Shelby and Chris

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How We Met

Chris and I were both one year out of high school and in our first semester at Bible School. I thought he was the hottest guy in school, but also thought he was dating a girl named Ann because they hung out a lot. A few weeks into the semester, my friend, Brittany, was giving Chris, Ann, and me a ride to church. Before Chris and Ann got in the car, I asked Brittany if Chris and Ann were dating. She said, “No, Ann is dating Chris’ brother.” On the way to church, we talked about our mutual passion for mission work overseas, and I thought he was really cool, sweet, and humble.

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In the bathroom at church, Brittany said to me, “What about you and Chris?” I already knew that I really liked him, but said, “No, he’d never go for me.” That night, we went to a concert with a group of friends, found out we had so much in common and had such a blast together. By the end of the day, I had a major crush on him. Chris’ brother thought he still might like a girl back home that he’d had a crush on years ago. He told Ann as much, who told Brittany, who warned me to not get my hopes up about Chris. So, I tried to not think about him. All the while, Chris kept coming up to me on campus to ask about me and see how he could pray for me. Every time, I’d go back to my dorm room and squeal and be so excited that he was paying attention to me, and then try again (unsuccessfully) to not think about him. Little did I know, he was praying about whether he should pursue me. Shortly thereafter, Ann and Brittany, and I were baking together, and they asked me why I don’t sit at their lunch table with them and Chris. I said, “because Chris makes me nervous.” Ann said, “You make him nervous, too,” and proceeded to tell me that he liked me, too, and actually didn’t like a girl back home. I was over the moon!

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Chris picked me up and asked me to go with him to the local reservoir. I’ll never forget that Taylor Swift’s, “Sparks Fly,” was playing when I got in the car. At the reservoir, we shared our life stories, hopes, and dreams. We connected on such a deep level and found we could really be ourselves with one another. After that night, Chris knew he loved me, and I was quickly falling in love with him. We became absolute best friends, were super goofy together, and were completely open and vulnerable with one another about our pasts and struggles. And we were praying all the while whether God wanted us to be together. He kept making it clear that we were meant to be. Chris sent me on a scavenger hunt with all of my favorite things, at the end of which he asked me to be his girlfriend. On Valentines Day, he used a message in a bottle with fill-in-the-blanks for conversation hearts to ask me on our first official date as boyfriend and girlfriend. It was on that date that he sweetly asked me if he could hold my hand for the first time. By the end of our first year of Bible College, he told me he loved me and wanted to marry me. I had been dying to tell him I loved him, too, and that I felt the same way. Over the next two years, we wanted to get married so badly, but our parents wanted us to wait until we finished college, so we bought each other promise rings at the book store, and waited. Our love grew stronger all the time, and we never once doubted that each other was the one.

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How They Asked

In our last year at our 3-year Bible college, I had just gotten back from work late one night, and Chris texted me to come and meet him at the chapel. My heart started racing. I knew this was the moment he was going to propose. It was after curfew, we were both RA’s, and I was in my glasses and a sweatshirt with no makeup, but I hurried to the chapel to find a rose petal path leading to a chair at the front. When I sat, a video played of Chris lip-syncing a song we had liked to listen to together lately. I didn’t know his friends had helped him film this video days before, throwing objects at him and filming from the top of a car while someone drove. In the video, he was slowly approaching the chapel, so I thought it was happening live! When the chapel doors opened, I turned around thinking he would be there. But, it was our friend, Joe, saying, “Sorry, wrong room.” Then, Chris jumped out from behind the chapel podium and danced along to the rest of the song (which mortifies him now to watch, but I think is adorable). He got down on one knee and told me how much I meant to him and how much he loved me and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes!

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I’d been waiting for this moment for 2 years! Chris had been saving for months from his part-time job while also paying to put himself through school. He had brought every penny he had to his name to the jeweler and picked out the ring he thought was perfect. He then found out he was a little short, but the jeweler gave it to him for what he had. The ring didn’t cost very much, but knowing how hard he saved and that it cost him all he had, is the most romantic thing in the world to me, and I wouldn’t trade it.

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We married in October of 2013 in my hometown in Michigan, sharing our first ever kiss at the altar, and beginning our happily ever after. We are still best friends, total goofballs together, and totally open, honest, and vulnerable with one another. By God’s grace, we help each other through our struggles, talk everything out, seek to work on ourselves, freely say we’re sorry, and forgive one another. All of these things have made our marriage a total blast from the get-go!

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I am so grateful for my patient, funny, understanding husband, in whom God answered all of the prayers I’d been praying since I was 15, and gave me more than I could have ever asked for. We love traveling and exploring together! We’ve had so many adventures in our marriage, from a vision trip in Indonesia to renting a tiny house while converting a camper van, to traveling the country in that camper van full-time for a year and a half, to now building out a school bus into our future home on wheels. We hope to start a family and have many more adventures together.

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