Engagement Stories: Bethany & Chris
One Wednesday afternoon in November 2017, I received a Facebook message request from a guy named Chris Murphy. Because I get business inquiries on Facebook, I opened and read the message even though I didn’t know him. I was quite surprised to read that he was a fellow Boundless reader and had seen my comment on Boundless’ Facebook post about an article about church.
In this message, Chris told me a bit about himself. He also said he had looked at my Facebook profile, and it seemed I was a nice Christian young lady and, if I was interested, he’d like to get to know me. I appreciated his honesty and openness. So I replied with a short message, letting him know I was busy teaching piano lessons right then but I’d write more later. He immediately replied. I waited a day or two before replying, and again he replied right away. I made a quick, wrong assumption that he was desperate, and I wondered if I should even give him a chance. But I kept replying, and I later learned he always answers messages right away and was just being his normal self, not desperate.
Because I was in a busy season of life, I wasn’t sure how much time I wanted to dedicate to this possible relationship. Just three weeks prior to Chris’ first message I had informed my employer that I’d be leaving my job at the end of the year. My music business was growing and everything was moving along really well. Because I was branching out into the self-employed world, my word for this season was “faith.” I was learning to trust God to take care of me and to direct my steps. And maybe, just maybe, God was using this interruption named Chris to grow my faith!
After a few more messages, Chris said he’d like to take me out on a date. I really didn’t want him to drive three hours each way to take me to dinner if I didn’t feel there was any possibility of a second date. I also didn’t think I knew him well enough and didn’t like the idea of going out with a complete stranger. But I didn’t want to cut it off completely, just because I wasn’t ready yet. So I put off his invitation, saying I thought there was more we could get to know about each other before meeting in person. I think he took it as a challenge because we spent a lot of time writing many pages of messages and answering lists of questions! During that time I also read Lisa Anderson’s book, “The Dating Manifesto.” Finally, I decided it was time to meet Chris.
I knew a first meeting would be awkward, so on my way to meet Chris, I asked God to make the date and relationship feel natural if it was to continue. Our first date was eight and a half hours long, which included lunch, walking a couple of trails at Desoto State Park in Alabama and dinner at Ruby Tuesday. The initial meeting wasn’t awkward and the day flowed nicely. By midafternoon we had scheduled to get together the very next weekend. When we parted ways that evening, he waved and said, “Bye, I love you!” and was promptly horrified. The look on his face was priceless! I, on the other hand, was on cloud nine. He had said it so naturally — it was an answer to my prayer.
On our second date, we discussed the possibility of a relationship and what the future might look like. I was trying not to read between the lines but I also didn’t want to ask, “So, are we dating?!” After dinner, he mentioned he had seen a picture I posted on Facebook of my nephew wearing a onesie that said, “My mom is taken but my aunt is single and fun!” Chris looked at me and said, “I think you’re fun, but I wouldn’t call you single.” I was happy for the clarification of our status and excited to officially be dating Chris.
Because of the 200 miles between us and the differences in our schedules, several weeks went by before we met each other’s family. During this time, we spent most evenings on FaceTime. We are very thankful for technology! We also decided we’d try to get together at least once every two weeks — either he’d come to me, I’d go to him or we’d meet in the middle.
On Good Friday we met at his parents’ house to spend Easter weekend together with his family. When I arrived, he took me to Oak Mountain State Park in Birmingham, Alabama. We were walking on a trail to a waterfall, when Chris stopped and told me he had a question for me. Then he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said, “Yes, I will!” And he gave me the most beautiful ring!
We’re now preparing for our wedding in September in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and we’re so thankful God chose Boundless to bring us together!
Are you engaged or newly married? We’d love to hear your story and how Boundless was helpful to you along the way! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.