My name is John Dekker. On the evening Tuesday January 20, I met Kara for the first time. Three and a half days later, on Saturday morning, I asked her to be my wife, and she accepted. How did these events come about, you may ask?
Internet relationships have been around for a while now, and in the last couple of years blog relationships seem to have taken off. I'm personally aware of Mike and Christine (read their story here), Adrian and Susan (read their story here) and Aaron and Jessica.
Throughout 2008, I spent some time rethinking my approach to marriage. Possibly influenced by Debbie Maken's Getting Serious About Getting Married, I began to think about becoming more proactive about finding a wife. I also started to rethink what things were important to me in a future spouse. One of these was that I decided I was looking for a girl who wanted to get married – not merely one who thought she might want to get married someday.
And that's something I saw in Kara. She was happy to publicly state her belief that “desire for marriage is God-given and that intentional prayer and preparation are not wasted efforts.” She also quoted approvingly Jackie Kennedy's maxim, “I want to take such good care of my husband that whatever he is doing, he can do it better, because he has me.”
But most of all, I noticed that Kara shared my love of books. We had so many favourite authors in common: P. G. Wodehouse (which showed that she had a sense of humour), G. K. Chesterton (which showed that she wasn't afraid to draw on other theological traditions) and Douglas Wilson (which showed that she wouldn't be put off by my Federal Vision sympathies.)
And one of my most favourite books, Angels in the Architecture, appealed to her also. It's a book that I have, on occasions, given to people to explain what I am on about. It is one of the clearest statements of my worldview, and the sort of things I wish to encourage in my home. The fact that Kara rated the book with five stars on Facebook, told me that we had much in common.
Well, it does seem that one can find out a lot about an individual by reading his or her blog. This may particularly be the case with a book blog like Biblio-File. And I'm more convinced than ever that a person's books say a lot about them.
I don't think I had any explicit evidence that Kara was Reformed in her theology, but I certainly got that vibe. Similarly, I had the feeling from reading her blog that Kara wanted kids, which was really important to me also.
So, we had common interests, common theology, and from the photos I had seen her blog and facebook (we had become facebook friends almost a year earlier) I thought she was attractive. At that particular moment in time, that was enough. So I told her that I had been admiring her for some time, and would like very much to get to know her better. I asked her if I could cultivate a friendship with her in order to prayerfully contemplate the possibility of marriage.
I hardly expected her to be interested. Internet courtships are not for everyone. Neither is getting married to a pastor. Neither is moving to Australia. I am the minister of Aspendale Presbyterian Church in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, and expect to stay here for several years. I knew I would be asking Kara to leave friends and family behind.
I wasn't particularly surprised when I got an email back from Kara's father. What thrilled me most was that I was still in with a chance. Mike thanked me for my interest in his daughter, and said that he would like to correspond with me first. This process took two weeks, at the end of which he gave me permission to write to Kara.
The courtship process has been a wonderful one. It lasted right on three months. Perhaps a timeline would help: (these are the Australian dates!)
20th October – I send my first email to Kara. We quickly begin to cover some important ground theologically, as well as sharing our personal histories.
12th November – we begin to talk seriously about marriage, and about the possibility of marrying each other. We realize that we have similar perspectives and expectations.
14th November – a significant moment for me: Kara asks me how I feel that she could help me in my ministry. I realize that I'd made a good choice, and we talk about companionship, hospitality and what being a pastor's wife might entail.
19th November – we start chatting online. It was so helpful to wait until we had sorted through the serious philosophical issues before we started on this. It didn't take long before we both felt really comfortable with each other.
28th November – I ask Kara if I can come and visit, and tell her that now would be a good time to break off the relationship if she thought it wasn't going to continue. But she seemed more than happy to meet me.
8th December – we start reading through Isaiah together, a chapter a day, emailing our thoughts to each other. This has been such a blessing to both of us.
20th January – we meet face to face, at Wichita airport.
24th January – after talking with her Dad in the early hours of the morning and receiving his permission, I propose to Kara at about 10am, and she immediately accepts.
So – why do I love this girl? She's kind, intelligent, feminine and loving. She's full of discretion, wit, wisdom and courage. She has lovely eyes and a beautiful smile. And she admires, respects and loves me herself. Why wouldn't I want to spend the rest of my life with her?
Finally, I need to emphasize that we are still getting to know each other, and I feel like I know Kara so much better than I did when I asked her to marry me. And I could swear she's becoming more beautiful every day as well.
Soli Deo Gloria!