There are stories of “instant connections” throughout Faith, Hope & Love’s archive of success stories, so much so that one might think it’s almost a prerequisite to have a certain feeling the moment you set eyes (or e-mails) on a person that they’re the one for you. But Kristen and Kevin are an example of a couple who had what they both term “a bad first date” and yet are engaged to be married today.
Patient persistence is a common theme throughout their story. 24-year old Kristen had experiences with online dating, and while she wasn’t jaded by the experience, nor was she filled with enthusiasm. 26-year old Kevin’s approach was the same. But Kristen saw the CatholicMatch ad in her church bulletin and decided it was worth a try, while Kevin got the nudge from his dad.
It was Valentine’s Day 2010 that Kristen joined the site and appropriately enough she made the online connection with Kevin that very day. They went to phone conversations within a week, and less than two weeks passed before he made the hour-plus drive from Columbus, Ohio into the northwest part of the state where Kristen lived so they could spend a day together.
“It turned out to be the most awkward date either of us has ever been on,” Kristen said. She found him to actually be more attractive than his profile picture, which immediately made her more nervous. “There were constant periods of silence,” she added. “Eye contact was terrible and it wasn’t any easier eating in front of each other…Silently I thought, ‘no way is this guy ever going to call me.’”
But Kevin did call, and he did so on his way home from the date. “Yeah it was a bad date, Kevin recalled. “But there was something…that was different. I wanted to give it another chance.” And that second chance proved to be everything.”
Kristen sees an important lesson that others can take heart from and it’s the importance of realistic expectations on a first date. Everyone is nervous, and with different personality types it can lend itself to silence. The instant connection might not be instant. She would advise that “unless he’s crazy or has complete different values than you”, to be open to where things might go.
Where things are going for Kristen and Kevin is a wedding in May 2012. Since that second date went so much better, Kevin has come to visit almost every weekend, and as he grew to know her family, was welcomed into their home. It hasn’t always been easy. Kevin isn’t a natural phone talker and they’ve had to work at a relationship where they’re apart during the week.
Kevin’s marriage proposal this past New Year’s Eve was one to remember. They began by celebrating the New Year “around the world.” When it hit midnight in Italy, for example, they hoisted pasta and wine, and did similar toasts to other countries. Then Kevin threw a curveball from out of nowhere, and began talking nervously about his “reservations” about the relationship. Then they went out to eat and Kevin’s constant disappearances from the table made Kristen wonder more about those “reservations.” As it turns out, he was stepping out to give his parents’ directions to Kristen’s family’s house, where a midnight celebration of their engagement would take place.
“Though I gave him a pretty hard time for his claims about ‘reservations’, I gladly accepted his proposal at midnight in my parents’ basement as we watched the ball drop, with the rest of the families waiting excitedly upstairs. And the rest is history.”
Indeed it is. And the best is still yet to come. “Kevin and I have a great spiritual foundation- and we believe that is what will carry us through to the end. Not our attraction, not our similar interests, not the fun we have (because all those things sometimes fade) – but our faith,” Kristen told CatholicMatch. In the end, that’s what it’s all about.