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.