As part of our 20th birthday year, Alistair and Heather share what has happened since they met on Christian Connection in 2011…
“For us, the most important factor in meeting someone with whom we would potentially share the most intimate, private and special moments was that they would share our faith. For both of us, our first love is God. If that were true for only one of us, the relationship would be completely unbalanced and unlikely to work. Christian Connection looked like a professional site. Of the Christian sites available, Christian Connection looked the best.
Life since has been surprising, interesting, with highs and lows but better than we could ever have imagined. At first, we spent time adjusting to living together and working out how to run a household jointly when both of us had been used to running our own household single-handedly. However, gradually, Alistair was becoming more and more unhappy with his teaching post: part of this unhappiness was also bewilderment at how a profession he had absolutely loved and could never have considered leaving was becoming a source of despair. By spring 2014, we were sitting in church one Sunday evening and one of the notices was around how the services were going to be changed in the summer. The congregation was asked to consider if they would like to preach at one of the early morning services.
This has been the major change in our lives since we married and one that we could never have imagined when we embarked on this journey together.
Don’t imagine, though, that’s it’s all been wonderful and easy: during training, Heather was becoming more and more unwell. Just before Christmas 2015, she was undergoing investigations for persistent tiredness and fatigue. For two weeks – the hospital lost the blood test results – it was thought to be possible that it was leukaemia. This was finally ruled out but a final diagnosis was made of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. As Heather had been hitherto extremely fit and healthy, it was a hard adjustment to make. However, after six months off work and treatment from the regional CFS clinic, she was able to return to work full-time, counting her blessings that her recovery, although not complete, had been relatively swift.
Over the last nearly nine years together and eight years of marriage, we have so enjoyed creating shared memories and growing together. We’ve really enjoyed understanding each other better and working to operate as a team. When you do something for the other person that they really appreciate, it’s such a special feeling. Following what you believe to be God’s plan for your lives together and having that corroborated is immensely special.
Starting to share a life, particularly when you’ve both been used to making your own decisions, isn’t always easy: it takes commitment and understanding and a willingness to see the other’s point of view. This is magnified when there is a hormonal teenager involved. Alistair and Heather’s son’s relationship is a work in progress and, as well as Heather and her son figuring out how to change their relationship from more parent-child to adult-adult, Alistair is having to do the same as well as negotiate building a relationship. It’s progressing well but remains a work in progress.
Both of us are far more resilient than either gave the other credit for in the beginning: this has been a very pleasing surprise. Sharing experiences that we already loved separately is so good as well as experiencing new things together and finding new, shared interests; we’re constantly surprised how easy it is! We were also pleasantly surprised when we worked out that the household tasks that Alistair loathed were the ones Heather loved and vice versa! Although our life is nothing like we’d planned or imagined together, it’s so much better than we could have dreamt of!
Our advice for someone wanting to meet a partner is pray, pray and pray some more – when you’re choosing the website, when you’re writing your profile, when you’re deciding whom to message or how to reply to someone. Be open to where God wants you to be and what he wants to do – that may include not meeting someone – but be aware that, whatever he has planned for you, it will be so much better than anything you could have imagined.”
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