“Unconditional love is the greatest asset of marriage”


Special for 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 your applications to Erica Wright [email protected] Include the couple’s name, contact number (s) and what makes their love story unique.


Live: Montgomery / Homewood

Married: September 28, 2002

Encounter: Eric and Tamekia met in August 2001 at the New Life Church of God in Christ in Montgomery, Alabama. Eric, a pastor associated with his family’s ministry, gave a sermon that resonated with Tamekia. “He was preaching a sermon at an evening service on rejection and daddy’s issues. . . so after the service, I boldly went up to him and told him that I had really enjoyed his sermon.

Eric remembered seeing “the cute usher” at the back of the church and asked his cousin who she was. Two weeks after their first meeting, Eric had the opportunity to chat with her in the church hall this Sunday after the service. The two had many conversations and Tamekia admitted, “I found myself wanting to talk to her more and more, and not just about my problems… I was drawn, I wanted to talk to her all the time.

First date: Valentine’s Day 2002, in a Steak n ‘Shake in Montgomery. “He lived in Birmingham so on Valentine’s Day I sent him a bunch of balloons at work and he was in a meeting when [it got delivered] and everyone was rooting him… It made him come to Montgomery to see me, ”Tamekia said.

“I’m normally the one who does things for people, so it was good for me that she thought of me and sent those balloons on V-Day,” Eric said. “I had done some shopping before that that I planned to give her when I went to Montgomery this weekend… I asked her where she wanted to go, and of all the places she chose Steak n’Shake.

Tamekia said the whole night “felt good. As we spoke I could see that he was a real gentleman, he came across as very strong and confident and that is what I lacked in other experiences, ”she said.

Eric said, I haven’t really been out for 7 years. I was focused on the ministry… I felt a connection, I was interested in her, I didn’t know how far the relationship would go, but I not only loved watching her, but I also loved being with her.

Round: “It got serious for us on Valentine’s Day because that night she asked me to define the relationship,” Eric said. “So that night we decided we wanted to hang out together and really get to know each other exclusively. We spent the weekends hanging out with our daughter Nyla (from Tamekia’s previous relationship who was then 3) and getting to know each other.

Tamekia said “A month or two later I was lying in my bed and the Holy Spirit said ‘Eric is your husband’ and I was really like a pastor? But hey, it’s good. I was a girl who liked “the bad boy”, and he was a professional dude and a great guy in every way… he was the most consistent man I had dated, every Friday when I was coming out of work, he was sitting in my driveway. I never saw myself being a preacher’s wife, but then it set in my mind.

Proposal: June 8, 2002, at Shakespeare Festival Park in Montgomery

Eric said he spoke with his mother and let her know he wanted to have Tamekia’s hand in marriage before continuing.

“We went to an Italian restaurant (Macaroni Grill) and had dinner, then [afterward] we went to the park to walk and talk, that’s something we’ve always done, ”he said. “We were walking and talking and we stopped by the lake and we sat on the stairs and she sat in front of me, and while she was sitting in front of me, I put my hand in my pocket. and I took the ring out and then I knelt down and asked her if she would marry me. She couldn’t believe it at one point, she started to cry and she said yes.

“It was very romantic,” Tamekia recalls. “I remember and we sat outside for dinner and we were just looking at each other, and he was like ‘okay let’s go to the park (he knows I like the outdoors).’ And I didn’t know this guy was about to propose, ”she said.

The wedding: New Life of God in Christ Church in Montgomery. The colors of the wedding were champagne and platinum and the ceremony was presided over by Senior Pastor Terry Ellison.

Most memorable for the bride was to receive a love note from her groom. “I was in the back of the locker room getting dressed and I get this note, and it was the sweetest thing. He put it through my brother, and I was like ‘oh, this he is the nicest man in the whole world, ”Tamekia said.

Most memorable for the groom was seeing his bride walking down the aisle.

“When the doors opened and the song she had selected started playing and I saw her walk down the aisle… woman,” Eric said.

The next morning the couple left for their honeymoon, they sailed to the Bahamas.

Words of wisdom: “Unconditional love is the greatest asset of marriage because when two people meet, they are two different people, you make two people one, it is a union. A lot of times you won’t agree, but you have to learn to compromise and walk in love, ”Tamekia said. “Prayer and communication too. With us, we don’t stay crazy for long, and in fact, we don’t get angry much, but when we do, we don’t. When I look at him, he melts me … “

Eric said, “Never stop laughing, even the Bible says laughter is the best medicine. Sometimes it’s the simple things … always find time to laugh and have fun. We both have a good sense of humor, so when one of us is angry the other will say something or do something stupid and we both burst out laughing, ”he said. he declares. “And we’re not both afraid to say I’m sorry and move on. Even if we think the other person was wrong, we will apologize and move on.

Happy forever: Tamekia, 44, is from Montgomery and graduated from Jefferson Davis High School. She attended the University of Troy, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Management and Marketing Research. She works as a customer service representative at the Alabama Housing Finance Authority and also owns an online store called “God’s Finest Apparel and Accessories” [website: www.gods-finest.com].

Eric, 43, is from Forestdale and a minor high school graduate. He attended the Alabama University of Agriculture and Mechanical [A&M] and received a BA in Psychology and an MA in Leadership and Management from Amridge University. He works as a Senior Business Analyst for “1 Sync Technology” and is the pastor of River of Life Ministries at Homewood.

The Lees have two children, Nyla Lee, 22, and Eric Lee II, 16.