Joel and Ingrid Chiri
How did we meet? Joel writes:
When I worked nights I enjoyed listening to 'Focus on the Family' with Dr. Dobson and Charles Swindoll's 'Insight for Living' on Praise 106.5. One night I heard a special broadcast on 'Focus on the Family' about eHarmony. It was a company designed to match Christian singles based on personally traits and Christian belief rather than photographs, etc. I was 51 years old, tall, with blond hair and blue eyes, but I had never been married.
I had been a pastor for many years, but never found the person I felt God intended for me. I served years in the police force, and had come to believe that perhaps I was one of those people that God intended to remain single. I believed that over the years I had become too tough, too Christian, and too set in my ways to find someone. The local women around my age group were married, interested in drugs, or just not interested in Christ; and I was unwilling to set aside my faith. Years before I had a list of what I believed would be the perfect Christian wife for me, and prayed the Lord would send her. My prayers now were far simpler; I merely wanted a good Christian wife. When I arrived home I went on the Internet to the eHarmony web page. The application required filling out an extensive questionnaire. It was by this method that eHarmony would analyze your personality traits and find you an emotional, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual match. After filling out the questionnaire, I was faced with a new problem; I could not get eHarmony to accept my credit card. I checked with my bank, no problem; however, I could make no headway with eHarmony. I was ready to give up the entire idea, when I received an email from eHarmony that they would give me a one-month membership.
The first person to contact me was Ingrid Enns. She lived in the city of Abbotsford; British Columbia and I lived in Ladysmith, British Columbia. To put this in perspective, the Province of British Columbia is the size of the western United States. To reach Abbotsford from my house would require a 30-minute drive to a ferry terminal, a two-hour ferry ride, and a one-hour drive to Abbotsford on the other side. To me this seemed like a safe distance to start a relationship; so I began the working through the process eHarmony sets up to protect its clients, and assist you in getting to know each other. I am now surprised to realize, even with these safe guards in place, how quickly things can develop.
We emailed each other several times, and met a few times, when one day she emailed me "I think I love you." She constantly occupied my thoughts; however, I wrote my emotions off as infatuation, not love, and went to work without responding. While working that night and praying, I said to myself, "I can't afford a wife, whom am I fooling" and "I've become just too hardened over the years, what do I know about love?" When 'Focus on the Family' came on a few minutes later they had another special program. The speaker said, as a Christian it is your job to be faithful to God in all thing especially your finances. I know that right now there are men out there saying, "I can't afford a wife," this caught my attention, he continued; but I'm here to tell you God will take care of you and your family if you are faithful to him. I was really surprised and said; but God I've been through a lot, I'm kind of a tough guy, with the police and military you had to be tough. A few minutes later Chuck Swindoll came on and began his message by reading something from the Richard C. Halverson. "Some people relate like marbles. The fear of vulnerability hardens them. They protect themselves, allow no one to penetrate. Being vulnerable is high-risk, and they want low-risk. They bump against others and ricochet around, never enjoying a vital relationship. In brittle lovelessness, they shatter when crushed, and hurt others." He continued by saying that we were called to be like Christ, and that Jesus had loved us even to the cross. To be like Christ required a Christian to be tender and love, a hard Christian is not following Christ's example. This really spoke to me, and when I returned home the next morning I did one of the toughest things I had ever done. Neither bad-guys nor fire-fights bothered me; but the short email I sent her hit me hard, I simply wrote, "I think I love you, too - Joel."
On December 28th 2002 we were married and things have never been better. eHarmony could not have matched a better couple. I discovered that God had given me the exact, original perfect wife that I had prayed for in the beginning. We even finish each other's sentences, and have the same blood type. When attending a dinner and faced with dozens of desert choices, our hands meet reaching for the same treat. We enjoy the same Christian music, colors, etc. She had once said years before, " I will never find a man that loves Bill Gaither music as much as I do, so I'll just have to stay single" well guess what, she was wrong as I have listened to him for over 30 years! We now rejoice in the fact that no matter how many loving years we now have together, we will also have eternity together with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
How was our first date? Ingrid writes:
We are now more than 4 months married and I am happy we don't have to start all over, because Joel was a bachelor and had his house full, and I had my house full, so to bring that together was not an easy task.
Yes, our relationship developed very quickly, after two weeks of phone calls we finally met. I was to pick him up at the ferry. I was ready to go when I received a phone call from him, the ferry has been cancelled, the next one goes in 2 hours, I guess I will go home, he said; however, I was not ready to give up that quickly. I wanted to see this man to which I had so much in common. I said, no wait, I'm coming over, I have enough time to get to the ferry and tomorrow is Saturday, I don't have to work. He said, "Ok, I will pick you up and take you out for dinner." Afterwards, I had still enough time to get back to the ferry and return home.
When I came off the ferry, the nicest looking man was waiting for me. I thought he looks so much nicer than his picture. Almost the first thing he said was, "you look so pretty, and your picture does not do you justice." He took me to a very nice and fancy Japanese Restaurant with live background music. It was a very strange feeling; we are both a little bit shy. Joel said; "I don't know what to say, you are so pretty." I pretended if I had everything under control and said, that's okay we don't have to say a lot. The first date was actually sitting and staring at each other. I heard at least 10 times how pretty I was. When I went home after 2 hours, we slightly hugged each other. I came home and he had an e-mail asking if he could come over on Tuesday, which was his next day off. From there on it went very fast and a month later we where engaged. We wanted to get married in May, and we didn't want a big wedding. So we thought, we are adults who is there to tell us to wait. And a month after our engagement we where married on December 28th 2002.
I have moved to Ladysmith, and we have made a Home business with an office. We both are working on Computers. Joel is Computer Technician, he made Flyers and did Photo restoration before already, and I am doing Electronic publishing and Web Page designing, Brochures etc. Joel still works part time nights and I love going with him when possible.
I really can say we are very happy married, I even didn't know that something like this exists. I still have boxes with stuff standing around, and I hope will be all gone when we have our 6-month anniversary. I still get e-cards in my e-mail from Joel, my husband.
Many people ask us how we met, are response is over the Internet, but not just over the Internet, it is through e-harmony and then we have to explain.
Written May 2003
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