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Love And Marriage: Two dozen Birmingham-area couples offer words of wisdom

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Compiled by Ariel Worthy
The Birmingham Times

One couple has been married for 50 years; another for two months. Since August 2017, two dozen couples have been featured for the Birmingham Times’s “You Had Me at Hello” column. Every week, a different couple talks about how they met and details about their proposals and weddings. These couples live throughout the Birmingham metro area, and they all have one thing in common—love for their spouses and families.

As we approach Valentine’s Day, the Birmingham Times revisits couples who have appeared in “You Had Me at Hello” and offers a brief recap of their words of wisdom.

For full profiles of each couple, visit www.birminghamtimes.com/category/black-love/. And if you would like to be considered for a future profile or know of another couple who would be interested, please send nominations to Ariel Worthy at aworthy@birminghamtimes.com; please include the couple’s name, contact number, and what makes their love story unique.

Taneisha and Algernon Tucker

Who: Taneisha Tucker and Algernon Tucker, Trussville

Married: Dec. 12, 2009

About the Couple: Outside of their full-time jobs, Taneisha runs www.taneishatucker.com, which specializes in engagement, wedding, event, couples, family, and special-occasion photos, and Algernon is a leadership and relationship coach.

Words of Wisdom: “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.”

Warren and Kenesha Sims Hudson

Who: Kaneisha Sims Hudson and Warren Hudson, Pelham

Married: Sept. 18, 2015

About the Couple: Kaneisha works in public relations and marketing. Warren is an accountant.

Words of Wisdom: “Don’t sweat the little stuff,” Kaneisha said. “For example, I might fold my towels this way, and he may fold his towels that way. But once you get past that and realize that you are coming together to combine two households, it will make things so much easier.”

 

Stephanie and Emmett Handy

Who: Stephanie Handy and Emmett Handy, Gardendale

Married: Dec. 17, 1983

About the Couple: Emmett works in corporate America, and in his spare time he helps Stephanie run www.handyphotomedia.com, which does wedding and engagement photography, as well as family portraits.

Words of Wisdom: “He showed me that I didn’t need a Plan B,” Stephanie said. “He was my Plan A, B, C, D, and E. He taught me how to love.”

 

Shameza and Mark Dennis

Who: Shameza Boyd Dennis, MD, and Mark Dennis, Grayson Valley

Married: July 14, 2012

About the Couple: Shameza is a pediatrician and runs Small Steps Pediatrics at St. Vincent’s East. Mark is a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor.

Words of Wisdom: “I always tell people that the marriage is not about the wedding day,” Shameza said. “When you think of getting married, ask yourself, ‘Is this someone I could take care of in sickness and in health? Is this someone I could feed, bathe, and take care of? Could they do the same for me?’”

 

A.Faye and Eric Calhoun

Who: A. Faye Boykin-Calhoun and Eric Calhoun, Pleasant Grove

Married: July 2, 2005

About the Couple: A. Faye is a speaker, glove designer, consultant, and the author of five books. Eric is executive director of Solutions Inc., a Birmingham-based nonprofit, and a consultant.

Words of Wisdom: A. Faye said, “In a marriage, keep your mind open like a parachute and remain flexible.” Eric said, “We have to be good followers of God to be good leaders in our family and in our community because marriage is a challenge. And like anything else that is a challenge, it has great rewards.”

 

Janice and Gregory “Pee Wee” Collins

Who: Janice Collins and Gregory “Pee Wee” Collins, Birmingham

Married: June 30, 1972

About the Couple: Janice works as a processor at a Birmingham bank. Gregory is retired from the American Cast Iron Pipe Company (ACIPCO).

Words of Wisdom: “I feel like we were meant to be,” Janice said. “We are so comfortable with each other. We are honest. God gave me the perfect match.”

 

Kalon and Eliza Belle

Who: Eliza Belle, PhD, and Kalon Belle, McCalla

Married: Oct. 8, 2011

About the Couple: Eliza is a psychologist at Bryce Hospital in Tuscaloosa. Kalon is a technician for CSX Railroad.

Words of Wisdom: Eliza asked her parents, who’ve been married for 40 years, the secret to married life—“They told me they decided that they would never not be together. I look at marriage the same way. Leaving is not an option. We make it work.”

