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“I Put The Ring on Her Finger … We Exchanged a Hug and a Kiss’

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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.

RONAE AND TERENCE GIVENS

Live: Trussville

Married: Feb. 24, 2011

Met: Summer 2006, at their job at Taco Bell on Crestwood Boulevard. Terence was a cook, and Ronae was the cashier.

“[Taco Bell] was our first job right out of high school,” Ronea said. Terence was already an employee at Taco Bell when she joined the staff after she graduated from Huffman High School and said he immediately tried to make his presence known.

“I was clocking in and he came over and tried to show me how to work the computer system but I already knew how to work it so I think he was trying to flirt with me,” Ronae recalled. “He was like ‘You know how to clock in?’, and I was like ‘of course I do,’ but he came over and showed me anyway and I was thinking ‘Boy go fix them tacos, I know how to clock in,’ she laughed.

Terence said, “When she walked in the door, I was like I got to see who that is. She looked a little confused while she was trying to clock in, so I made it my duty to go over there and help her, and the look in her eyes told me she was interested …,” Terence said. “I was only 18, I didn’t really have any game back then so I just kinda flirted indirectly.”

Ronae wasn’t immediately impressed, “he was alright, I liked his eyes though; they’re gray,” Ronae said.

Terence recalled flirting for a few months before they decided to hang out.

First date: Fall 2006, at Ronae’s family function at East Lake Park.  “Terence pulled up at the function, but he didn’t come to where the picnic was, but my auntie was nosey and walked over [to where he was parked] and said ‘who is this with these cute eyes?’ and introduced herself,” Ronae said. “Terence was shy, he stayed right there in the parking lot [because] my family is outspoken,” she laughed.

“I wasn’t per se ready to meet the family yet,” Terence said, “so I … stayed near my car and we just chit-chatted in the parking lot.”

The turn: Early 2010. “We were kind of off and on because she had this attitude that I didn’t like, but I always kept her in [the back of my mind] because I liked her. In 2010, I gave her a call, it was a typical ‘What you doing? I ain’t heard from you in a while call’ and we met up and got some lunch.”

Ronae was over the on-again-off-again cycle they had developed over the years and let Terence know that this time would be different. “I told him don’t keep calling me, you either want me or you don’t. I told him we ain’t gonna keep going back and forth, you either gonna be my man or you’re not,” Ronae said. “So we met up for lunch, and we were more mature then…”

“I told her we’ll give it a try. I still didn’t necessarily want a girlfriend, but I wanted somebody I could confide in and talk to. We took it one step at a time, and she was a good listening ear. She was unlike any other female, she actually listened and responded with her opinions and looked out for [my best interest] … ,”

“And then I got pregnant with our son [fall 2010], and I gave (Terence) an ultimatum. I said, ‘Look here, ain’t gonna be no shacking’, and he said he didn’t want to raise a child in two separate households…,” Ronae said.

“We came to some middle ground and it was the best decision I ever made,” Terence said.

The proposal: Winter 2010, at Terence’s place on the Southside. “We were in the living room watching TV and I told her I’d be right back, and when I came back in I had the open ring box in my hand, and I tapped Ronae on the shoulder and when she looked around I asked her ‘if she would marry me?’ She said ‘yeah’, and I put the ring on her finger. [The ring] was a little big so I had to get it sized, but we exchanged a hug and a kiss,” Terence said.

“It wasn’t your [typical] proposal, it wasn’t in front of my family…, but I said, ‘yes, absolutely, of course, I will marry you’,” Ronae said. “I was happy, anxious, and nervous, but most of all happy.”

The wedding: At the downtown Birmingham Courthouse, officiated by a clergyman. The couple was dressed casually.

Most memorable for the bride was “saying our vows. It was intimate. My mom and my dad were there, but it was just us in a small room committing to each other and that felt special to me,” Ronae said. “It [signified] a turning point in our lives, we were taking the next step.”

Most memorable for the groom was the mounting anxiety leading up to going to the courthouse. “You get anxiety built up, I was like I’m actually about to marry this woman. I was anxious and excited, I was nervous, and I didn’t know how her parents were going to respond [to our kiss]…,” Terence said.

They did not honeymoon right away, but went to Gatlinburg, Tenn., and stayed in the cabins for their first anniversary.

Words of wisdom: “Talk about it, don’t go to sleep with things unresolved, and be open to discuss what went wrong during the day or what created the argument,” Terence said. “We hardly ever go to sleep without trying to find a resolution. We still date like it’s the first date, we’re best friends.”

“We try to keep the spark going,” Ronae said. “We travel together out of the country; we try to go on a date every other Saturday… Keep God first in your life and your marriage. I pray for him; he prays for me and over our kids.”

Happily ever after: The Givens attend Greater Emmanuel Temple Holiness Church, in East Lake, and have two children, a son, Tamauri, 12, and a daughter, Taraji, 10.

Ronae, 35, is an Ensley native, Huffman High School grad, and has worked as a senior expert representative for T-Mobile for the past 11 years.

Terence, 37, is an East Lake native, and Woodlawn High School grad. He attended ITT Technical Institute [Bessemer campus], where he studied computer engineering, and has worked at Honda Manufacturing as a robotics technician for the past 16 years.

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