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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.
TERRELL AND CIEARA PETTUS
Married: August 24, 2014
Met: In 2012, at Terrell’s father’s church, Greater Progressive Baptist Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His father was the pastor and Terrell played the drums.
Cieara said she’d known who Terrell was for over 10-years, and always thought the pastor’s son was cute playing the drums, but never said anything.
“Years later Terrell slid in my Facebook DM’s and said, ‘you are so beautiful but I never got to tell you because you and your mom always leave early,’ and that started our friendship,” Cieara said.
Despite never having had a conversation, Terrell knew that Cieara loved basketball and used that to start a conversation. “…My father’s church owns an old YMCA, and we would always ball up there, and I knew she played ball so I [invited her] to play. Then the next Sunday, I noticed that she actually waited around to talk to me, and I went and struck up a conversation,” Terrell said.
First date: October 2012, at Thunder Bowl, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. “There was no pressure on the first date, it was really natural. There was an attraction there, we had fun and really connected. I actually bowl well and I beat him pretty bad,” Cieara laughed.
“I was very excited because we had developed a friendship before we went on a date so we were actually good friends,” Terrell said. “Cieara has really beautiful long hair, and had it straightened… She lied and said she was a good bowler but she’s actually an exceptional bowler, and she was beating me very badly. We ended up bowling next to a bunch of guys and the guys next to us were laughing and saying, ‘man she is killing you’ and that was embarrassing. I was ready to go, but I couldn’t leave too early because I had paid for the time and I was going to get my money’s worth,” he laughed, “we had a good time, though.”
The turn: For Cieara, February 2013. “We took a trip for my birthday that February and I could tell that it was getting serious for me [and] he made me want to be better and pulled more out of me, especially spiritually. He pushed me to have a genuine relationship with God before even having a physical relationship with him [and] I had never had that with another guy,” Cieara said, “He’s a leader, he wants better for me, he sees better in me, and he is a gentleman and made me feel so loved and appreciated.”
Terrell said, “I believe first the spiritual and then the natural. She said in the spiritual, I helped her, but in the natural, she helped me. There were a lot of things early on that as a man, I felt like I missed or didn’t get, and she helped me. For example, when it comes to managing money, I didn’t know anything about it. It was her who taught me how to budget, save, and take care of priorities.”
Terrell also said he wanted to do everything differently because he knew there was something different about her. “If we were hanging out, I would make her leave my house at a certain time, and if we were watching Netflix at her house, even …if I fell asleep, I would get up and leave even if it was 4 AM and drive 30-minutes back to my house just to show her that I respected her as a woman.
“When we saw it was getting serious we both agreed that we wanted to go about our relationship in a different way. We didn’t want to make having sex a practiced habit because at the end of the day we wanted to do it God’s way and we can’t expect God to bless something that he doesn’t ordain,” Cieara said.
The proposal: On Terrell’s birthday, June 30, 2014, at Cheddar’s Restaurant in Fort Wayne; in front of both of their families and a few close friends.
“I had already talked to Cieara’s mom and she was ok with it, but I had mixed feeling because I had mentioned [that I was about to propose] to my mom and she wanted me to wait a little bit, and this was about an hour before I was about to do it,” Terrell said. “But she always tells me, even to this day, to follow peace, and I knew I had peace… I was very nervous because I didn’t know if I could be the type of man that Cieara wanted because I was still trying to figure myself out as a man [26 at the time], but I knew she was who I wanted to marry. While we were waiting for our food to come, I asked for everybody’s attention, and I was shaking. I can’t remember what all I said, but I told Cieara I loved her, and asked her to marry me. She said ‘yes’, and we hugged.”
“I knew it was coming. I didn’t know when, but I knew he had quite a bit of my friends and family coming to his birthday dinner and I wasn’t completely sure why,” Cieara said. “Then my mom pretty much ruined it for me. She called me and said ‘you know what he doing, right? She said that she wasn’t sure I was going to say yes, and she just wanted to give me a heads up. That made me nervous because I didn’t want to be put on the spot like that, but his words were beautiful. The ring was beautiful. It was nerve-wracking, but it was beautiful, and I said ‘yes’.”
The wedding: At Lakeside Park in Fort Wayne, officiated by Terrell’s father, Pastor Anthony Pettus Senior. They both wore white. “We didn’t have a wedding party, it was a small gathering in a park,” Cieara said.
Most memorable for the bride was “coming out and seeing the genuine love and support that was there for us. Seeing him and his smile, he was so happy. My best friend was boohooing, people were genuinely happy for us and that was beautiful to see,” Cieara said.
Most memorable for the groom was a phone call from his mother the morning of the wedding “she was crying, she apologized, and said I’m so, so sorry… That morning she had seen an example of a terrible mother-in-law, and didn’t want that relationship with her daughter-in-law, and that was big for me because I really love my mother, she’s means everything to me … I had been praying for God to show her that Cieara was the one. She [decided to come to the wedding] and got in the car and drove from South Bend, Indiana to Fort Wayne to make the wedding, and her being there meant so much to me, and she’s been a great mother-in-law and grandmother,” Terrell said.
The Pettus’s eventually relocated to Birmingham from Fort Wayne, Indiana in 2014, to follow their dreams. Terrell is a singer/songwriter and his brother, TJ, is a producer, who had moved to the Magic City with his wife a year prior. So that the brothers could be in the same city and continue making music . . .and Cieara could branch out with her dance career, the newlyweds made the move. “We fasted and prayed for God to confirm that this was the move for us, and He did,” Cieara said
Words of wisdom: “Three makes two become one, you, God, and your spouse,” Cieara said. “The Bible says a three-strand cord cannot be broken, and I truly believe that putting God at the head of your marriage gets you through it. I also believe dying to self daily helps make a marriage. It’s not always about you and what you learned [while you were being raised], all of that stuff dies because y’all create your own lives, your own morals, and values. Lastly, never get too comfortable. Who you and your spouse were when y’all met was just a season, you’re constantly changing and evolving, so you can never stop learning your spouse… Keep dating, keep talking, keep learning their likes and dislikes. Love styles change, it all evolves…”
Terrell said, “Every day is a battle of who dies to self first. Every day you have the opportunity to be selfish and choose yourself over your spouse, or you can die to [your own motives/desires]. . . As the head, you control the temperature, you’re the thermostat and set the tone of the whole house. [As the head] you should wake up every morning and see how you can outdo your spouse in being selfless,” Terrell said.
Happily ever after: The Pettus’s have one daughter, Emerald, 2.
Cieara, 30, is a Fort Wayne, Indiana native, and Wayne High School [IN] grad. She attended Indiana University Purdue University in Fort Wayne where she studied nursing. Cieara is an independent dancer/choreographer and a merchandise assistant at Hibbett’s corporate office.
Terrell, 33, is a South Bend, Indiana native, a Northrop High School [Fort Wayne] grad, and attended Indiana University Purdue University in Fort Wayne where he studied business. He works for Montgomery Transports as a customer service rep/dispatcher is an artist and Stellar Award-winning songwriter and worship leader at Rock City Church in Forestdale