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‘As a couple always set goals and live to impress your partner’

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.


Live: McCalla

Married: August 22, 2009

Met: Mark and Keynethia met in 2003 at Platinum Night Club. Keynethia was there with a friend, who happened to know Mark’s friend.  While their friends were hanging out at the club, Mark and Keynethia kept one another company. “We basically stood in the same place all night and talked,” Mark recalled. Keynethia remembers talking about a little bit of everything that night — from business to politics. “I thought he was very charming and pretty laid back,” she said.  Mark said he felt that there was something different about Keynethia. “I could tell she was a good woman,” he said. At the end of the night, Keynethia said she gave Mark a ride back to his car, where he kissed her hand and asked for her number. 

First date: Shortly after meeting at the club, Mark and Keynethia went out on their first date. “It was my birthday,” Mark said. Keynethia had offered to take him out to celebrate. “I thought that was something special for her to do that,” he said.  The two met up at the former Tavern on The Summit restaurant. After that night, the couple started hanging out more often watching movies or the “Judge Mathis” television show. The couple dated for about a year before they decided to go their separate ways. “I was looking for more of a commitment,” Keynethia said.  Mark said he still had to figure some things out about what he wanted. The two agreed to remain friends.

Three-year break: Mark was raised by a single mother and he admitted that during his single years, marriage scared him. “I never thought I would get married,” he admitted. “I liked the single life, it was nice. But it was also lonely.” Keynethia on the other hand knew she wanted marriage.  She said she would call and check on Mark occasionally during the years they were apart, but she said she wasn’t waiting on him. “We were dating other people,” she said. “I just thought if it was meant to be it would be, but I wasn’t going to wait on it.” In 2007, Mark and Keynethia bumped into one another at a New Year’s Eve Party. After that night they rekindled their romance. This time around, Mark said he was ready for the commitment. 

The proposal: After about a year of dating, Mark and Keynethia went to a jewelry store in The Galleria.  She picked out a ring and Mark bought it. He asked her if she wanted to put the ring on and she did.  Keynethia and Mark laugh about the simple “proposal” now. 

The wedding: The couple married at Ninevah Missionary Baptist Church in East Lake in front of around 250 people.  A reception at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens followed. “I just remember everybody having a good time that day,” Keynethia said. “I remember feeling like a deer caught in headlights,” Mark recalled of the day packed with family and friends.  Keynethia sang “I Love You I Do” during the reception. Instead of a honeymoon, the couple agreed to purchase a house.

Words of Wisdom: Keynethia said she has learned how to be married by watching other people’s mistakes in relationships and trying to learn from those mistakes. Mark said he had to first learn how to stop living for himself in order to learn how to be married. “ You have to stop thinking only of you and you also have to start accepting the good in other people. I had to start identifying myself as a husband and protector.” Mark said his advice to couples is “to be faithful, committed and loyal.”  Keynethia offered three points: “Don’t base your relationship on anyone else’s relationship; as a couple always set goals and live to impress your partner.”

Happily ever after: Mark and Keynethia have one daughter, 7-year-old Kennedy. Mark also has a 27-year-old son from a previous relationship. The couple enjoy spending time with family. They also spend a lot of time at Ninevah Missionary Baptist in East Lake. They recently traveled to Jamaica for their 10th wedding anniversary.  Mark works for Quest Diagnostics and owns a courier service. Keynethia works at BBVA Compass Bank.