Charles, my fiance, is the love of my life. He is God’s greatest gift to me, and we cannot wait to get married this June. Our story is a direct testament to the grace of Jesus Christ. He is the sole reason we met, dated, and will soon come together as husband and wife.
Charles and I met on October 31, 2015, at a wedding in Waitsfield, Vermont. I was there to watch my roommate, Ashley, get married—my roommate who just happened to be Charles’ sister. Ashley and her husband, Dave, and I had become friends that year. She told me about her cute brother, Charles, but I didn’t think much of it. Charles knew about me, too, but neither of us knew what the Lord had in store.
We met on the dance floor somewhere between Randy Travis and Justin Bieber. And the rest is history.
The truth is that while we did dance the night away, we didn’t think a relationship was going to come out of that night. Charles went back to the South; I went back to New York City. We talked and texted over the course of the next few months, and Charles came to visit Ashley and Dave—and me—in New York City that January of 2016. We went on our first date (the best first date of my life!) and had such a fun weekend just the two of us and double-dating. I loved showing him around my home.
Yet when we said goodbye, I pretty much assumed that was going to be the end of anything between us. Yes, we had fun. Yes, we had chemistry. Yes, he was interested. But I didn’t really know this guy. He didn’t live in the same city as me. And I was closed off to the idea of someone new.
I had been in previous relationships, and the summer before meeting Charles was the first time I felt okay in my singleness. I really wasn't expecting to meet someone or get married until my 30s. I truly wanted to be able to get to know myself better as a single woman, and I wanted to grow in my faith on my own. I was at peace. I had told myself I wouldn’t step into another relationship unless I knew where the guy’s head was at. Only if I knew that he had the same desire for marriage as I did and that he was just as strong in his belief in Christ as I was. Only then would I consider a relationship.
There’s no way that could be Charles, I told myself.
He lives in Savannah, Georgia, and I’m in New York City.
He’s younger than me.
He’s not going to want a real relationship or to pursue marriage.
What’s the point?
I was discounting Charles before I ever gave us a chance.
So when he called me up and asked me to come visit him in Savannah, I told him I’d have to think about it. Then I did what I do best: I wrote to him. I wrote him a 1,043-word email. Yes, really.
I explained how my past relationships crumbled. That I was thankful to God that He ended them but also much more cautious now to start anything new. I explained how God had been working in my heart and called me into a deep, personal relationship with Him. I told Charles that I knew what I desired in a relationship and how I wanted one leading to marriage.
And then I included a bulleted list of my reservations as to why a relationship between us wouldn’t work.
Before ending my email, I wrote:
What I do know, Charles, is you are the kind of man I have prayed for for so long. You love the Lord. You are kind and caring. You are respectful. Your family is more important to you than your work, although you work hard, too. You make me laugh! On top of all that, you’re super cute.
I sent that and waited for his reply. Waited to see if he still wanted me to visit, fully anticipating him to think I was way too much to handle.
Five days later, Charles' reply was in my inbox. I remember it so clearly because I read that email on my phone and, in the midst of a busy NYC subway, I started crying. He addressed all my concerns and then wrote words I'll never forget:
God has brought us together for a reason and I think it's too soon to end things. You are a beautiful, brave, kind, Christian woman. Your heart is for the Lord. You have all the traits I desire in a wife. I already thank God for putting you in my life, even if I am unable to see you ever again. You are a soldier for the Lord. I love and admire how you are able to use writing to bring glory to God and reveal Him to others. Your blog takes so much courage and I know it does great good. So keep it up!
Charles’ words brought me to tears, and I knew then that this could be something special. I went to visit him in Savannah a few weeks later. We shared our testimonies with one another, and we talked about how the Lord had led us both out of darkness and into the light. We shared our hopes and dreams, and for the first time, we started falling in love.
As we parted ways at the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, we decided to make things official as boyfriend and girlfriend. It felt like something out of a movie.
Much of our relationship really has been like something out of a movie. Charles loves me in a way I didn’t know was possible. He loves me deeply, gently, and selflessly.
The only way he’s able to love me like this is because he loves Jesus Christ first and foremost.
I have to be honest with you, though: not all of our relationship is like a movie. My Instagram feed reads like a highlight reel, and while, we love each other so much, we argue and bicker like any other couple. We get annoyed with each other. We struggle with the typical male/female tension points. He’s overly practical, too direct, too detached. I’m overthinking, too emotional, too sensitive.
But how sweet is God to redeem those characteristics and set up the covenant of marriage between the (very different) male and female to complement one another. God created us to reflect His own image, and marriage is one of the many things He uses to further show us His glory and make us more like Him.
Whatever relationship stage you are in, God can use that to refine you. He will mold you, shape you, and draw you closer to Himself if you let Him in. God did that mightily in my dating experiences, my breakups, and my singleness. I didn’t realize at the time how much he was using those situations and seasons to transform me. I started this blog as a single woman, after a breakup that gave me the motivation I needed to put my words on the Internet. And this blog is one of the biggest reasons Charles continued to pursue me long-distance even when I wrote him a laundry list email of all my hesitations about why he wouldn’t measure up.
Before we ever met, he and I had to learn individually that we are only saved by grace through faith alone, not by our works or good deeds. We had to realize the depth of our own brokenness, our own sins, and how much we desperately need a savior in Jesus Christ. We had to individually come to the recognition that nothing in this world will ever truly fulfill—including marriage—but that a relationship with Christ brings us hope. And we had to see the value in dating God’s way. Friends and family had been praying for us before we even knew each other existed.
God was preparing my heart for Charles—and preparing his heart simultaneously.
So even when we butt heads, we have never stop being on the same team. I never for one second doubt that he is praying for me, praying to be the leader God has called him to be, and loving me with his whole heart—while putting God above me.
We have dated across five different states in two years, with nine months of both living in Nashville. Throughout those 730 days, we knew we could count on the other. We knew we were in this thing together. We knew we wanted to point the other person to Christ.
Charles encourages me and my giftings. He has helped me step into my true identity while healing from my eating disorder. And I do my best to speak life into him, respecting him and building him up. I remind him of the man God has called him to be.
When Charles asked me on December 21 to be his wife, the answer was a no-brainer. (For all of you wondering, yes, I did say “yes!”) We are so excited to spend the rest of our lives together. It’s not going to be perfect or without its trials, but it is going to be the absolute sweetest gift. We know God has been writing this story for a long time. Thanks for joining with us on the journey!
If you want to talk more about Jesus Christ and faith and what-the-heck-is-all-this-stuff, shoot me a message. I love meeting new people, whether virtually or in person, and gabbing about life.
And if you'd like to know more of my story, you can read my testimony here.
Truly, He makes beautiful things.