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Engagement Stories: John & Kelly

Kelly Bisby pic

We met online.

It’s important, for me at least, that I get that out on the table. This may not seem like a big deal in a world of Facebook and MySpace and Twitter and eHarmony and the hundreds of other social networking sites available at the click of a mouse; but for me, a modest daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher, this is a big deal. In fact, my fiancé and I debated whether or not we should actually tell anyone we met online. “What about saying we met at Starbucks,” I suggested, alluding to our first date at the only Starbucks in my hometown of Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Ultimately, after quite a few lengthy discussions, we decided to be honest and open about our online story. It has turned into an interesting conversational tool that allows both John and I to share our faith with others, since the first messages we sent to each other focused on our standards of Christian living (and just for the record, I sent the first message).

And that’s how we began. Over the next few months we wrote over 75 pages worth of e-mails and messages back and forth to one another about our religious backgrounds, our hopes for the future, our thoughts about friendships, relationships, and co-workers, and even what it means to be a part of a Christ-centered marriage. Many of our conversations focused on Boundless articles. I would tell John about Candice Watters’ views on marriage, and John would respond in kind with suggestions and ideas discussed in one of John Thomas’ articles. We both grew quite a bit just from reading and responding to the issues discussed on the Boundless website. I also wrote in to Lisa Anderson and Candice Watters about the relationship, and they responded to my letter on air! I truly feel that Boundless has encouraged and educated us more than we could ever put into words.

Four months after that first e-mail exchange, on Valentine’s Day of 2010, John presented me with a complete collection of our letters, chats, and messages, printed out in matching fonts and bound in a beautiful notebook.

It was in that collection of letters that I would find, less than one month later, a marriage proposal hidden in the final entry of the book. He had hand-written a letter to me, with instructions to keep it in the back of the notebook. One day, as John was over at my house, he asked for the letter. He then pulled out a matching sheet of paper with tiny squares cut out. He asked that I lay this sheet over the letter, and I did. The squares corresponded to the letters “Will you marry me?” I looked at him, kneeling beside me with a sapphire ring that he later explained was chosen “because I want people to know that I see you as someone different: ultimately as a princess. You are a child of God, royalty. If we have God at the center of our relationship, we should be transparent and allow ourselves to reflect only him. We should have to go through God to find each other.”

I said yes.

John and I want our marriage to be completely Christ-centered. With the help of our pastor, our parents, our friends, we feel confident that we can succeed. We know that love is not something that “happens” to a person; rather, love is a choice made each and every day, regardless of hurt feelings or frustrating circumstances or emotional barriers. But, like the Song of Solomon explains in chapter 3, “I found the one my heart loves,” and I look forward to sharing my life with him.

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Do you have an engagement story of your own that you’d like to share? Send your photo and narrative to [email protected]. Please note that all stories that are selected for publication may be edited for clarity and privacy and become the property of Focus on the Family.

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