For those of you that aren't aware, I met my husband on an online dating site, called Christiancafe.com. We were part of the first generation that took part in this "odd" way of meeting our future spouse, and it definitely had a bit of a taboo surrounding it. In fact, we didn't even attempt it until we were almost 30, because it felt... well, a little desperate? I mean, who has to resort to putting an ad out there to try to get someone to pay attention to them romantically? It makes you think of those crazy Craigslist ads, or old time newspaper ads, of creepers out looking for a good time. Well, that's what kept us from trying it for a long time. And then, at one God-appointed time, we each caved in and tried it, enticed by a free two week trial, with the hope of marriage still simmering in our bosoms (hehe, don't tell Aaron I phrased it that way). We met each other within those two weeks, and just over a year later, bam, we were married.
So, obviously it wasn't such a terrible option of finding our spouse after all. It worked out pretty stellar, in fact. I hate to only point out the good side of online dating, but my roommate at the time saw how well it worked for us, and was married less than a year later through the same avenue. She also was about 30.
I still get a weird look now and then when I tell someone I met my husband on a dating site. Some people look at me like I might go home and get raped or something. "Oh, how's that working out for you?" Even my mom was skeptical at first. She was recently visiting us here in Colorado, and we were having a big surprise birthday party for Aaron. One of my friends was getting to know my mom, and asked her, "What did you think when Melissa tried online dating?" My mom, very honestly, admitted that she thought it was strange. Truth be told, when I originally told her I'd set up an online profile, she said, "Melissa, that's not waiting on God." I don't think she'd mind me telling you that now. Obviously, God works in mysterious ways, beyond what we can comprehend.
At first Aaron was embarrassed to admit to people that we met online. He had wished we'd met in some "ordinary" way, and could just say something like, "Oh, I was fixing some furniture at a coffee shop where Melissa was singing, and the rest was history." Hehe, right. But that's not what God had planned for us. Truth be told, the site had sent me Aaron's profile as a potential match, I noticed that he stood out far and above all the other guys on there, and I sent him the first message, "Hey, I liked your profile, and thought you might like to talk?" And then I prayed that all the other guys I'd been messaging with on there would stop talking with me, and they miraculously NEVER messaged me again. (God gives us each unique signs that we need to trust Him, don't you think?)
You're probably wondering what it looked like to transition from online to actually meeting face to face, and I cover that in an article I wrote for Boundless magazine here.
Aaron and I now recognize that life after the time in college of being around concentrated groups of singles is a hard period to meet new singles. He worked with mainly males, I worked with mainly females. I only had one single guy in my church, and I wasn't interested in him. And, unless your married friends are actively introducing you to potential mates that they know, it can be a hard road to find a mate after college. So, we don't hesitate to encourage singles now that online dating is not the devil, and can actually be used for good. Of course, it isn't the fix-all. Most people's experiences don't pan out like ours, but some do. I later talked with the founder of Christiancafe.com, and he was a genuine guy that had met his wife by starting the online dating site, and found fresh fire for the cause by seeing more and more Christians coming together in this way.
Although online dating isn't the romantic way I had envisioned meeting my spouse as a little girl, I wouldn't change a thing. God took us out of our comfort zones, and brought two single, lonely people together from a distance of 813 miles to become one. We are best friends, and now each have another family to call our own, with more nieces and nephews than we could've imagined. Our first sweet little baby is on its way, and we love every aspect of having our lives intertwined. Marriage is a blessing, and, ironically, online dating proved also to a blessing.