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‘Love Strong, Love Hard, Love Unconditionally’

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.

Kenyatta and Omar Taylor for You Had Me at Hello for The Birmingham Times. (Reginald Allen, For The Birmingham Times)


Live: Pleasant Grove

Married: September 13, 2003

Met: Kenyatta and Omar, both Birmingham natives, first saw each other at New Bethlehem Baptist Church in Bessemer around 1998. “I noticed her in the audience,” Omar said. “I admired her from afar.” It would be two years and a chance meeting at Platinum night club in downtown Birmingham before they would actually meet in 2000.  “He was coming up the sidewalk to the club and I said ‘What are you doing here, you go to my church’,” Kenyatta said. Omar said he wondered the same thing. “We were both questioning why church people were at the club,” he said laughing. Once they were inside “we talked all night long,” Kenyatta said.

First date: Despite spending a night out at the club, Kenyatta did not rush to give Omar her telephone number. “I told him he had to ask for it properly at church,” she said. Two weeks later, Omar finally approached her after church and asked for her number. They set a date, but with their hectic work schedules it would be another two weeks before they could see each other again. “I told her we were going to get together in rain, sleet or snow,” Omar said. It rained the night of their first date to Bahama Breeze restaurant.  Omar said he was struck by how attractive Kenyatta was. Kenyatta said she was instantly attracted to Omar. “He just had a swagger,” she said. “I had never experienced that before.”

Inseparable: That first date went well, the couple said. “After that we were pretty much inseparable,” Kenyatta said. “The dates just got longer and longer. We would just get together and talk or watch television, not wanting to leave,” she remembered. In the middle of working a 12-hour shift as a nurse, Omar would show up and bring her lunch, Kenyatta said. “If I wasn’t at work, then we were together,” he said.

The proposal: Omar said he knew early on in the relationship that he wanted to marry Kenyatta. But, he said, he did not think his job at the time was enough to support them as a couple. In 2003, Omar found a better job at US Steel and one month later bought a ring and popped the question. “I was at home cooking with my hair tied up in a bandana,” Kenyatta recalled. “My mother was there and he just came in and dropped to his knee while my mom was there and my hair was a mess.”  But Kenyatta said “yes.” “It worked,” Omar said.

Kenyatta and Omar Taylor for You Had Me at Hello for The Birmingham Times. (Reginald Allen, For The Birmingham Times)

The wedding: The couple married at the Weatherford House and Garden in Hueytown.  Kenyatta said she remembered Omar crying as she walked down the aisle to the song “I Prayed for You.”

“I just couldn’t wait for her to be my wife,” Omar said.
Words of Wisdom: Omar said it was important to him to have found a woman who saw the importance of going to church.  He said that a couple should “have a relationship with God.” “You will not have all of the answers” he said. “So you will need to pray for resolution.”

Kenyatta agreed and said couples should “love strong, love hard and love unconditionally.”  “You will go through trials and tribulations.”  She has witnessed couples give up too easily on marriage, she said.

The key to a successful relationship is learning to compromise. “We don’t make big decisions without the other,” Omar said.  And when they don’t agree on a decision they said they are willing to consult an outside source to find out what others have done. “It doesn’t always fall in my favor,” Kenyatta said. “It was hard at first, me not making my own decisions and doing it on my own.”

Happily ever after: The couple has three daughters — a 23-year-old daughter from Kenyatta’s previous relationship; an 11-year-old and 6-year-old. Omar is a chemical technician at US Steel and Kenyatta is a registered nurse at Qualis Health.  They both enjoy dining out, going to the movies and concerts. “We just like spending time with each other,” she said.  The two look forward to raising their kids and preparing them for college and retirement.