I met my husband on eHarmony.
Two years ago, if you had told me this would happen, I would have looked you straight in the eye with a little bit of attitude and told you I was not the online dating type. Online dating was for people who needed help. And as a perfectly healthy, intelligent woman with a funky streak of blond in my hair and a masters degree in theology, I didn’t need help.
But once the story got out that I met him online, I started to hear from singles who were also considering online dating, singles who are already trying online dating with a lot of success and some with none, some who are too scared to try it, and some who are ready to give up. And they’ve all asked our story. So if you can handle a little sweet and a little sour, stick around.
A year ago, a week before Valentine’s Day, in the Aldi parking lot, I broke up with a guy.
And before I went in the grocery store to buy cereal and eggs and bananas, I decided I was done dating people in “real life.” Finding someone online (fake life?) was really the only option left.
Everyone who knows me well could tell you I love the fact I was raised on a farm and that I’m Lutheran. They knew I not-so-secretly wanted to marry a cowboy and wear boots and drive a big, black F-150. And they knew I love the Bible, the Confessions, the liturgy, ceremony and hymnody.
So when I sat down a few days later in a cranky mood to write my online profile, those are the things I wrote about: country living and theology. I talked about boots and guns and Luther and the Divine Service. I wrote very specifically, and I figured if anybody had remotely similar interests, my “Marco” would be clear enough to get a “Polo” in return.
And then I closed my computer, called my sisters, and told them I’d just wasted 150 bucks.
It wasn’t easy going. The first guy to contact me was a “continuous improvement manager,” but he couldn’t really explain what that was and I had no idea what that meant. One was a pastor from a church I hadn’t heard of, wore purple skinny jeans, lived in California, and wanted to travel the world instead of settling down. One was about three times my age. Things were looking grim–just as I self-righteously told myself they would.
And then, after a week or two, there sat Chris sat . . . right in my Inbox.
He was a hard worker. He didn’t say it, but I knew it. He loved to read. He liked simple things: the outdoors, bread fresh from the oven, singing the bass line of hymns, country music. He was confident in himself and didn’t feel the need to embellish things to make himself sound good. He was who he was, and he was good with that.
And if his words were any indicator, he was LCMS too.
I totally wrote him back.
We started writing each other every day or so. A week or two later, climbing into bed, I opened an email from him and settled back to read it. In a few moments, I heard myself laugh.
I remember looking up in confusion, staring at the wall and thinking to myself, “This guy just made me laugh out loud . . . from the other side of the state. How did he do that?”
That’s when my black hole for a heart started to crumble.
My husband turned to me last night and said, “You know, in a week or two, we’ll have known each other for a whole year.”
In this day and age, I suppose that’s something. We talked about marriage early. We were engaged after four months. We got married at eight. And neither we nor our parents had a problem with that.
We were in our late 20s. We both prayed for a faithful, hard-working, pious spouse who wanted faithful, hard-working, pious children one day. We’re country people. We read. We love being Lutheran. We like to laugh.
And I just plain love being around him.
There is no magic bullet for online dating, but I do believe the way in which you write your profile matters. (Even the Wall Street Journal confirms this.)
Write succinctly. Be honest. Don’t bare your soul. Never, ever bring up exes. (That goes for the first date too. And the second. And maybe the third if you can manage it.)
Write about what you love, because what you love, you know. Don’t use pictures of yourself from three years ago. Be honest in your expectations.
Be willing to think big. (I know you think you can discern a man’s character from looking at a picture of him, but this just in: You can’t always.) Remember that going for a cup of coffee and some conversation won’t kill you. Don’t give up if Ms. Right hasn’t showed up in 3.87 seconds.
But then know too that I was wrong: Online dating isn’t for those who need help. It’s just for people who didn’t find their spouse at a Concordia. Or who don’t live in an area teeming with Lutherans. Or who don’t want to be alone forever. Or who are just brave enough to give it a try.
I love my husband like crazy. I can’t wait for him to come home from work. I’m eager to hear about his day. I’m learning to cook because I want him to know, even if it’s just through supper, that I am grateful for all he does for me. I’m thankful for his extreme patience, because it teaches me to chill out too. I adore his laugh.
And I’m thankful for eHarmony too, for that goofy little website that introduced me to him during a time period when I was convinced there were no good men left.
So, to all you ladies who have asked: Yes, try online dating. And as you do, be strong. Stand up straight. Prepare yourself . . . because the Lord may choose to have you meet someone through the Internet and He may not.
But whether He gives you a husband or not, whether He introduces you to your future husband through a website or whether He does’t, remember this: Your hope and joy don’t come from a guy on eHarmony. They don’t even come from a guy you meet on the street.
They come from Christ.
The contentment you know in Christ and the ability you have to bear your crosses? Those “are His gift to you, to see you through all the blessings and challenges of living the single life. The joy isn’t a momentary, fleeting kind of excitement.”
No, “It’s an enduring comfort, one that He gives you fully and constantly, the comfort that will see you through the lonely nights and the frustrating mornings, the good days and the ok ones. It is His joy, molded and shaped perfectly to fit exactly what you need, and it is all for you.”*
Ok, it’s your turn. Link up or leave us a comment, telling your story of how the Lord brought you and your spouse together, whether it was on eHarmony, in high school or *sigh* at a Concordia.
*final paragraphs from my upcoming book Hello. My Name Is Single. to be released June 2014 from Concordia Publishing House