We didn’t let the distance factor get in our way - and now we are engaged!
Phil and I often tell each other that God was ‘showing off’ by joining the two of us through Christian Connection. Both Christian, both into triathlon, both single parents and both having spent time in Africa (Phil was born and raised in Congo and I spent 8 months in rural Uganda volunteering on a health education programme). A match made in Heaven some might say!
However, with Phil living in the North and myself the South, there were definitely some hesitations on both our parts about whether we should pursue meeting up for the first time since we were under no illusion that the 200 or so miles between us would be a challenge for dating.
After enjoying chatting on the phone for a couple of weeks, we decided we were prepared to at least meet in person - halfway between us; and so we planned a date in Leamington Spa for a Lycra-clad 10k run - the perfect first date for two people who like their endorphins! Rather more conventionally, we had dinner afterwards and it transpired that, we felt at ease with each other as we had done on the phone and that there was a real, mutual physical attraction.
The next hurdle to tackle was the Covid 19 pandemic, with the Government’s heavy restrictions coming in just a few months after new had met. It was too soon (and not appropriate for our children or us as a couple) to ‘bubble up’ so now not only were we far apart, we also couldn’t physically meet up. We both tired of communicating on the phone and through video calls but we also felt blessed for these means of communication and that we were remaining well when so very many weren’t.
We still live a long way away from each other. Phil visits me and my young daughter at weekends although has to balance the needs of his children with us and those we have as a couple. Because I work in a school I am able to visit Phil in school holidays and my daughter loves the train rides up as well as all the fun that Phil abs his children bring, alongside his two cats.
20 months after our first date, in September of 2021, Phil asked me to marry him. We were on a beautiful pebble beach in Portland, near Weymouth (Phil was competing in the Weymouth 70.3 triathlon the following morning) and I thought I would burst with joy and gratitude. We sat and prayed afterwards and thanked God for combining us and asked that he guide us in our future planning. Blending two families wasn’t going to be easy, but we firmly believe that with God, anything is possible.
My daughter and I will be moving to the North to live with Phil and his children after we marry. Phil and I are excited about our adventure and planning our future together.
My number one tip for other members of Christian Connection is to consider widening your search - love will find a way when there is a distance between you.