those 10 years, we’ve never split up, she’s never moved back home…we’ve been a family and inseparable since the beginning.” 

The proposal: May 2004, at their daughter’s dance recital at the University of Montevallo. Chad said that they were surrounded by their first three children. 

“It happened after our daughters’ recital, I had initially planned to do it at a separate occasion, but that night I felt like God was talking to me, telling me ‘it’s time, it’s time, it’s time’,  so I snuck off [to the car] and got the ring” Chad said. “I got down on one knee and got emotional. I said ‘Tameka Lashae Danners, I’ve loved you since the first day I saw you, and I want to be with you for the rest of my life, will you marry me?’ She was [caught off guard]…but she said ‘yes’, and made me the happiest guy on planet earth.”

“I was surprised and excited,” said Tameka, “at that [moment] we were getting all the kids together and taking pictures and then he just got down on one knee… Our oldest was excited, the boys were little so they didn’t really know what was going on…people around us were excited once they realized what was going on.” 

‘I got an applause and a couple handshakes afterwards,” Chad said. “It was life changing and the spiritual connection that we needed. God was telling us we needed to make it complete, and in our youth, we didn’t appreciate or understand the religious side of it… we wanted God to be in the middle of our family and everything we were doing and we knew that was the way to do it.” 

The wedding: At the Jefferson County Courthouse downtown officiated by Rev. Ron Allen Headley. She wore a ruffled, cream colored blouse and he wore a cream Polo shirt. 

Most memorable for groom was “my first time being able to call her Mrs. Chad Wooley,” he said. “It was great, I had always wanted to call her that, and after saying I do, my first time glancing over at her and realizing she was officially my wife.” 

Most memorable for the bride was the “ride to the courthouse . . . we had a good conversation about our past and our future, and after we said the ‘I Do’s’, being married and being one was exciting.”

By that evening the newlyweds were in Gatlinburg, Tenn. on their honeymoon. The couple enjoyed sightseeing in the mountains which was a beautiful experience for the newlyweds. “We had been together so long, and now we had a brand new, fresh start in our lives being married,” Tameka said. 

Words of wisdom: Find ways to stay connected and “ways to keep learning each other, because we’re both changing all the time,” Chad said. “We go out every weekend, even if it’s just for an hour to have chicken wings or steak — we just stay connected. I try my best to keep figuring out what she needs from me. And [remember] forgiveness…she forgives me for petty things a lot, we try not to be upset about unimportant things.”

Tameka said communication and learning to love each other through “the growing pains, happy times, and sad times. You have to learn to continue to love each other through it all, it’s a growing process,” she said. “And for us, it’s all for a purpose. Being an example to show others and teach people watching [our marriage and experiences], and being an example for the kids. The purpose is bigger than us. We like to be an inspiration to others.”

Chad added, “we’ve been so blessed to have made it to where we are today.” 

Happily ever after: The Wooley’s have six children: daughters, Arayna, 21, Amirah, 9, Aria, 5, and sons, Treyvin, 17, Trentin, 16, and Trace, 3. 

Tameka, 39, is an Alabaster native and Thompson High School grad. She is a stay-at-home mom currently enrolled at Jefferson State Community College studying Early Childhood Development. 

Chad, 45, is an Alabaster native and Thompson High School grad who’s been working as an inspector for McClain Power for the past 15 years.