 

 

Demeta and Jason McKnight

Who: Demeta L. McKnight and Jason B. McKnight, Birmingham

Married: Aug. 15, 1994

About the Couple: Demeta works for a federal agency in Birmingham. Jason is a senior commercial underwriter for a bank in Birmingham.

Words of Wisdom: Demeta said, “It’s good to be around other couples, no matter if they are newlyweds or have been married a long time. You can get wisdom from all of them.” Jason said, “You have to communicate and listen to the other person’s perspective. It’s important not to discount someone else’s thoughts just because you don’t agree with them or because their thoughts are pointing the finger at you. It’s also important for couples to attend the same church and feed from the same table.”

 

Tiki and Ricky Curry

Who: Tiki Curry and Ricky Curry, Bessemer

Married: Sept. 7, 2012

About the Couple: Tiki is the Birmingham chapter director of Wife Talk Inc., a national ministry designed to promote and save marriages.

Words of Wisdom: “Marriage is only as beautiful as you make it. It’s not magic,’’ Tiki said. “Marriage doesn’t happen just because. You have to be intentional to make it your happily ever after.”

 

Arthur and Emma Coleman

Who: Emma Coleman and Arthur Coleman, Fairfield

Married: June 13, 1970

About the Couple: Emma is a retired nurse. Arthur is a retired postal worker; former president of the American Postal Workers Union, Birmingham Area Local 303; and former editor of the union’s paper.

Words of Wisdom: “There will be ups and downs, but you have to compromise,” Arthur said. “You can’t have it all your way, and she can’t have it all her way. It’s not all about you. It’s a partnership.”

 

Jemia and Adrian Storey

Who: Jemia Roberson Storey and Adrian Storey

Married: Nov. 2, 2013

About the Couple: Jemia, a graduate of Hampton University, is a freelance graphic designer and stay-at-home mother. Adrian, a graduate of Alabama State University, works as a quality assurance manager for an international materials company.

Words of Wisdom: “You can’t happily exist in a marriage without being friends. We married strictly for love, friendship, and laughter,” Jemia said. “I have women who are my best friends, but Adrian is my best, best friend.”

 

Horace and Clara Warren

Who: Clara Warren and Horace Warren, Prattville

Married: Sept. 26, 1986

About the Couple: Clara works at Maxwell-Gunter Annex in Montgomery. Horace, a retired U.S. Air Force tech sergeant, works for the Veterans Administration in Tuskegee.

Words of Wisdom: “No relationship is perfect. There will be conflicts,” Clara said. “How you resolve them is what matters.”

 

Sean and Gwen Edwards

Who: Lt. Sean Edwards and Gwen Edwards

Married: Sept. 19, 1992

About the Couple: Sean is the public information officer for the Birmingham Police Department and the senior pastor at Empowerment Word Church in Alabaster. Gwen is co-pastor at the church and works at a Shelby County hospital.

Words of Wisdom: Sean said, “I have always made her a priority.” Gwen said,

“I trust the God in him to be my husband.”

 

Brandon and Ashleigh Bivins

Who: Ashleigh J. Bivins and Brandon M. Bivins, Helena

Married: July 23, 2005

About the Couple: Ashleigh is a second-grade teacher in Shelby County and the owner of Ashleigh Planned It!, a full-service event-planning company for weddings and social events. Brandon is an agent development manager and sales representative for a Birmingham insurance company.

Words of Wisdom: “Never be too proud to apologize when the other feels wronged,” Ashleigh said. “Saying, ‘I’m sorry for making you feel a certain way,’ is big for us. We’ve noticed it in our children, too; they apologize to each other a lot.”

 

Cornelius and Judith Harris

Who: Judith Harris and Cornelius Harris, Birmingham’s Brook Highland neighborhood

Married: May 27, 1967

About the Couple: Judith is a retired BellSouth collections operations manager. Cornelius is a retired Birmingham Police Department training officer and a retired Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputy.

Words of Wisdom: “Take marriage one day at a time. Marriage is not an event. It’s a journey,” Judith said. “And what I mean by that is you learn from each other every day. Every day is a blessing and a lesson.”

 

Shay Renee and Wilbur Oden

Who: Shay Renee Curry Oden and Wilbur Oden, Birmingham

Married: Nov. 4, 2017

About the Couple: Shay Renee is a stay-at-home mom to the couple’s 1-year-old son. Wilbur is a truck driver and has two daughters from his previous marriage.

