Marriage Prep

Engagement Stories: Crystal & Dale

Our story of immeasurably more. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory…for ever and ever!” (Ephesians 3:20).

One YearEvery story has a cast of characters, so let me introduce you to ours: In the leading role you have Dale who is a 38-year-old engineer from southern Mississippi. In an equally important, supporting role you have Crystal who is a 32-year-old accountant from southern Alabama. Now that you know our basics, allow me to tell you a little more about our backgrounds and how we ended up here. Neither of us had ever been in a relationship. We were both faithfully serving in our own churches, but there was a longing in each of our hearts that had remained unfulfilled — for marriage.

I, Crystal, desired what some would term an “old-fashioned” dating/courting relationship and had even been told I was crazy to wait for something more. With each passing year it seemed easier to believe they were right: Maybe I was crazy. But my shrinking faith was still big enough to keep me holding on, waiting on the Lord.

I had tried online dating sites about a year prior and found that it had become an obsession — dare I say an idol. It’s all I could think about, finding that someone. I felt the Lord convicting me, “This isn’t what true surrender and trust looks like My daughter.” I wrestled with this for a couple of weeks. I knew I needed to shut it down, realign my priorities and give back to the Lord the throne of my heart, but honestly, I didn’t want to hand it over. After all, what if I handed over the pen for the Lord to write my love story, and He didn’t write one? Surrender happened; I shut it down, deleted my profile and inactivated my account. It was time to get serious and refocus on my relationship with God. And that’s just what I did.

Meanwhile, over in Mississippi, Dale was seeking the Lord’s will for his hearts’ desire for marriage. Enter Boundless. Dale has always been a shy guy, not one to approach people, especially women. One day he came across the series of articles titled “Biblical Dating: How It’s Different From Modern Dating.” These challenged him to rise up as a man of God and to take the initiative in being the pursuer. And that is exactly what he did.

At this point, months had passed since I had deleted my profile. I started to pray about reentering the online dating world, and it was with great hesitation that I jumped back in. I didn’t want to find myself in the same vicious cycle I had been in months prior. I created a new profile. Literally the next night I received a message from Dale. I did what any girl would do; I immediately went to check out his profile. The last line of it basically said, “I won’t be the first to message you, so if you see something that interests you then, please send me a message.” I was stumped and flattered all at the same time. He had messaged me. I hesitantly messaged him back.

The next night he asked me if I wanted to meet that weekend. “Um, no, I don’t. We JUST started chatting, and I’m not so sure about you. Your profile says that you aren’t the first one to show interest, and you did. You also said you are super shy, and this doesn’t sound super shy. This sounds very forward. Maybe we can message some more and meet next weekend if we still feel good about it.”

He agreed and explained his shift in thinking and even included a link to these articles that had changed him. I could not go to sleep that night without reading them all. I was amazed. What they said lined up perfectly with the desires of my heart, and here was a man who subscribed to the same thoughts! The next week of chatting and getting to know one another flew by as quickly as the butterflies were flying in my stomach that Friday when we met for the first time.

Nerves were definitely in play that night. I remember getting in his car and him literally shaking while entering the address of our destination into the GPS. It was at that point that I just wanted to reach over and give him a big hug, bless his heart!

We had a good time, but neither of us were sure about what was going on. There were no “fireworks”; where were the fireworks that Hollywood promised? As on any first date, there were awkward moments. There was babbling on out of nerves on my part, and it probably wasn’t the best idea to spend over six hours together on a first date. We left each other that night knowing that we had both met an incredible person but unsure of the Lord’s purpose in our meeting.

We continued to seek the Lord’s leading and purpose in our paths crossing and continued to talk the next week and decided to go out again. Neither of us could shake it — the Lord was up to something, and we have been together ever since.

I am so thankful that neither of us just gave up after that first date. I’m thankful for a man who stepped up at the Lord’s urging to “man up,” take initiative and pursue me. One who hasn’t stopped pursuing me even after he “put a ring on it” nearly two months ago. One who seeks to please the Lord in his own life and in our relationship and isn’t afraid to lead no matter how hard that may be at times.

We both felt the Lord calling us to save our first kiss for our wedding day, and I’m not going to lie, I’ve struggled with this on several different occasions. It hasn’t been easy. It’s not that we think there is anything wrong with kissing or that it’s sinful. It’s just that the Lord placed it on our hearts months ago, and we long to be obedient. We believe that the boundaries the Lord places in our lives are always for our own good and protection, and we are thankful that even when we didn’t understand why, that we were obedient regardless and can now enter into our marriage knowing that we have saved ourselves for one another and that we have followed the Lord’s leading and He has indeed helped us to keep our purity intact.

We have grown in so many ways and witnessed the Lord working in and through us over the last 17 months; there is truly a holy excitement for our future! I can’t imagine my life without Dale! And I absolutely cannot wait for our wedding day in November and to build a marriage that will prayerfully point people to the One who loves us more than we could ever imagine!

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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 editor@boundless.org. For more stories like this one, go to Engagement Stories.