Home Love Stories Black Love ‘Real love’ comes when you go through the ups and downs’

‘Real love’ comes when you go through the ups and downs’

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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 Barnett Wright, bwright@birminghamtimes.com. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.

TIRRELL AND LATESHIA FLOYD

Live: Hoover

Married: Nov. 12, 2004

Met: Embassy Suites Hotel in Birmingham at a party on Dec. 28, 2001 for Tirrell’s uncle’s birthday, and Lateshia was invited to tag along by her nephew, Corey.

Tirrell said he was immediately attracted to Lateshia, but his friend made his move first. “…but she turned him down, then I stepped in,” he said. “We had a small conversation, but she had to leave and it led to us exchanging numbers. Two days later when I called her we had our first real conversation.”

Lateshia said she had her eye on Tirrell, and was disappointed when his friend approached her first, “and I said ‘no, I’m good.’

“When Tirrell approached, I was nervous…he walked me down to the lobby when I had to leave… The day after the party I called Tirrell because I was anxious to talk to him, but he wasn’t home… [but he returned her call] the next day.”

First date: Jan. 5, 2002, at the Regal Cinema in Trussville. The pair went out for Tirrell’s birthday and saw a movie they couldn’t recall. Lateshia and Tirrell’s courtship moved fast. “Even though it was our first date, we were already officially boyfriend and girlfriend…,” she said. “After the movie we [got fast food], ate in the car and just rode around the city talking.

“I was fond of her,” Tirrell said. “I was intrigued and wanted to see what she was all about… It was my birthday, but I paid for the date.”

The turn: For Lateshia, it was Spring 2003 towards the end of her senior year in high school at Woodlawn High School.

“My senior year, he started picking me up from school every day and he would buy me shoes and different surprises and put them in the passenger seat for me to see when I opened the door to get in the car… By the end of my senior year we began going to church [Greater Emmanuel Temple Holiness Church in East Lake] together and it got very serious. There was something about him, the way he carried himself, the family he came from, I loved his mom, I knew he was the one.”

For Tirrell it was spring 2003, following Lateshia’s high school graduation.

“Going to her graduation was the beginning of me taking her serious because that wasn’t something I would typically do,” he said. “I surprised her, she didn’t know I was coming and I just popped up… the look on her face and how she reacted made me feel something. I liked that it meant that much to her that I showed up.”

The proposal: September 2004, while they were both at work. Lateshia worked at Jefferson State Community College [Center Point] and Tirrell worked at Birmingham Fastener [manufacturing company] They were having a conversation while on their lunch breaks about marrying each other and decided they would.

“We were young [Tirrell, 20, Lateshia, 19], so after we talked to our parents and once we had everybody’s blessing I gave her a ring and did a proper proposal. I wanted her to have that moment,” Tirrell said. “I gave her the ring at my mom’s house [in Center Point in front of] my mom and my brothers and sisters… Her mom was at work, but we had her on the speaker and she got to [hear] the proposal. I got down on one knee and showed Lateshia the ring and she started crying, and she said ‘yes’.”

“I was emotional and excited at the same time,” Lateshia said. “It was unexpected, I didn’t know he was going to do it that day, we were just watching TV and he just suddenly called his mom downstairs and my mom on the phone and proposed.”

The wedding: Greater Emmanuel Temple Holiness Church in East Lake, officiated by Bishop Jose’ Perry Sr. The wedding colors were peach and cream.

Most memorable for the bride was arriving 30 minutes late to her own wedding. “The wedding was supposed to start at 6… I got cold feet and started having anxiety. My hands got sweaty and I was emotional,” Lateshia said. “I cried in the car on the way there, I cried coming into the church, I was an emotional mess. I don’t know what was going on, I guess I was just young [19] and [also] dealing with my granddaddy passing away the day before I got married.”

Most memorable for the groom was also his own anxiety. “I was kind of second guessing it too,” Tirrell said. “Anxiety kicked in and my life was flashing before me and I didn’t know what the future was going to be like. She was late and everybody was sitting around and I was getting nervous because I was thinking she wasn’t coming. But [she eventually came] and we got right to it when she walked in.”

Words of wisdom: “I believe ‘real love’ really comes when you actually go through the ups and downs and the obstacles. That’s when you learn what kind of couple you are. Love grows and gets stronger if you allow it to,” Tirrell said.

Lateshia said communication and keeping God first sustains a marriage.

“You have to remind your partner that you appreciate them on a day-to-day basis. Let them know that you appreciate the things they do. Words can hurt, watch what you say to one another and never go to bed mad,” Lateshia said.

Faith and prayer are also words of wisdom for the Floyds.

“We lost two pregnancies, one in 2004, and a set of twins in 2015,” Lateshia said. “We had a little girl and a little boy… I was devastated, that was the most horrible year of my life.

“That was tough, we had to support each other through that hard time,” Tirrell said. “There were times she would be having the hardest days and I had to be strong for her, and days she had to be strong for me. It took a good while for us to heal, but it gradually got better.”

Lateshia and Tirrell never gave up hope.

“We made a vow to start a healthier lifestyle, cutting fried foods, exercising, and  in January 2018, right after Tirrell’s birthday, [I found out] I was pregnant. You have to keep the faith.”

“Anything is possible with God, He knew what he had in store for us….we had Bella, and our family became whole,” Tirrell said.

Happily ever after: The Floyd’s have one daughter, Bella, 21 months.

Lateshia, 35, is an East Birmingham native and Woodlawn High School grad. She is currently in pursuit of her bachelor’s degree in elementary education at West Alabama University, and works as a preschool teacher at South Highland Child Development Center in Southside Birmingham.

Tirrell, 37, is a Fairfield native, a Huffman High School grad, and works as a valve technician for Southern Company.