• Thu. Mar 4th, 2021

COVID, ‘I Do’, ‘Put A Ring On It’: How These Four Couples Found Love During The Pandemic Season

 

The following interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity and length.

In this COVID-19 era, it’s a little hard to find happy endings. Or stay together, when the new norm is staying apart and being socially distant. But in this season, if it’s meant to be, it will be! And love finds us when we least expect it. We found four couples who have found love during the COVID-19 and say the pandemic has actually made their unions stronger. Two unions went down in the DM! Another couple didn’t see each other again for another two years after the first meeting. And one pair virtual dated the majority of their courting before finally meeting in person and making it official.  These couples share their stories with RoyalTee and how each of them prepared for their season of love- both as a couple and as individuals.

Norman and Alicia Harris

Tampa, FL

SAID ‘I DO’: Aug 26, 2020
PUT A RING ON IT: Feb. 14, 2021

Alicia (Henry) Harris wasn’t really looking for love when she met Norman Harris, a Tampa, FL attorney and minister, through a mutual friend. The two started talking during the high points of the coronavirus pandemic last summer, which met lots of virtual courting.  By the time they were comfortable and ready to meet up, Alicia caught COVID-19. But while she recovered, the two developed a friendship, and fast-forward a few months later they walked into their happily ever after. 

Do you feel the pandemic made your relationship stronger?

Yes, we have spent more quality time together and have built stronger communication without activity distractions because of COVID restrictions. I would further say, ironically, COVID positioned us both to meet at a perfect time.

How do you feel you prepared yourself for your season of love?

Norman:  I have spent much time in recent years reflecting on how I can improve myself with respect to connecting emotionally. Prior to meeting Alicia, I strategically focused on what specifically I want in a life partner and manifested it in writing. I have and continue to establish myself financially to be a financially responsible husband and father. I have and continue to build a relationship with God, the ultimate source of love and strength to be the best lover.

 

Bakari and Markeshia Hines2
Photo Credit: Marcus Duval

Bakari and Markeshia Hines

Atlanta, GA

GOT A RING ON IT: April 4, 2020

Bakari, 41, and Markeshia, 35, actually met twice and didn’t even know it. 

“The first time we met, Bakari was delivering furniture I ordered from his job. I thought he was so cute and a working man! I gave him the “female signal” to let him know it was okay to talk to me, but he did not take the hint,” Markeshia tells RoyalTee.  

Fast forward two years later the couple met again at a Boston Market. 

” I didn’t know where I knew him from. I just thought he was cute. This time, he made the biggest effort to talk to me while I was simply minding my own business. We still didn’t know who each other were,” Markeshia says. Bakari called her two weeks later and the rest is history! The two tied the knot privately during the pandemic on their original wedding date,  April 4, 2020. But not without complications… 

What challenges did you face when planning your wedding?

Markeshia: This [April 4, 2020] was our original wedding date before it was postponed. Our date was changed to August 22, 2020, but we had to postpone it again then finally cancel it due to the pandemic. However, we celebrated our nuptials by creating a video of our private ceremony and other events leading to it for our guests that couldn’t attend the private ceremony. We shared that video on August 22, 2020, via Zoom

Bakari: My wife is writing a book on that!  We faced unforeseen and unexpected challenges including the pandemic itself and our original wedding photos were mysteriously deleted off our photographer’s laptop…

Markeshia: Everything Bakari said is absolutely right. I was numb by the time I heard our photos were deleted. I had no emotion left to give. 

How did the pandemic make your relationship stronger?

Markeshia: I knew who I was marrying but we were never put in a situation of devastation that I would see another side of Bakari. When my heart broke and I cried my eyes out because the wedding of my dreams came tumbling down, Bakari was there for me like he’d never needed to be before. He had the perfect words at the perfect time and held me just right. In that moment a miracle took place. We became one even before we tied the knot. We knew we were marrying our destiny. It was a miracle we can’t explain. 

How do you feel you prepared yourself for your season of love?

Markeshia: I feel I prepared myself as much as I possibly could. My mind, my heart, and spirit were ready. I was ready to abandon the world I was currently in to create a new one with my husband. I was ready to be Bakari’s wife.

Bakari: I feel like I was ready with my mind and heart in the right place. To receive the blessing I had to ask for. My wife.

 

Photo Credit: Vernon Barber, Studio V Media

James and Jewelisia Thomas   

Tallahassee, FL

GOT A RING ON IT: July 24, 2020

Not taking no for an answer and social media. That’s pretty much the gist of how this couple became one!  James, 23, and Jewelisia’s, 23, are so millennial. They met on social media! 

