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‘Choose your battles and be willing to compromise’

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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.

CARLA AND DAVID FOSTER

Live: Pelham

Married: March 3, 2003

Met: Fall 2002, at work at the Social Security Administration Office downtown. David was recently divorced when he and Carla crossed paths. “I saw her in the hallway one day and she was classy and really put together and I assumed she was married to a banker and had children…,” David said. “One day we were in the cafeteria and locked eyes, and we started communicating after that.”

“I had prayed and told God I was ready to get married again because I had been divorced… And, so, when I saw David looking at me in the cafeteria, I said ‘God, you got a sense of humor, because that ain’t him’,” Carla laughed. “He was a nerd, he was short, his pants were flooding and I loved to dress. [During that] time I was getting these encouraging, spiritual, inspirational emails [across the company email]. One day I asked a coworker if she knew who the inspirational emails were from and was told it was David.”

The emails intrigued Carla and “we started communicating by email, we were working on a project and I asked her if I could call her later that night, that’s how I got her number,” said David.

“And we chatted all night long,” Carla said, “and once I started liking him I couldn’t wait to get to work the next day and see him.”

First date: Memorial Baptist Church in Norwood. The pair took communion together at the evening service.

“During the church service I was very nervous because we had both been married before… I was thinking how different he was because I didn’t know many guys that would want to come to my home church and be around my family and friends and want to take communion with me.” Carla said.

“I was serving as an associate minister at the church I was called at [Sardis Baptist Church in Birmingham], and that environment was natural for me,” David said. “I could tell that there was a little bit of nervousness on her part and I was trying to put her at ease and make the experience pleasant. I didn’t want her to feel any pressure.”

The turn: February 2003, Carla asked God to reveal his plan for her and David.

“I asked God to take the blinders off my eyes so that I can see [David] the way [God] sees David. And then David called me and said, ‘you know I don’t want you to be my girlfriend, I want you to be my wife’ and from that moment, I didn’t see the nerd anymore. Everything about him was beautiful, his eyelashes, fingernails, he was well-kept… And then he also took me to the bank and added my name to his account, that made it very serious,” Carla said.

“I couldn’t breathe without her, I used to tell her that she was my air and I couldn’t breathe when I wasn’t around her,” David said. “Carla is a lot of fun, and she spoke to the guy inside of me that needed some emotional relief. She’s always encouraged me, and she helped pull me up out of a pretty dark place. We enjoy a lot of the same things, we both sing and love music, our children sang, we loved to travel and try new things, we just fit.”

The proposal: March 2, 2003, over the phone. Carla and David were both at their respective homes in Fairfield and Forestdale.

“One evening we were in the mall, and her son [Markus, 14 at the time] and I took a walk, and he picked out the ring he wanted his mother to have. My original plan was to propose to her at her church in front of her family… But that same night on the phone, I felt like it was the right time, so I said, ‘Let’s get married tomorrow’,” David recalled. “And Carla said, ‘if you show up to work in a suit tomorrow I’ll know you’re serious.’”

“I wore a pretty dress just in case he was serious, and he came down to my floor on our lunch break, and he was wearing a suit, so we left and went to the [downtown] courthouse and got married,” Carla said. “We hadn’t even thought about the day’s date until we were headed to the courthouse and I said, ‘What is today’s date?’ What’s our anniversary going to be?” and David said, ‘it’s the trinity, the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost: 03-03-03’.

The wedding: David and Carla took their vows at the courthouse in March, but had a ceremony for their family and friends in November of that year at First Memorial Baptist Church in Norwood officiated by the late Zonnie Stuckey Sr. Their colors were apple red and gold.

Most memorable for the bride was when the groom serenaded her. “He sang ‘You Are So Beautiful’ by Joe Cocker to me as I walked down the aisle. It made me feel like a queen.”
Most memorable for the groom was the best man’s toast. “His toast included stuff that as a groom, you only talk to your guys about. He said some very complimentary things about my wife, and what I said about her physique. I had no idea he was going to say that,” David laughed.

Words of wisdom: “You’ve got to be able to look at things from a different perspective, and be able to compromise,” Carla said, “you have to be able to tell your spouse exactly what it is you want in a relationship without hurting their feelings. We have different beliefs, but it taught me that David’s not going to think the way I think. I had to learn that his thoughts and views aren’t wrong, they’re just different from mine.”

David said that everything is not a fight. “Choose your battles and be willing to compromise. You have to consider that you’re not in a marriage by yourself, you may be one flesh, but that does not necessarily mean one mind. We only prosper by looking together in the same direction.”

Happily ever after: The Fosters are a blended family with five children: Brandon, 43, Camron, 32, Markus, 31, Timothy, 27, and late daughter Alexis, who would have been 27.

Carla, 53, is a Forestdale native and Minor High School grad. She attended Jacksonville State University, where she studied business administration, and is retired from the Social Security Administration. She and husband own and operate their home-based Absolutely Fabulous Events and Travel.

David, 53, is an Air Force brat and Altus, Oklahoma native. He and his family moved to Birmingham in early 60’s, and later to Macon, GA where he graduated Northeast High School. David attended Miles College where he studied sociology, is retired from the Social Security Administration and operates Absolutely Fabulous Events and Travel with his wife.