Meet Clarissa and Grant – two singles who met on Shaunti’s teen forums and … well, let them tell you their story
Boy Meets Girl
Grant: After reading FYMO (For Young Men Only) as recommended by a friend, and several failed attempts at relationships over the years, I joined the FYMO/FYWO (For Young Women Only) forums, learned a lot, and had a lot of interesting discussions with the others, but for some reason, this one girl, Clare, seemed to spark a little more interest, and her posts seemed to resonate with me (maybe it was that cute little avatar of hers:)).
Clarissa: I had been a member on the For Young Women Only forums and had some good friends on there who gave a lot of sound advice. One evening I found an email from a new guy on the forums.
Grant: On one thread, she said something that we both had in common, so of course I did what any gentleman would do, and I friended her on Facebook. Yeah. “’Sup dude?” She thought I was another forum member at first, but after we got that straightened out, we had many looong discussions, a whole week’s worth.
Clarissa: Grant and I emailed a few times a week finding common interests in hunting, the outdoors and beliefs. After a month or two we traded numbers and began calling occasionally. I would go down in the woods, away from 10 pairs of ears and where there was the only cell service on our property and chat.
Grant: It wasn’t long before this li’l chica got me to thinking that someday we would be having long talks in person, and if I didn’t scare her off, we just might get married and live happily ever after!
The Birth of Something Beautiful
Clarissa: Several months went past and I started seeing this man was not like the others. He was a strong Christian who worked hard and, we believed the same. Something made me think he might be starting to like me-but he never would say! Wanting to establish trust with my Dad I asked Dad to start calling Grant and get to know him.
Grant: So Clarissa’s dad, Bob, called me one day and chatted for a while about the usual manly questions like who are you, what do you do, what do you think about my daughter, what do you believe about _____, do you smoke, do you drink, yadda yadda. We struck it off right away. We’re both working men, like the outdoors, and could tell that one day we’d be swapping manly stories by a campfire.
Clarissa: They had an instant friendship and Grant began talking about flying up to Washington to meet me as he was from Kansas. We set a day in September and I started nervously counting the days. I had seen many pictures of Grant but meeting in person, well that was going to be just strange!
Grant: Bob and I called each other frequently, and soon began hatching a master plan to thoroughly surprise his daughter with my presence. I’m a busy man, have an over full-time job in agriculture, and sometimes it just doesn’t work to leave, so I had told her that it probably wouldn’t work to go to WA to see her until after corn harvest, AKA sometime in September. Meanwhile, my boss, Bob, and I worked it out that I could fly up a little bit before corn harvest (August 19th) for 5 days, and surprise her for her birthday. Bob picked me up from the airport, took me out to eat, and then stowed me ½ mile up the road at their family friend’s house for the night so I could surprise her the next morning.”
Is This the One?
Clarissa: On August 20th, two days before my 20th birthday my mom woke me bright and early Saturday and asked me to wear the T shirt Grant mailed me saying she wanted a special picture of me and dad. Ah, my innocence! I was herded outside and told excitedly there was a gift for me out in the office. Fingers crossed it would be a new sewing machine I allowed myself to get pushed along. I opened the door a crack and to my utter amazement, there sat Grant! It took me a few minutes to breathe. The next few days were a blur, I couldn’t process he was here, that dad had arranged this months ago, and was now giving us permission to date. We had a blast that week getting to know each other!
It was 70 days before I saw Grant again. I flew down to Kansas to meet his family. Those were the most difficult months, “Do I really like him? I don’t love him, at least yet.” Grant’s boss was generous and let Grant off for 3 months and he came to stay with my family for the winter.
Grant: I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into, deciding to spend 3 months with my girlfriend’s family 1500 miles away from home, but I decided that if I was going to get to know them, and her better, I was going to have to get out of my comfy li’l box. The winter flew by working on all kinds of projects and equipment down in “the tool house,” and working with Bob and the family business. I got to know her brothers and sisters, and her youngest sister adopted me as both her brother, and her personal 5’6” 185Lb. teddy bear. It was a blast spending Christmas with the Prettymans, and seeing how they “do” Christmas, and getting to know the extended family. They really made me feel right at home, and made me feel like I was part of the herd. Guys, if you take a shine to a girl, it’s not a must, but it’s a huge plus if you get along well with the rest of her family. It’s way more fun! After my initial surprising Clarissa (when we first met in person), and several other incidents, she vowed that I would not be able to surprise her or catch her off guard when I finally got around to popping the question. We were going to take a little day trip to a cute little touristy town for Valentine’s Day, and that seemed like a logical time for a proposal given the circumstances. So with this in mind, I decided to go with plan B.
The Big Moment
Clarissa: On February 13 I was cranky and trying to take a nap and Grant insisted on going for a walk in the over knee deep snow. I whined and plodded along, armed with a gun (phobia of wild animals…) until we came around the corner…
Grant: I had sneaked down in the woods Friday evening off the main trail so as to leave a foot print ridden path for a future stroll with my sweetie, and did a trial run with the pine twigs on the snow. Saturday evening I bought several bunches of flowers, and after pilfering a vase from my mother in law, arranged a bouquet for Clare thanks to my mother’s floral arranging influence in years gone by. While my sleeping beauty was yet ambling the streets of slumber land, I made another trek down into the woods to set the scene. Wind had completely trashed what I had done Friday evening, so I reconstructed the message, placed the arrangement behind it, and strategically placed red roses in the snow, complete with Yes/No check boxes to be indicated by sticking one red rose into the desired box.
Clarissa: … written in pine branches on the snow was “Will You Marry Me”. My answer, of course, was YES.
Building a Life Together
Clarissa: In 3 weeks Grant was back in Kansas and I continued my inner dialog “Do I really love him? I don’t feel all fluttery, or all that excited.” The wedding date was set for August 20th, the day we met one year before. I spent two months in Kansas helping get our house ready, and then didn’t see Grant until the week of our wedding. Those were more weeks of doubts, of close friends concerned about my doubts and lots of arguments with Grant. We went through counseling and I knew God wanted me to marry him – I wanted to marry him! My fear is change, and I was facing my whole world as I ever knew it changing to a new life, new home, new friends, new city, and no family, and I was very close to my family.
Most girls plan their weddings from the time they are born and think of it the biggest day of their life. I thought of mine as probably the worst day. The “leaving and cleaving” was not going to come easily! But by the time the day rolled around, I wasn’t nervous about the wedding and I slept soundly the night before. It wasn’t an all-about-me day or party, but a simple wedding with closest friends and family, lots of tears, and promising “till death do us part”. I never wish I hadn’t gotten married, not once have I ever doubted I love my husband. When people ask about our dating relationship, we look at each other and say “horrible … being married is way easier!”
Photography by: Whitney Mason Photography