It all started when I had quite a few people, within one week, ask me questions such as, "Have you ever tried eHarmony?" "Would you ever consider online dating?" "Have you ever thought about any of those dating websites?" etc. My sister threatened to make an eHarmony profile, not realizing how extensive that undertaking could be, and my mom offered to help me pay the fee if I would be willing to give it a try. So, one night I was sitting home alone, twiddling my thumbs and had nothing better to do but spend a few hours filling out the massive questionnaire required to join eHarmony... one of my best decisions ever.
If you don't know how eHarmony works, they send you "matches" (men, in my case, with whom they think you will be compatible). Boy howdy were they right! Matt was in the very first round of matches sent to me, and our communication was easy from the start. We went from answering simple questions to sending one another LENGTHY e-mails sharing our passions, hobbies, joys, sorrows and the stories of our lives.
Within a few days, I knew this was a man I would like to meet in person, but I was living in Sarasota and he in Miami. Therefore, actually meeting face to face would require quite a commitment, but coincidentally (or as God had orchestrated) the AP conference I had to attend for work was moved from Orlando to Ft. Lauderdale. We happily made plans to meet during the week I was there, but Matt had a change of plans on the Sunday I was arriving, called me and we planned to meet that very evening in the hotel bar... I wasn't going to get in a car with a strange man I met on-line, gasp. As I got ready to go meet Matt, I was a bundle of excitement and nerves. My motherly roommate for the conference made sure I had her number programmed into my phone and even offered to come down with me and nonchalantly sit nearby to make sure everything was ok. I went down alone like a big girl though, and we had a wonderful time! We sat for hours and talked about anything and everything including theology and politics. After that evening, we planned to spend two more evenings together. Wednesday night I was a little more brave and we ventured to a restaurant across the street (Macaroni Grill) and walked around Barnes & Noble. Thursday night we went on our best date of the week, to the riverfront, and we ended the evening and the week by talking late into the night sitting beside the hotel's rooftop pool. We made our relationship "official" and settled on the next time we would see each other, which would be a month later due to planned travel.
Our very first photo together (don't mind Matt's creepy mustache)
The following several months were nothing short of magical. I could tell countless stories about Matt showing up with flowers, watching lightning storms on the beach, meeting one another's friends and families, holidays together, and lots of long hours spent on the road driving back and forth between Sarasota and Miami, but I'll spare you those details. Suffice it to say, we fell head over heels in love with each other and knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together...