How did you meet? What was your first date like? Give us all the details!
Makayla and Ryan crossed paths via the ChristianMingle app on May 4, 2016. Makayla liked Ryan’s profile as she was looking through the potential match section on the app. Ryan received Makayla’s smile and immediately responded with a message. Not a day has gone by since then that they have not sent a message, talked or spent time together. Funnily enough, Makayla was actually leaving on May 12th to go see her family in Texas for three weeks, so they actually exchanged super long, traditional letters via the messaging feature on ChristianMingle (and also later via Messenger on Facebook) for an ENTIRE MONTH before meeting! They both believed in purposeful dating (that is, dating someone with the intent for marriage), and they knew it would take some time getting to know one another before they could discern that. The month of letter writing gave them the space to really dig into some deep topics of faith, beliefs about marriage/family/spouse roles, dreams, etc., all before beginning the in-person conversations.

As the time neared for Makayla to return to Pennsylvania for her summer internship program, she just kept praying that if God wanted them to meet that He would place the initiative on Ryan’s heart to ask her out when she got back. To her great elation, he did not even wait until she got back to the state! In the final days before she had to come back to Pennsylvania, Ryan asked Makayla on their first date, and so the journey really began to take off.

The first date was intimidating! They knew a lot about each other, but it was still hard to believe it could all be true! What would the other person REALLY be like, in person? What would their voice sound like? Can he make me laugh? Will she want to go out with me again after this? So many questions, and yet all there was to do was to jump into the unknown. Walking into that coffee shop and walking toward each other was pretty surreal! Ryan was a lot taller than Makayla had expected, and she immediately loved his voice; and Ryan was equally thrilled to finally get to put a voice and laugh to the smile he had drawn to since the very first time he saw Makayla’s pictures on ChristianMingle. That first date was amazing, despite the nerves! They kept it low-key and went to a local coffee shop just to talk and get to know the other person. It was amazing to see their letters come to life as they spent over two hours talking before Ryan had to leave for work. They both left completely amazed at what God had done in crossing their paths, and finally being able to really see a potential future with each other.

Makayla: “I walked away completely stunned! I actually thought there was no way he could ever ask me out again, because I felt like it was still too good to be true and that he was out of my league! The text he sent me just 30 minutes after we said goodbye changed all of that, though, and I was beyond excited that he felt the same way I did and wanted to see me again! Little did I know I had just gone on my first date with the man who I would be marrying just over a year later!”

Ryan: “I walked away totally thrilled that she was everything and more from her letters. I too thought there was a chance now that she had met me, she would never go out with me again! But still, I felt really good about the date and it was the first time I was able to think, ‘Wow. I could actually see myself dating this girl.’ Of course, I still didn’t know at that time that only a few months later I would be saying, ‘Wow. I really see myself marrying this girl!’ It has been an awesome ride!”

Describe the moment you knew it was true love!
Makayla: “I knew that I could grow to deeply love and cherish this man by our fourth date, which happened to be on the Fourth of July, but it wasn’t until the day I first found myself suddenly missing Ryan in the middle of my work day in August that I realized, ‘OH-MY-GOODNESS! I actually love this man! Like a lot!’ It was a scary realization for one who is afraid of getting hurt. I knew after about three months of dating that I could see myself marrying Ryan, but when he got back from his month work trip to New York in September 2016 and we finally said, ‘I love you,’ then I knew I wanted a forever.”

Ryan: “I knew I loved Makayla mid-NY trip. It was actual torture having to be away for so long, and only getting to see her on a screen for a month! I was having to deal with a lot of feelings I had not had to feel in a while, and in this new and redeemed Christian framework it was all the more vivid. I still struggled a lot with sharing my feelings with her, but one thing I did have to come to accept was that I missed her like crazy and I knew it was because I loved her. After I got back from New York, we finally said ‘I love you’ and it was in the weeks that followed that I began to really think seriously about marriage being in our near future.

What advice would you give other ChristianMingle members?
Makayla: “I had been on ChristianMingle three previous times, over a three-year stretch. Each time I met nice people, had great convos and even made some friends. Looking back now, I always tell others who are trying online dating: 1) Be cautious; 2) Be open (this is a chance for Godly community as well. Be a good steward of that. Reach out and encourage others, pray for them and be willing to have a conversation with the reasonable requests that come through your inbox); 3) Give up the control (don’t try to force something to happen. Be willing to wait patiently.); 4) Be in prayer (i.e. online dating is not this tool you use to force the relationship you desire to come into existence. God still has a hand in all parts of your life and He wants what is best for you. Had I settled for the first few guys I met I would have never got to experience the extravagant gift of Ryan’s love. There was nothing wrong with the guys I met first, they just were not the person God had in store for me. Remain willing to ultimately submit to the Father’s will in all things, so you do not end up trying to take something that is not yours.); and 5) Be a LIGHT! (Ryan and I set a lot of boundaries for ourselves from the start. We had dated in more worldly ways in the past, and we knew that was not the way to pursue a Godly relationship or future with someone. We actually did not even hold hands until about five months after we started dating, and it also came after he had met my family and we knew we definitely saw marriage in our near future. As hard as it was for both of us, and as much critiques we received from more worldly friends, our choices were a witness and testimony to those around us about a radically different love! A love that dies to self and puts the other person and their well-being first. A love that submits to the Father in all things and seeks to honor Him with its choices. Ryan’s ability to pursue me in conversation and friendship and acts of service first and foremost is truly why I believe we are where we are today. Had we jumped into this putting our flesh first, we would have broken up within weeks of first meeting. The habits of self-control and sacrifice we have started in our dating life will carry over to our marriage as well, in staying faithful to one another and being willing to put in the work to continue to pursue each other.)”

Ryan: “I would say to be patient. I had been on for two weeks and in frustration was literally about to cancel my account when I got Makayla’s smile. Give it time. Sign up for at least a three-month membership and be willing to stay on for that time. Just because you meet some bad matches doesn’t mean that every person on there is the same. Give yourself some time to cross paths with more people and hold more conversations. Also, have people on the journey with you, like prayer partners and accountability partners who are keeping your expectations and activity in check. God may not desire for you to meet your future spouse online, so don’t expect that just because you are praying He will have you meet someone. Be willing to hear Him and not to be too disappointed if He chooses a different vehicle through which you may meet your spouse. If you try to force something via online dating, you will just end up hurt and dissatisfied. God can use the vehicle of online dating, just like He can use just about any area of our life, so be open to all He has for you and be willing to wait for His very best.”

Did you find love online? Submit your story to share how you met your soulmate on ChristianMingle.

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