Success Stories: 2013: Kayla & Carter
Although we agree on most of the facts, it turns out that our perspectives during our dating relationship have been a little different. God has worked to bring us together, and we want to include our thoughts along the way to show how much he has worked on our hearts. We first met through ChristianMingle.com on February 13. According to the website's matching system, we were a 100% match!
I was on ChristianMingle to find my wife. I had not had much luck dating lately and felt (or at least hoped) that God had put me in this period of my professional life to give me time to find "her". I first contacted Kayla thinking she looked like a great match. Plus she was quite cute! I sent a simple message, not wanting to sound too over-eager but also wanting to add that personal touch. I guess it worked.
Every day I would look forward to getting home from work, hoping to have received a new message from Kayla. I enjoyed getting to know this wonderful girl, her heart for God, and how well it seemed we fit together. I wouldn't say it was love at first site, but it was close. Even before actually meeting her, I thought that this may very well be the girl I marry. I would find new things to keep the conversation going. I would add in ImaginIff questions or little games or anything else just to know more about this girl.
I knew pizza was one of her favorite foods and that we both liked games, so a pizza place sounded like a good idea. I also thought we had already hit it off pretty well, so planning both a lunch and a supper with a play in the evening and an undisclosed activity in the afternoon did not seem like too much. I was pretty sure we were not going to get tired of each other any time soon. Turns out I was right.
My first thought upon seeing her was, "Wow, she's shorter than I thought." We quickly started having a lot of fun and laughter.
I was surprised to see her competitive nature in the games we were playing. But don't think for a moment that I ever let her win. We had great fun running around the laser tag, shooting hoops, running into each other with bumper cars, and a very uncoordinated game of DDR. We worked up a sweat, but not from nerves, just from the intense but friendly competition.
Before our date, I looked up website after website of "get to know you" type questions and then put them on strips of paper to be pulled from a hat. The rules of the game state that we alternate drawing questions from the hat and asking each other, but then have to answer the question ourselves. Each question could start entire conversations, and there was no need (or expectation) that we would get through all the questions in a single date. It simply allowed us to always have something to talk about and to continue to get to know each other more.
I just loved talking with her! We have so much fun together all the time. I was a bit sorry to have kept her awake for so long, but don't regret our time together for a moment.
I'm not certain when I first knew "for sure" that Kayla was going to be my wife, but I had a pretty good idea from the very first time we messaged each other. I remember Kayla saying that she would want to date for at least a year and then have at least a year's engagement before getting married. I knew I would be willing to patiently wait that long, but had my doubts that it was going to take that long to win her heart. The more I have prayed over our relationship the more God has given me peace that marriage is the direction that He is leading us.
I was on ChristianMingle just to meet people. I was not in it for a serious, exclusive relationship. After being on there only a month, I got a message from a RED. That scared me, actually. For those of you who do not know the personality color-code system, Reds are power-driven. This is the exact opposite of what I wanted. I am a Blue, meaning I am analytical and orderly. I was afraid of being dominated by a Red personality.
I never responded to a single other contact from a Red. Fortunately for him, Carter did not use one of the pre-programmed messages. He actually wrote his own message. Though simple, it was enough to show that he wasn't going to slack off and that he would put forth some effort.
Immediately, our e-mail conversations took off. We began sending e-mails back and forth almost daily, and most of those were about three pages long. Our relationship quickly grew as we got to know each other even before we actually met.
I, too, was very excited to get home to see if I had received an e-mail. In fact, if I hadn't gotten an e-mail, I would go ahead and get offline--that was the only thing I wanted to get on to find. I don't know how many times I stayed up past midnight on school nights to write Carter an e-mail, finding new ways to keep him interested. I loved reading his e-mails because he made me laugh and seemed to genuinely care about me as a person. And I cared about getting to know him.
One night, I was having a really hard time staying awake while driving. I am always in bed long before 1am. I had not been on the road long, but doubted I would be able to stay awake long enough to make the three-hour drive. Then I got a phone call and sleepiness turned to excitement. Carter did a great job of keeping me awake, talking about silly stuff and laughing with me, making the drive seem like an enjoyable time instead of a struggle to get through. Even after arriving at my grandparents' house, we kept talking for another 30 minutes just because we didn't want to let each other go. After finally going into my grandparents' house and telling Grandma that Carter had kept me company the whole way, she said, "Wow, he must really like you!" That's when I realized that he was actually pursuing me.
Our first date was on March 2, two weeks after our first messages. Coming from Branson and Joplin, we met in the middle in Springfield at 11:30. Our date lasted until 7. Seven in the morning the next day, that is.
