Today, Will and I celebrate six years of marriage. I can’t imagine being married to anyone else, and of course, God knew exactly what He was doing in drawing us together. Will complements me in amazing ways, as I do him. We fit. I’m proud he is my husband and the father of my children.
So in honor of our anniversary, I’m going to do something I never thought I would do. I’m going to share the story of how we met. Now, friends and family know of course, and when people ask that I don’t know well, I try to tell the truth. But it’s not easy.
I wrote the following recently, intending to enter it into an essay contest for a magazine I enjoy but decided it wasn’t good enough and went with something else I had written instead. It works fine for my blog though! So, here’s the story…
This is ridiculous I thought, as I waited for the site to load. Looking around the graduate computer lab, I hoped no one would glance at my screen. I sat beside my classmate and friend, Tracey, who had introduced me to the crazy idea in the first place. Forgetting the paper I should have been working on, I watched as the name of the dating site appeared on the page. Embarrassed, I exited the page quickly.
Yet, once I was settled in at my parents’ house for the holidays, it drew me back. And the excuses took up residence in the more practical part of my mind…I get a free trial, so it doesn’t cost anything; it just gives me something to do over the Christmas break; I don’t really think I’ll meet anyone; and my personal favorite, it’s really more of a joke.
I’ve only admitted this to a few people, but it was more than just some joke. I really hoped to meet my future husband. I wasn’t the kind of girl who dated just to date, I dated with the intentions of finding the man God had picked out for me to spend the rest of my life with. For that reason, I didn’t do a lot of dating.
To this day, acknowledging the fact that I was looking for love online makes me cringe. I just know that it makes me sound like a desperate woman who doesn’t go on dates because there must be some sign on my head that says “run away, run away!” so instead I sit at home each weekend watching Dirty Dancing, Sixteen Candles, or When Harry Met Sally for the umpteenth time. Which are all great movies, by the way.
Or perhaps my interest in an online dating website had more to do with the fact that 1) I was working on my master’s of social work, and really, there weren’t many men doing the same, especially any in my general age range; 2) I was working part-time in a non-profit agency that served traumatized children, and you guessed it, I didn’t interact with many men there either, and 3) I happened to attend a church in which the “young marrieds” filled half the fellowship hall, but I was the only single person my age. And given the two aforementioned situations, I had little time in between to meet a man in any other way. God was going to have to intervene given the situation. And He did.
I took a breath and dove in, registering and going through the tedious process of answering an array of questions about myself. Having completed that task, I began exploring the site. Yes, this was primarily a dating site, but there some people on there for networking also (I always emphasize that fact to this day whenever a friend looks at me with that skeptical raised brow). In the interest of full disclosure, I was slightly on the impatient side, not only because I felt as if I had to hurry and see this process through before I came to my senses, but because it had become exciting! It seemed the possibilities were endless.
I quickly noted that there were all kinds of men in this virtual dating café, and very, VERY few looked like good matches for me. There was the guy who seemed very kind, but had so much facial hair I could barely make out what he looked like. Then there was the guy who appeared to delight in making suggestive comments (just because it was a Christian site doesn’t mean everyone acted like a gentleman) and another who quizzed me on a variety of academic topics like a college professor, focusing specifically on reformed theology. Growing discouraged, I began to resign myself to Friday nights filled with romantic comedies, particularly those of the John Hughes variety, because after all, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink were classics as well.
I logged off after the first few times skimming profiles and messages both discouraged and amused at myself. Why had I really thought anything would come of it? Silly Olivia, oh so naive and full of hope. Meeting someone online? Really. I shook my head and went about my evening.
Little did I know that that wasn’t the end of the story.