“We met on Snapchat,” Jewelisia says. “We had a mutual friend on the app who introduced us. At first, I wasn’t giving James the time of day because I was so focused on myself and school and I didn’t want to be bothered with yet another failed fling. But I’m glad he persevered and kept “sliding in my DMs.”

Their original wedding date was November 7, 2020, but the pandemic was too bad at the time and many venues and vendors were closed. Instead, they opted out for a virtual wedding reception via Zoom with family and friends. 

“My godmother decorated the living room in her house like a reception venue and we celebrated “Mr. & Mrs. Thomas: Pandemic Edition,” says Jewelisia. 

How did the pandemic make your relationship stronger?

Getting married during a pandemic and sacrificing our dream wedding showed us how versatile we are as a couple. It could’ve driven a wedge between us and either party could’ve refused to compromise, but it taught us to enjoy and embrace the simple things. We always reference the scripture Zechariah 4:10, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”

We honored our love before God even when the outside world was in chaos, and we believe because of our bold step our latter will be blessed.

How do you feel you prepared yourself for your season of love? 

Jewelisia: From the time I was a little girl I always knew I wanted to get married. I was raised around the celebration and adoration of marriage, and the aspiration of building a family with someone was instilled in me unconsciously. I really had to do some self-reflection and take a look at the things that had happened in my past that hurt and disappointed me.  And make a conscious choice to leave them where they were – in the past. I did not want to project past hurt and trauma onto my husband that he had nothing to do with and I didn’t want to make him feel like he was obligated to correct other people’s wrong actions towards me. With a lot of prayer, fasting, and counseling I wanted him to know that I wanted to give him the best version of me when we said, “I do”.

James: I wouldn’t say that I had to “prepare” myself for marriage. I would say the things we did while my wife and I were dating was set the tone for the healthy marriage we knew we desired. Communication and understanding were things I learned growing up, and I believed that played the biggest role in my preparation for marriage.

 

Photo Credit: Drehow Photography

Allysan Fagins and Cambridge McGill     

Tallahassee, FL   

SAID ‘I DO’: Oct. 17, 2020
PUTTING A RING ON IT: Oct. 30, 2021

Allysan Fagins and Cambridge McGill’s story is the type of love that happens when you’re not even looking for it. Cambridge had seen Allysan around town. On the other hand, Allysan says she knew of Cambridge but never had the opportunity to meet him in person. 

“One day she walked into the church where I was minister of music,” McGill shares. “When I saw her, I knew that I had to get to know her a little better.”

Fagins cosigned, “After this wonderful church service that he’s speaking of, I get home to find a message in my DM and the rest is history! Yeah, yeah! We started talking on a DM!”

The two got engaged on Fagins’ birthday- a day her fiance because he wanted his boo to have something amazing to remember that day by. McGill says they’ve always been close as a couple but the pandemic made them closer. 

“It has allowed us to slow down and really enjoy each other,” McGill says. “I work full time, I’m in ministry full time, as well as a full-time musician; I am constantly on the go! With the pandemic being the way that it has been, there have been no big events and where we had churches with multiple services per Sunday, most have gone full virtual. This has allowed me time to spend with her. We take walks daily, we have game nights…we have even started a couple of 365-day devotionals where we read together, take time to write feelings and plans for the future. It’s been great.”

How do you feel you prepared yourself for your season of love?

Allysan: This season of love for me is definitely God-ordained. I never thought that I would be in a place where I would be planning a wedding. Three years ago, I was comfortable being single and focused on MY future. Then came Cambridge. He has been a complete joy to be with. Some days I wake up, struggling to get myself together and he will send a sweet text or an encouraging word that gives me the push that I needed. I opened my heart and my life to this man and I am READY for what’s to come!

Cambridge: I feel that I’ve never been more prepared for anything. I’m excited to do this thing called life with Allysan. Growing deeper in my relationship with God has allowed me to grow deeper in my relationship with her. I’ve made personal changes to ensure that I am the man that she needs and more importantly, deserves. I’ve learned so much over the past year and I am excited to her husband.

 

Read more about our pandemic couples in our Winter Edition! Order here

 

Alexia McKay

A working journalist, entrepreneur and founder of RoyalTee Enterprises. Born and raised in Tampa, Fla. The vision of RoyalTee was inspired in 2015 by Alexia’s ambitions to return to her passion for creative writing and publishing and create a platform to showcase the excellence of minority women across the country through professional, personal and social ventures.