It all started with someone holding up her picture and asking who thought she was cute. I definitely did and made sure that everyone in the room knew it. It was her senior picture from high school, she had blonde hair and green eyes. I was in love. Immediately.
It was March 2010 and I was in boot camp for the Air Force. Chanel had sent a friendly letter, and of course the picture, to one of the guys in my group, a close friend of hers from high school. She had introduced him to his fiancee and so she “jokingly” asked him to return the favor and help her find a “good, Christian boyfriend”. I fit the bill. I kept her picture (kind of weird looking back now) and met her best friend Stacey at our graduation a couple weeks later. Stacey passed along her approval of me to Chanel and thus began what has now been an almost eight year relationship.
Chanel and I started writing letters back and forth and connected on Facebook (this was before Instagram, literally). I quickly realized how quirky, funny, and beautiful she was. We kept it strictly friendly in our letters just talking about our families and upbringings and things like that. We were really just getting to know each other. We wrote letters for at least two months before we even talked on the phone. When we finally did I stayed up until six in the morning talking to her. It was so natural and she thought I was funny (still does by the way). Eventually Chanel started dating someone and I tried my best but Air Force girls weren’t really my style. I was interested in a girl (or three) back home but those didn’t pan out either. In July Chanel broke up with the guy she had been dating and we started talking again, even more this time. We started talking on the phone everyday as well as Skyping back and forth. We had started to discuss our feelings for each other, although I think mine were much more obvious, and decided that we should meet in person. I was going to be visiting family in Washington State at the end of September so we planned on getting together the first weekend of October 2010.
In August Chanel got a crazy idea. Okay, it wasn’t crazy but at the time I thought it was. Chanel felt God telling her to take a break from dating and to focus on her relationship with Him. At the same time I felt like God was telling me this was the girl he wanted me to marry. So she started her dating fast, and at first we continued to talk but eventually stopped all communication. When we talked we wanted to be together but she was on her dating fast and I wanted to respect that. We didn’t talk for probably 8 weeks. Seriously. It was really hard. Neither of us dated anyone, we didn’t talk to anyone about dating and we didn’t pursue anyone else. She was on a fast and although I wasn’t, I was determined to wait for her.
After two weeks of visiting family in Washington State I flew to Reno (non-refundable tickets, where was Southwest when I needed them?) to meet Chanel. We literally had not still talked in weeks except to confirm that I was still coming. I was staying with a friend’s dad and I was going to be meeting her family while I was there.
After I landed I headed to baggage claim. I still remember walking around the corner and seeing Chanel standing at the furthest carousel, our eyes instantly met and she said in that moment that her knees went weak. My heart was about to jump out of my throat, either that or I was going to pee my pants. Scott (my buddy’s dad that I was staying with) was there along with Chanel’s best friends Stacey (remember her?) and Megan. I gave everyone a hug, saving Chanel for last. This seems corny, but in that moment I knew I was hugging my future wife.
The morning I flew out Chanel and I started texting and then when I got home we talked and I told her that I knew she was the girl I wanted to marry. That Sunday at Chanel’s church the pastor was taking questions via text. She texted in a question that read something like “If I’m on a dating fast but feel like I’ve met the guy that God has for me, should I end the fast and date him?” The pastor immediately said “Yes, absolutely” then moved onto the next question. I suppose I owe him one.
She ended the fast, we started dating, and 2 months after my first trip I flew out to Reno again, this time to propose. The proposal was embarrassing and funny, we even made it on the local news that night but that’s a story for a different time. She said YES and we got married 6 weeks later.
It’s been 7 years and boy, what a ride it has been. We’ve had three kids, we’ve traveled a lot, started businesses, flipped houses, and moved cross country (three times).
Now here we are, sharing our story.
If you liked reading this you will probably also enjoy our podcast which launches on January 11th. You’ll get a chance to hear Chanel’s side of things, like how good looking she thought I was.
We’ll be releasing a new blog post or podcast episode every single Thursday morning in 2018!
Find the podcast on iTunes or at: https://peterharpsterblog.com/podcast/
Thank you for your attention!