Meet the Finalists
Couple 1: Ariel + Stephen
When working the drive thru window at a busy Starbucks, it's easy to become jaded to the hundreds of faces one may see on a shift. This was not the case when Stephen met Ariel in 2012. After talking to Ariel for five minutes, Stephen worked up the courage to ask the girl he met through the drive thru window on a date that would lead to a future together. Fast forward several sweet days spent by each other’s side, Ariel revealed to Stephen that she was battling a chronic illness and was terrified that it would scare him away. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome has tried to get in the way of their relationship but has failed every time, only assisting in making their relationship stronger. After countless hospital visits in unfamiliar cities, Ariel and Stephen bring a new meaning to “in sickness and in health” and constantly talk of the future they want to build looking forward to the day that they tie the knot.
Couple 2: Michaela + Alic
Boarding a school bus that she did NOT want to be on, 14-year-old Michaela laid eyes on her future husband for the first time. After navigating the trials of high school and college together, Michaela and Alic have seen almost every side of each other imaginable and overcome every obstacle that life has thrown their way. They push each other to be better in every aspect of life each and every day. While Michaela is pursuing her Bachelor of Nursing, Alic is putting himself through school and working towards his Masters in Aerospace Engineering. As in love as these two are, they have also learned that relationships take so much more than love. Relationships like Michaela and Alic’s take time, forgiveness and a lot of hard work. Even after eight years, these high school sweethearts wake up every morning and make a conscious decision to choose each other over and over again.
Couple 3: Kristen + Alex
Just as Alex was opening his book to divert his attention from obsessively watching onboarding passengers on a flight to Denver, he saw the girl he had been too shy to talk to in the terminal. As Kristen settled into the seat next to him, she noticed that he was reading a book about Jesus and eloquently asked, “Is that a Jesus book? I like Jesus too!” which led to a conversation that would last the entire flight. Kristen knew that this feeling of “rightness” would come to an end as they parted ways in Denver. A week later, Kristen and Alex’s eyes locked yet again as they boarded the same plane destined for home. Not missing a beat, Kristen eagerly switched seats with another passenger so she could be next to Alex. After talking of their mutual love for the Lord and their futures, Alex shared that he was leaving for a month-long medical mission trip to Africa before starting a PhD program for research at St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Kristen feared that their special time would come to an end once again, but this wasn’t the case. Once Alex returned from Africa, they began a sweet time of friendship and have been supporting each other ever since. The two are so grateful for the flight that evolved into a relationship they cannot picture themselves without.
Couple 4: Lakeisha + Robert
As a teacher at DoubleTree Elementary School, Lakeisha often chooses a special student to assist her in their morning devotions. One morning, Lakeisha chose one of the sweetest boys in her class to help lead the Pledge of Allegiance. From that day forward, the sweet boy would go out of his way to hug her and thank her for choosing him to lead. The following day, the father of the nicest boy she had chosen the day before came to the school and expressed to her how much it meant to his son that she had taken the time to notice and care for him. Robert expressed interest in her genuine, selfless kindness. As the school year flew by, Lakeisha and Robert began a two-year courtship that culminated in a proposal involving the students at DoubleTree Elementary. The couple has celebrated birthdays, achievements, the groundbreaking of a new house, and the blessing of family and friends who support our union. One can only imagine the smile on her student’s face watching his father and teacher fall in love.
Couple 5: Stephney + Nathan
Meeting in the Summer of 2012 at their high school band camp, Stephney and Nathan had no idea what the journey they were embarking on as a couple held for them. Since high school, the relationship that the two built has proven to outlast the ones around them due to one simple fact: Stephney and Nathan were drawn together not just because of a shared extracurricular, high school clichés, or simple laws of attraction; but because they truly cared for one another. In November of 2018, Nathan’s dad lost his battle with cancer. Not only was Nathan’s father a member of the navy and an amazing father to Nathan, he played the role of “father” in Stephney’s life for the past seven years as well. After almost losing Stephney’s mother in the Spring of 2019, Nathan and Stephney have had to sit in hospitals and make decisions that no 21-year old should ever have to face. The couple shared that the past 6 months have been hard, but have solidified their love and taught them how to lean on each other. All in all, their patience—not just with one another, but with the world around them—has done nothing but inspire their family and peers to love those close to them with all they have.