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I was acutely aware that I might remain single if I didn’t meet the right person. On my birthday, I would meet him for the first time as a potential suitor. It would be the first time we truly heard each other’s voices and saw each other in this light. Has God really answered my prayer?
Caught in a bad romance
In my early 30’s, I had just gotten out of a long-term relationship. My heart was broken, and for months, I couldn’t talk about it without crying my eyes out. I took time to heal and put my focus on spending time with family and friends.
Am I being “picky”?
I had confidence that I would meet my future spouse through natural encounters within my social circles or at work. However, as the years passed, I realized that meeting people wasn’t so easy. I was in my mid-30s by then and getting antsy.
I kept getting told that I needed to expand my network to meet more “prospects” and couldn’t just rely on the natural encounters I had expected. I was also told that I was too picky and had too high expectations.
Friends began to set me up on blind dates, which I went on with high hopes. I looked for special interest groups on travel and photography, expecting to meet some like-minded people. Eventually, I succumbed and joined the online dating bandwagon.
Here I was, in my mid-30s, entirely out of touch with the dating scene, fumbling my way around.
In the midst of all this, I was also praying. As a Christian, I knew I wanted my future spouse to have the same values and beliefs as me, so I prayed that God would bring this person to me. Therefore, even though I communicated on various platforms, I was very selective about who I met.
I believed that I should be picky because I would be spending the rest of my life with this person! It should not be a decision made lightly!
I was fully aware of the fact that I may remain single unless I met the right person. I believe this was the turning point for me in my “quest” to find a husband.
Many people enter relationships thinking that it would fill a hole in their lives. I finally realized that going into a relationship, I needed to be a whole person without expecting someone else to complete me. With that realization, I was at peace, knowing that I would live a fulfilled and meaningful life, whether or not I got married.
This mindset relieved the pressure I had to find a husband, allowing me to simply enjoy my friendships and daily activities without constantly scanning the room for the “one.”
The fateful encounter
One fateful day, two church members dropped by to pick up an item I had loaned out for their use. It was my first time meeting one of them, let’s call him W. This was in January 2020, when the word “pandemic” was still alien to us all.
In the next few months, W and I communicated a few times about the item on loan. The conversations were purely functional, only for information-sharing. Then, the pandemic hit, and the whole country was stuck at home, each person managing social isolation in their own ways.
It was then that W and I had more conversations on WhatsApp. He had prepared some materials for the church’s weekly Bible studies, and I had some questions, so it started there. As we shared more conversations, I realized that I enjoyed his sense of humor, thoughtfulness in remembering things about me, and outlook on life.
Most importantly, we were on the same “frequency” and could communicate well (those of you who have experienced painful conversations with people on a different wavelength, you know what I mean).
After chatting for so long, we decided to meet on my birthday. For the first time after the brief encounter months ago, we would hear each other’s voices and see each other in person.
Prior to our meeting, I had commented to him that although we may connect well via WhatsApp messages, things could be different face-to-face. He later told me that this got him a little nervous. Thankfully, the meeting went smoothly (audible sigh of relief), and we got along really well!
Since the first-meeting hurdle was over, we wanted to spend more time together to know each other better. As this was still early in the pandemic, restaurants only allowed takeaways, and all social activities were not allowed. Therefore, our hangout place ended up being my family home.
Unlike most dating couples, we couldn’t go out for meals, a movie, or even a sporting activity. In hindsight, this was a real plus point for our relationship because we had so much time to talk with minimal distractions (and saved a lot of money, too!). We had deep and transparent conversations while exploring our personalities and habits.
We were finally ready!
The conversations and time spent together had clearly indicated that we hoped to have a future together. So, six months into our relationship, upon the advice of mentors, we took the unusual step of signing up for a pre-marital counseling course.
As we were approaching the fourth decade of our lives, we were quite certain of our decision and wanted to confirm our compatibility in a meaningful way.
Most couples participate in pre-marital counseling courses after they’ve already decided on a wedding date as a task to tick off their checklist. We wanted the pre-marital counseling sessions to help us evaluate the important issues a couple would need to be aware of and to have clear discussions should there be any unmatched expectations.
This was one of the best decisions we made as a couple. We were able to intentionally discuss matters relating to our roles, in-laws, finances, family planning, and conflict management.
Our counselors guided us on these topics and provided practical advice. Over 6 months, we learned even more about each other and resolved some of the challenges we faced. We were ready!
Fifteen months after our first meeting, W proposed, we got married four months after that!
We are truly thankful to God for bringing us together, what more in the way that I had preferred—a natural encounter rather than a blind date or from a dating platform.
We were introduced in the most unexpected way, at a time that neither of us could predict. God knows what we need and when we need it. Ultimately, we have to approach our (potential) relationships with the right mindset and trust that God will give us the best.