Words of Wisdom: “Marriage is hard, but don’t let it discourage you,” Shay Renee said. “People want the wedding, but they don’t want the work. You have to put in the work.”

 

Clinton and Jasmine Green
 Who: Jasmine Green and Clinton Green, Hoover

Married: Aug. 8, 2015

About the Couple: Jasmine is a financial counselor in Birmingham. Clinton is a minister of music at New Life Interfaith Ministries and the music teacher at New Life Christian School of Excellence, both in Bessemer.

Words of Wisdom: “Never stop learning,” Clinton said. “Change is going to happen at some point. You can’t trip or flip out when change happens. It’s important to be open and understand the changes.”

 

Marietta and Donald Seay

Who: Marietta Seay and Donald Seay, Birmingham

Married: Jan. 7, 1983

About the Couple: Marietta does ministry work and is the author of “Staying Focused,” a self-published prayer and inspirational book. Donald heads the science department at Huffman High School and is coach of the school’s bowling league.

Words of Wisdom: “Communication is key. Stay abreast of each other’s needs, desires, and wants,” Donald said. “We don’t make individual decisions. The decisions we make, we make them together.”

 

Resia and Lewis Brooks

Who: Resia Brooks and Lewis Brooks, Pelham

Married: Sept. 20, 2003

About the Couple: Resia is the human resources coordinator for Shelby County Schools and owner of Providence Photography. Lewis is the assistant superintendent of administration and pupil services for Shelby County Schools.

Words of Wisdom: “Marriage is something we don’t take lightly. We focus on the ups. We don’t harp on the downs,” Lewis said. “We have had challenges, everyone does, but we try to focus on the positives: our faith, our friendship, and our family. For us, that sustains us and keeps us going.”

 

Cynthia and Carlton Seals

Who: Cynthia Seals and Carlton Seals, McCalla

Married: Oct. 10, 1998

About the Couple: Cynthia works in social services in Birmingham. Carlton works in management in Birmingham.

Words of Wisdom: “Marriage is not a Walt Disney story,” said Cynthia. “It really takes work. If you are not willing to work forever, it’s not going to happen at all. You have to constantly say your prayers because sometimes you will need to encourage yourself.”

 

Megan and Darrius Peace
 Who: Meagan Peace and Darrius Peace, Birmingham

Married: Sept. 15, 2004

About the Couple: Meagan and Darrius are co-owners of HAYAH Beauty, a natural-hair-care salon, hair-care line, and makeup line in Birmingham.

Words of Wisdom: Darrius said, “When it comes to the marriage, do what works for you as a couple. You don’t have to follow the standard of your parents or friends. Their journey is fit for them. If walking down the aisle in a white dress is not a fit for you, … then don’t it. Just follow your path.” Meagan said, “Be friends. That’s been the consistent thing throughout our entire relationship. When I see Darrius as my friend, I know that my friend has my back, … supports me, and wants the best for me. He will always be by my side, no matter what.”

 

Patricia Stephens and Ira Moss

Who: Patricia Stephens and Ira Moss, Birmingham

Married: Sept. 4, 2016

About the Couple: Patricia is a Jefferson County circuit court judge in domestic relations court. Ira is a pastor and a retired maintenance supervisor.

Words of Wisdom: “Don’t let the small things be a stumbling block or blow up into something huge in your marriage,” Patricia said. “Find ways to fix the little things, if you can, by looking at the man in the mirror.”

 

Marcus and Anjell Edwards
 Who: Anjell Harris Edwards and Marcus Edwards

Married: Aug. 22, 1998

About the Couple: Anjell works in education for an area school system. Marcus is working on his doctorate and is a student services supervisor at an area school system.

Words of Wisdom: “Have patience, be understanding, and be supportive,” Marcus said. “You have to give, take, and compromise.”

 

Elias and Gaynell Hendricks

Who: Gaynell Hendricks and Elias Hendricks

Married: Nov. 30, 1974

About the Couple: They started a business, Wee Care Academy, and they both became public servants: first Elias, who served one term on the Birmingham City Council, and then Gaynell who has served two terms as the Jefferson County Tax Assessor.

Words of Wisdom: Elias said, “Respect the other person’s opinion. Don’t think you will always be right.” He added something else that he learned from his grandmother: “It doesn’t matter who you love, it’s who loves you warts and all.” Gaynell said, “Find someone you really like and admire. I really admire Elias. He is an intelligent and passionate person, and I still really like him a lot.”