how i met my husband...
I have resisted online dating for more than ten years… I remember setting up an account and then promptly deleting it at least three times. But Covid made me more open to more alternative options. So I signed up for EHarmony. I had been on the site a couple of months and had one or two disappointments with men who were obviously going in the opposite direction that I was in life. Then, I came across a black and white picture of a ruggedly handsome man; I scrolled through his profile to make sure that he met my first level of criteria (You know… loves God, wants kids and is preferably taller than me!) and then pressed a like heart on the picture. By this time, I was pretty done with the site; I was discouraged and almost embarrassed at myself and began residing more each day that maybe this just wasn’t for me. A day or so later, I got a message from that handsome man… His name was Samuel. I quickly scrolled back through his profile to remember why I even liked his picture, and I thought, “well, I hope this guy is for real!” I spent the initial part of our chatting trying my best to scare this dude away.
I was attracted to him, we had high scores on our compatibility, and his profile was very nice… but I was done and not having the games or crazy that I had seen on this site so far. So, I figured I might as well get rid of him quick.
I sent messages that were basically small books of info; I had crafted out ten(10) things to know about me, ten(10) things that I am looking for/want in a mate… the works. And these lists were not surface level. They were deep and a bit raw. I was painfully honest about who I was and that I wasn’t here to play a game. Samuel took them in stride… he called them “the Epistles of Kaliyah”, a window to see who I was and what I was about, and as we talked about the things on these lists, he didn’t get scared… actually, he got more interested. And that was exciting, but I was so cautious, and I was just waiting for something not to line up or to set off the red flags. But there wasn’t anything! He asked me if we could have a video date. Up to this point, every video date men had asked me on, I had said “no”, mainly because this part made me very uncomfortable, even if I had a chat with this person for a long while, I didn’t know them, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But with Samuel, for some reason, I just felt more comfortable, and I wanted to give him a chance. So we set a time. That first date was fun, a touch of awkward, but also comfortable and so lovely. He was straight forward, charming and authentic, that evening we talked about trying this long-distance thing, but really with the intention that we wanted to see if we were going to get married. We talked for a few hours, and I agreed that I would be his girlfriend. When I was getting ready to hang up, he said that he would say something that may be strange, I remember thinking… “oh no, he’s going to say ‘I love you!’” and yep, that’s what he did… but he explained that it wasn’t packed as a feeling, but that love was his intention, TO LOVE ME! I was surprised and I felt like I should be more weirded out by this, but it was genuine and just a simple statement. No pressure for me to say it back, but he wanted to state how he intended to treat me!
The next day I went running with my mom and a group of my best friends in Beijing. I ended up walking with my mom the entire time that day and told her about the date and this really adorable software engineer that lived in Germany. As we all walked away from the running track that day, I just simply told my friend Nastia that I had a boyfriend now. This released a series of screams and exasperations from Nastia, who promptly got the entire group up to date. They all asked a bunch of questions, and as we walked, they got enough info to start looking this guy up on every form of social media we could think to get our hands-on. The next day or so, they started digging and kept just finding nice things! He was exactly who he said he was, this lovely man who was just smitten with me!
Friends and siblings on both sides started digging and messaging, and it was a full dive into anything they could learn about these people that lived across the world but seemed perfect for each other! Samuel continued to tell me every day that he loved me. And by the second week, I couldn’t seem to come up with another word that actually described how I felt about this man, other than love.
We started setting up times to meet families pretty quickly. We first met up with my parents. And I was nervous but really excited… I sat on the other side of the room out of the video frame while Samuel and my parents talked. And they had a pleasant conversation about a lot of things, but when they were kind of wrapping up, my dad asked Samuel if he had any questions for them as my parents. And he just came out and asked my dad if he had his permission and blessing to marry me! by now, I knew he was going to ask me to marry him… but this was like his first meeting with my parents!! But he asked, and MY DAD SAID YES! It was happening so fast, but it seemed just perfect and so normal. God’s hands were all over everything. I just continued to pray for wisdom, and if there was anything that God would show both of us right away!
I knew we were going to get married, but we were really trying to wait until we met in person to get engaged. Samuel was planning to come to China to visit me for the October holiday, which would be a perfect time. But Covid continued to ruin and delay, and the closer we got to October, the more we knew it wasn’t going to be possible for Samuel to come. As we knew it was utterly impossible, we started talking timelines. My contract with the school was up for renewal, and that would make for a perfect engagement time. One evening we discussed it all, and we began discussing why I found the actual proposal so important since we already knew we were going to get married. But I still wanted him to ask. So plainly and without much ceremony, he asked, “OK, will you marry me?”. I was a bit surprised, but I was worried he would think I was fishing or pressuring for the actual proposal. But Samuel continued, saying how he always intended to marry me and always loved me, and there was nothing more to it! I’ll admit I cried, and I, of course, said yes!