This post was originally written for my friend Ally’s blog as a guest post. Thought it would be fun to share it here as well.
7 Steps to Finding Your Soul Mate
1. Start With A Big Pool of Possibilities
Erica and I met at the Creation Music Festival in Central PA in 1997. She had driven 3 hours from Eastern PA with her friend Kandace and I had come from Massachusetts with my friend Nate.
It was just the four of us…and 70,000 other people on a sprawling farm in the middle of nowhere gathered together to listen to mediocre music and not take showers for 5 days.
And how exactly did we meet in such a crowd? Glad you asked…
2. Include some Danger if Possible
Nate and I were walking back to our tent on the first night when all of a sudden the car parked in front of us shot into reverse, nearly removing our knee caps from our bodies.
The driver and her friend were both cute (and giggling), and suddenly we felt compelled to be servants and help them set up their tents.
They both seemed cool, but there was something about Erica that had my attention. I tried for 10 minutes to remember her name as I laid in my tent before it finally came to me. “Erica!” I said out loud, “I almost forgot her name!”
The rest of the guys told me to shut up and go to bed. So I did.
3. Mix in Some Major Obstacles
The next day Nate and I were talking with Kandace and Erica for a couple of hours when they dropped a bomb into the conversation. They were 16. What? 16!!!
Nate was 18 (not an issue), but I was 20 (an issue). “So much for that,” I whispered.
For the rest of the week the four of us still had a blast hanging out, but I figured there was no way a relationship that spanned 4 years and 315 miles would ever work.
Despite thinking I’d never see her again, Erica and I ended a fun week of hanging out together by praying that if God had more in store for us, He would make it happen.
And speaking of obstacles, we kept in touch over dial-up email and long-distance land line phone calls. If you would have tried to explain Skype to me in 1997 I would have thought you were a delusional sorcerer with a drug problem.
4. Limit your Communication
I’m doubling up on this point to make sure you understand just how difficult it was for a long-distance relationship to work 15 years ago. We had to limit ourselves to an hour on the phone every other night just so my phone bill didn’t rival my student loans.
Hanging up after 60 quick minutes was tough, but it was a necessity.
On the flip side, we learned to communicate efficiently in those first 9 months because we were paying by the minute. It’s something I think we still do a good job at (for the most part) to this day.
5. Move Your Entire Life
Nine months after we met we both knew we would spend the rest of our lives together. The only problem was that I was 6 hours away and about to graduate college without a job.
Once again God provided, this time with an interview with a Massachusetts company who “just so happened” to have an office in Pennsylvania, 25 minutes from Erica’s house.
I joined the workforce (while Erica finished her last year of high school), going right from work to her parents’ house every evening for dinner and hanging out until it was time to go back to my apartment. It was unorthodox on a bunch of levels, but it worked for us.
6. Have Her Dad Say “No”
I asked Erica’s dad for her hand in marriage during her senior year of high school and despite the fact that he liked me, he told me he wanted us to wait.
It seems reasonable now, but at the time it was tough news for us to take because we both knew what we wanted. Nonetheless, we told him we would wait just for his sake, and he was happy with our decision (at least somebody was).
He was so happy, in fact, that two days later he called me over and told me I had his blessing and that he loved me like a son.
It was a moment I’ll never forget, and soon after I proposed to Erica in the same exact spot where we had prayed together just 18 months earlier, back when I “knew” I would probably never see her again. (Seems romantic until I tell you that it was on the deck beside my friend’s swimming pool.)
7. Get Married before the World Ends
We got married on August 14th, 1999, just in case there was any truth to the Y2K nonsense that was threatening to end the world.
And now, 13+ years, hundreds of mistakes, and thousands of amazing moments later, we are enjoying our marriage (and our two amazing kids) more than we ever have. Thankful that she almost ran me over with her car.
BONUS – If you don’t want to follow this plan, you can use the optional version of it like Kandace and Nate did.
They didn’t start dating in 1997 like Erica and I did, but instead kept in touch and remained friends for years. Then in 2002 they realized they were in love, got married, and live here in Lancaster County, PA like we do.
We don’t have a picture from the night we met, but here’s one we took on June 25th, 2007 to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of when we met.
Whether you believe that humans have a free-will that God never violates, or that God ordains and orders every breath we take (and every move we make), you can’t ignore the awesomeness of the fact that on a random midnight in June of 1997, two girls parking at their campsite amid a crowd of 70,000 people, almost literally ran over their future husbands whom they had yet to meet.
God is good. We are blessed.