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‘I Never Fell in Love Like This And Definitely Not This Fast’

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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.

JAMARE AND TANEIQUA GRACE

Live: East Lake

Married: Nov. 13, 2017

Met: Late April 2015, in East Lake. TaNeiqua was visiting a friend at her apartment complex when she and Jamare crossed paths and said hello in passing. A week later, they saw each another again.

“…we were sitting outside barbequing at [her friend’s place in East Lake] and he came up and whispered over my shoulder ‘You know you gonna be mine, right?’ and I just looked at him like he was crazy,” TaNeiqua said. “He looked like a guy that had options, so I didn’t take him seriously, I laughed.”

Jamare thought TaNeiqua “was gorgeous. “I was hoping I saw her again because I had to make my move… Then I ended up seeing her again [a couple of weeks later after the barbeque] on another side of town at a gas station and said ‘I caught you, now let me go on and get your number before you disappear,” Jamare said.

First date: June 2015, at a party in Woodlawn at an event center. They attended as guests with Jamare’s uncle Richard.

“I remember us dancing the whole night, and afterward we ended up at our favorite spot [a chicken/Chinese food joint on 3rd Ave on the West Side] to get some wings… wings are our love language,” TaNeiqua said.

“We enjoyed ourselves dancing and having fun with my family members. And after the wings, we had to ride through the city, we took a tour and ended the date like that,” Jamare said.

The turn: Things went quickly for TaNeiqua and Jamare. They moved in a week after their first date, after what started as a daytime hangout that turned into their first night together.

“…he called me and asked me to do my bonus daughter [JaKiyah’s hair, who was then 6] … I went and did her hair and it got late so I ended up spending the night and the next morning I needed to go get clothes and he took me home [to pack a bag], and when I came back out with a small duffle bag, he said, ‘that’s all you gonna bring? You gonna go get the rest of your stuff?’ And I [was in disbelief] and he said, ‘you moving in ain’t you?’….  We took all my clothes and everything and put it in the trunk of his Monte Carlo and we been stuck like glue ever since,” TaNeiqua said.

“It was like a head-on collision of love,” she added. “I can’t understand it. It was fast like a bullet train, I ain’t never fell in love like this and definitely not this fast. My grandmother thought I was crazy [as she] watched me and him moving my stuff out one week after meeting him.”

“I had to get straight to it,” Jamare said. “I wasn’t playing I wanted her to move in ASAP. I told her, ‘If you want to move in, move in now.”

The proposal: Nov. 10, 2017, at their home in East Lake. “I had just got home from work and he asked me if I loved him, and I said ‘yes, of course’. Then he asked me if I really wanted to be with him, and I answered ‘yes’, and then he just asked me ‘will you marry me?’,” TaNeiqua said. “And of course, I said ‘yes’. He got up to put the ring on me, but he didn’t know what finger to put it on,” she laughed. “We hugged and kissed and just talked with each other, and he was just telling me how much he loved me and cared for me, and he shed a tear and told me how he couldn’t see himself being with anybody else but me. Then we went [in the other bedroom] and told his grandma, Ms. Mary, she was living with us at the time.”

Jamare said, “I did shed a tear because I fell for her. Of all the women, she was the one that caught my heart . . . and that made my grandmother [Ms. Mary] happy because that’s what she wanted, for us to do it the right way and I’m glad we did before she passed [in Feb. 2021].”

The wedding: At the Birmingham Courthouse. TaNeiqua wore a light pink sweater skirt set, and Jamare wore a Polo shirt and jeans.

Most memorable for the bride was “afterward [the nuptials] we went to Railroad Park [in downtown Birmingham] and took pictures and got a room downtown at the Embassy and spent the whole weekend in disbelief that we’d actually gotten married,” TaNeiqua said.

Most memorable for the groom “was doing something that was new to me, I got married. It really changed my life though, it made me into a grown man, it grew me up,” Jamare said.

The couple honeymooned at the Embassy Suites in Birmingham. “We made sweet memories in the Jacuzzi in our room,” TaNeiqua laughed.

Words of wisdom: “Go your own speed, do your own thing, keep God first, don’t stop dating each other, and don’t go to bed angry,” TaNeiqua said.

“Keep God first and let everything else take its course and it’ll all work out. Don’t let it get dull, keep it fresh and that’ll keep the relationship healthy,” Jamare said.

Happily ever after: The Graces are a blended family with two sons, Christian, 23, and Jamarcues, 21, and three daughters, Jakiyah, 13, A’Netra, 5, A’Lahni, 3.

TaNeiqua, 31, is a Childersburg, Ala. native, Bible Way Christian Academy grad [Childersburg, Ala.], and attended Central Alabama Community College [Childersburg, Ala]. She is pursuing her associate’s degree in office administration at Jefferson State Community College and works as a loan processor in Trussville.

Jamare, 46, is a Wenonah native, Wenonah High school grad who works as a machine operator at Holman and Barnard Inc. in Birmingham.

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