Doug and I (Gwen) exchanged e-mails for the first time in December,
2002, after I browsed his profile just to see if it was true that he
e-mailed every person who browsed him. He had written in the forums
that he did this as a means of meeting people, in response to the
common question/complaint that "I’m not meeting anybody on this site!"
Well, of course once he had e-mailed, I had to respond so that I would
not be known as one of those who don’t even answer a simple e-mail–but
I quickly let him know that I was not interested in more than casual
e-mail support of each other, I had tried long distance relationships
already and did not believe they could work; and besides, Louisiana was
the second-to-last place on earth I would ever consider living, so if
he wasn’t free or open to moving cross country to Ohio, well . . .
yadayadayada . . .
God has a sense of humor, though, and in our
e-mails, we related so well to each other that we decided to talk by
phone, still "just as friends," with me insisting this just could not
possibly work. I even talked to him about other men I was meeting,
making sure to let him know I was not expecting anything to blossom
between us except perhaps a really great friendship!
reservations were torn apart, though, when Doug brought his kids up
north for vacation at the end of the school year, 2003. He was such a
gentleman, and so completely unpretentious, I knew without a doubt that
all those times I had ended a phone conversation thinking, "Ya know,
God, I could really grow to love that man!", had not been mere whims or
romantic daydreams. And our children got along so incredibly – we went
out a few times on dates just for us, but mostly, we spent time having
a fantastic two-family vacation, interspersed with me working serious
flex-time. By the time he went back to Louisiana 2-1/2 weeks later, we
both knew we didn’t want to see other people, but instead just wait and
see if God might have some means up His sleeve to help us bridge the
gap between Ohio and Louisiana.
We continued talking and
e-mailing, and I started insisting that he must be using some southern
redneck voodoo on me to charm and woo me. A few months later, he flew
me and my daughter down to Shreveport to spend a few weeks there and
meet his family. Again, it was an incredible time, and I became
convinced that those who say "You just know it" when you meet the right
one are absolutely right! Unfortunately, that was all the vacation time
that I had for that year, and as a church musician, I did not have any
time off on weekends, so Doug began taking long weekends up to Ohio
every 4-6 weeks.
We continued talking and e-mailing every day.
Over Thanksgiving, he proposed, and in January, 2004, we began
pre-marriage preparation. He was so cute when he proposed! He had
barely come in the door after driving sixteen hours to get there. The
kids were running in looking for my daughter and seeing what they might
find to do. He just popped a ring out of his pocket, got down on one
knee, and said, "I can’t wait another minute to ask you this. Will you
marry me?" (I said yes . . . )
We were tied up for awhile
waiting on the annulment process with Doug, but thank God, that has all
been resolved, and while perhaps we should have waited before we
started thinking seriously about marriage, I also believe God is the
spark of all love. There is no doubt in my mind that only God could
have provided the means for Doug and I to have such a blessed courtship
and a blessed beginning, bringing us together from opposite parts of
the country yet blending our families and our lives as though it were
always meant to be. It was so much better than anything I could have
arranged or even conceived of on my own, that I knew God had to be the
author. I’m so thankful to Him for this wonderful man who I am blessed
to have now as my husband!
We were married in July, in a small
ceremony with my family and a few close friends in Ohio, and again in
December, at the mission church Doug has attended with his family for
years. Both of my children relocated with me, and Doug’s children are
with us a large part of the time. Marriage and relocation have been a
fabulous adventure, and somehow, God has transformed this
"second-to-last-place-on-earth" I thought I would ever choose to live
into a home where I feel I’ve always belonged!