When he called me to ask me on the first date, the only thing I could think to say was, "I'm so excited! I'm so excited!" I'm glad he didn't think I was a freak and call back to cancel at that point. Over the phone we had set up a few details, but I was really looking forward to the surprise parts of our date. All I wanted to talk about in the next few e-mails was date night, but I refrained because I wanted the surprise Then I received an e-mail titled "Our First Date" and I actually got upset that he was going to tell me the details. At the end of the e-mail he wrote, "Date details below" and I almost didn't read them because I still wanted to be surprised Turns out he was just clarifying the details of when and where to meet and the time of the Improv we were going to, but still had left quite a bit of mystery.
The pizza place we went to has a pizza buffet and a video game arcade. Each of the dining rooms is themed, and we chose the drive-in theater style room and watched a movie. After enjoying some good food, we entered the arcade and found out that each of us has a competitive nature. Air hockey and the go-carts were particular favorites.
Through our e-mails and instant messaging conversations I found out a few of Carter's favorite things and put together a picnic basket of these things. I baked mint chocolate brownies, got a bag of sunflower seeds, along with some bananas. When I first saw Carter, I thought he was wearing a suit jacket and I felt really under-dressed I also noticed how tall he was and thought we looked like an odd couple. I loved the themed rooms, and the movie playing on the side allowed us to both have conversation and have a filler for breaks in conversation. Our first game was some space game and aliens kept popping up that we had to shoot. I kept thinking, "Be brave, Kayla. Be brave." I won the go-cart race and one of our three games of air hockey.
The afternoon was a surprise. We were to go to a coffee shop and ask each other questions from a hat that Carter had prepared in advance. With over 350 questions, there was sure to be plenty to talk about as we continued to get to know each other. Unfortunately the coffee shop Carter had planned was closed, but we found another place close to our next destination.
I was so surprised by Carter's planning. He had maps of Springfield (through which he found out that I can't navigate), tons of questions, and everything else that really showed he had thought things through. I knew he really was pursuing me through his attention to these details. The little things matter to me, and he cared about those.
The questions were a great mix of silly, serious, personal, and unexpected. One question, "Describe the perfect kiss," kept getting tossed back into the hat by me--but I kept drawing it again!
Later, I felt like I was going to starve. I really liked my dish. Not easy to eat on a first date, but I do recommend it. The Improv was really funny.
The Improv was the end of our planned date. However, we were not ready to depart from each other's company. After driving back to where Kayla's car was parked at the pizza place, we continued to sit in Carter's car and just continued to talk. And talk. And talk. We worked through more of the questions in the hat, talked about life, our families, our faith, and everything else.
About 3am we didn't decide that it was time to part ways, but that it was time to find a restroom. After a quick trip to a gas station we came back to the parking lot and still continued to talk. About 5:30am we were getting hungry enough for some breakfast. We ate, still holding avid conversation the entire time. Finally about 7am we parted ways and headed home. Even at that, we held a phone conversation all the way home, if only to keep each other awake.
By the end of the night, my brain felt very overloaded by all of the things I had just learned about Carter. I enjoyed it very much and still didn't want to leave, but I knew we had to. I was sleepy by the end of it. Before leaving we made plans to meet up again the next weekend. At that point we didn't have the details, and I had no idea I would be meeting Carter's parents that next weekend.
Over the next three months we continued to meet up every weekend, spending as much free time together as possible. We have met each other's families, shared in good times, and grown together spiritually. God has been working on our hearts to prepare us for marriage.
I didn't want to date exclusively. I was loving our time spent together, but my heart was so guarded that I didn't really want to fall in love with Carter. That's part of what is so cool about our story - it was the Lord that did that. I even went on a date with a different guy--but the whole time I thought about Carter and even text him through my date with the other guy.
I remember sitting on the bed fixing my hair and I looked across the room at Carter and the Lord spoke to my heart, "This is the guy you are supposed to marry." I had been praying about him meeting my family over Easter weekend and at that time began earnestly praying about marriage. I have decided to trust Him in this, even though it doesn't entirely make sense. The Lord has told us to get married, so we are walking obediently in that.
I remember when I first brought up the conversation about us getting married in the near future. It was the first weekend in May and I was really nervous that I would scare Carter away by bringing it up so quickly, especially after we had already talked about our timeline. "Carter, I think the Lord has called us to get married."
We are constantly trying to walk in obedience to our Lord, and getting married to each other soon is one way in which we are walking in obedience to Him. We hope you have enjoyed this piece of our story so far and are glad that you are choosing to be involved in our continued journey together.
Kayla & Carter