“Faith, Family, and Football” is what she said to me on one of our first dates. In that order, these were the things that were most important to her in life. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would meet my best friend and future wife half way across the country, much less on a dating website, and hit it off so well that I would be prepared to pop the question in the first six months of dating.

Family, is actually the real reason we met. Ironically, each one of our parents, her dad and my mom, both pushed us individually to sign up for ChristianMingle. Alina was watching the San Francisco 49ers football game on TV at home with her dad, like they do for every 49ers game, and one of ChristianMingle’s commercials was shown on the TV. Her father, who usually doesn’t bring up her dating life, eloquently mentioned to Alina that she should try the website. He implied that she’s at the age where she should start to find a man! For a very loving father who initially may not have wanted to give up his only daughter so quickly, I soon entered the pictured and am now making him eat his own words!

Even though we don’t always like to admit it, our parents really do know what’s best. I was a little more thick-headed because I think my mom mentioned to me several times that I should go on ChristianMingle. She liked the concept and had heard other success stories from friends. I grew up in a strong, Christian family and have a great relationship with my mom, however at this time, I had grown tired of continuing to take dating advice from her. Eventually, I gave ChristianMingle a shot, and my first date ended up being with Alina, this beautiful multicultural women who impressed me more with her intellect and conversation rather than her looks. She kept talking about her faith: how she became a Christian, how important her faith was to her, how she takes care of and is a provider for her elderly parents, and how she helped finance her younger brother’s college education. After hearing all of this I remember thinking to myself that this girl was unlike any other girl I’ve ever encountered.

It wasn’t love at first sight because we both were a little apprehensive as to how we met, but things did progress quickly. Alina turned out to be exactly the type of girl I was looking for. I always had a hard time describing my ideal woman when asked, but just like all good things… you know when you know, and that’s how I felt after my first few dates with Alina. She’s incredibly smart, funny, and is the most driven person I’ve ever met. It’s not by mistake she’s become so successful in her career at such a young age. She also has a very endearing charm to her that I refer to as her “spunk.” This spunk is what causes me to thank God every day for bringing her into my life, and at the same time also sometimes drive me crazy when we get into an argument. Her quick wit, intellect, and passion for what’s most important to her (faith, family, football) will always prevail when in any type of debate or in-depth conversation — whether it be with me or someone she had just met for the first time.

While family and football is what brought us together, our faith is what will ultimately make us last. I now have a partner who supports and encourages me to develop a deeper relationship with God. I used to go to church whenever it was convenient for me; I now attend every Sunday in addition to the small groups I’m involved with during the week. We continue to receive God’s favor daily as we also just recently purchased our first home. Alina, won’t officially move in until after the wedding, but we couldn’t be more excited to have a home to start our family in. After recently completing a seventeen-week marriage counseling course, further validating that we are perfect for each other, I’m getting ready to walk down the aisle in a few short months to marry my best friend. We’re so blessed with God’s love and are encouraged to be able to share our story in hopes that we can witness to others through our experiences.

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