Falling in Love…Online?

“Have you ever “met” someone online and felt an instant connection? Why yes and now he’s my Mr.”

Molly Wizenburg writes in her NYT bestselling memoir A Homemade Life.  She fell in love with her husband over the internet. Upon finding her cooking blog, he emailed her expressing his love for cooking and enjoyment of her blog. They emailed, she called, he visited, and she baked her famous chocolate cake for their wedding. Beautiful story!

Michael and I have a similar story. A mutual friend tried to set us up while we were both home on furlough from Germany and China. I didn’t get his message until it was already too late to meet. I flippantly called him back thinking, “he’s probably just another one of those uber-Christians & I’ll make sure to be nice, but keep it short”. {I was a little disillusioned with Christians at the time.} We talked. He called again. He flew back to Germany, and I boarded a plane for China. We emailed. Skype chatting commenced. Then more phone calls-late ones, because China is 7 hours ahead of Germany.

I still remember crouching on top of dresser in a dirty hotel room in China {because I thought I saw a roach} and Michael very smoothly calling me “little darlin”. I would have launched off that dresser in excitement if it wasn’t for the mysterious creature. On October 12, 2009 I knew I loved him. We still hadn’t met, but had spent countless hours on the phone over the last  3 months. Of course, I didn’t tell him…but I just knew.

On December 6th, I had a really rough “China day” & he played and sang one of my favorite songs over the phone: In Christ Alone. I wrote in my journal that night, “I just know I will marry Michael Dean!” We still had never even shared a cup of coffee.

On December 18, after 4 months of late-night phone conversations & dreaming about what it would be like to actually meet-we met at my parent’s front door. I felt like there was a ghost standing before me & didn’t stop talking because that’s what I do when I’m nervous. We dated from Germany to China and then Atlanta to Germany and then Charlotte to Nashville. Michael and I did not live in the same city until last January-6 months away from our June 4 wedding date! And we didn’t live together until after our wedding. Are we crazy?

“Meeting” and falling in love online and over the phone was never how I pictured Mr. Right coming into my life. Although the distance was hard & I spent those two years counting down the days until we could be together again-it was a beautiful way to know my future husband. My wedding gift to him was an elegantly bound copy of every email and Skype conversation we’d had over the past two years.

I love the way our relationship started. We were both completely “ourselves”, as we didn’t have high hopes it would turn into anything. We had fun, laughed a lot, & shared our dreams and passions without worrying too much about what the other thought. We discovered our mutual love for overseas missions, kids, and the great outdoors. We were really able to get to know each better on many levels because most of our time was spent communicating. Not making out or watching movies. It’s easy to base relationships on chemistry, when chemistry will always fade down the road. But we didn’t have that option.  The important stuff like planning for the future, kids, jobs, religion, and money didn’t get swept under the rug and we were able to be upfront about these very important topics.

Online dating or emailing is a GREAT way to get to know people & protect yourself. Before you start going on blind dates or building your online profile, I would suggest having a list of “deal breakers”-that you absolutely will not settle on. Don’t put a hair or eye color on your ‘deal-breaker’ list, but you should put things about kids, jobs, education level, & religion. I suggest the list before you start meeting people online because when chemistry gets thrown into the mix oftentimes it’s too late to step away.

There are downsides to online dating. PLEASE BE CAREFUL and always meet someone in  a public place. Also, be aware that people can be deceptive online, i.e. “I’m a 23-year-old  swimsuit model…and I look hot in fuchsia!” 🙂

Would you be embarrassed to admit you are dating online? Why or why not? Do you think it’s a good way to get to know someone? What are some of your ‘deal breakers’? 

Singleness, Settling, and Waiting for “The One”

Engagement season is here. Fall weddings are beginning. Women in serious relationships are wondering, “will he ever propose?” and anxiously trying to bring up the “e question” casually. And singles are left wondering, “Will it ever be my turn?” “Will I ever meet the One?”

I’ve been in your shoes.

The fall of 2008 and 2009 I lived across the globe in CHINA and let’s just say I know how it feels to feel left out when it comes to relationships and watching others date, get engaged, and tie the knot. Not to mention all my lonely college years watching friends hop from boyfriend to boyfriend.

Last fall, I had more manicures combined than I have had in my entire life. I was sure Michael would propose in June when we were in Germany, and then in July when he came back to visit, and then on our 1 year anniversary. But all those perfect opportunities came and went and my manicured left hand did not glisten in the sun. Finally in November, I stopped visiting Nail Talk and Tan for both my wallet and my sanity’s sake. I was over it. I drove to Charlotte to visit Michael one weekend-chewed on my chipped nails the entire way-and guess when he proposed? November 6. He woke me up early on Saturday morning, (in a bow-tie) and finally put a ring on my neglected left hand. Joy.

What do I wish someone gently told me then (even though I probably wouldn’t have listened)? Your singleness will be a blip on the screen of your life. Don’t waste this time. It may feel like a curse, but it’s a gift.

Singleness may feel unending, but I promise it won’t last forever. Use this time to investigate areas of your life that need a change, in essence preparing yourself for marriage. You are worth it: Don’t settle for less than the absolute best. It may feel like torture to attend one more wedding, buy one more bridesmaid dress, or spend one more year alone-but your time will come. I promise. Until then? Meet as many people as you can. Make that your goal this fall. Try out new groups-give online dating a try-attend more parties-whatever ways you can find to meet more people. Most of the couples I know met through mutual friends (don’t be opposed to blind dates) or through websites like eHarmony or Match.com.

Don’t settle for dating the wrong person out of fear the right one will never come alongGod hasn’t forgotten you. He parted the red sea, brought down the walls of an entire city with trumpets, and raised Jesus from the dead. Bringing you your soul mate won’t take a miracle.

This afternoon, Michael and I drove downtown to Crema today-a “coffee brewtique”-to spend uninterrupted (i.e. no phones), quality time together. We started this Sunday tradition a couple of weeks ago in effort to set aside time to work on our relationship and be intentional with each other every week. We laugh a lot together. As we sipped our coffee in the oversized leather chairs, I reflected on the man sitting in front of me and how he is the greatest blessing in my life. If I could only have one day with him or a lifetime with Mr. Wrong, I would choose him every time. I do believe in soul mates. The best part of marriage is that he know me and loves me despite all the dark and messy areas in my life.  You don’t want to do this with the wrong guy.

Your time will come. Trust me. And you’ll look back on all the longing of singleness and think to yourself: “Of course I’m not a cat lady.” Promise.