Josh Thurman and Laura Ferguson

Josh Thurman and Laura Ferguson - Married May 2014

Josh: We met briefly in person in 2012 in San Antonio on a large group date. Laura wasn’t my date, but I took notice of her. I thought she was very pretty, but I thought she was way too cool for me. (Laura says: I totally noticed him on the date! I thought, “I’m on a date with the wrong guy!”) She lived in LA and I lived in Nashville, and I wasn’t very big on long-distance relationships. I’m introverted, and I thought it would take too much to make that work for me.

Nine months later, I joined DT Heart & Soul. I’d been a Christian for 18 years and never dated, and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I didn’t think that driving to all the churches within driving distance and dating all the single sisters was the best strategy, especially given my strengths. My pessimistic side said, “I’m going to go on the site just to prove that there’s nobody for me.”

Laura: I had come out of a bad relationship. After taking some time to mend and heal, I decided to join DT Heart & Soul as another avenue to use to reach out to people. I wasn’t above it. A lot of people think they don’t need it, but I had dated four times before Josh. I didn’t go into it thinking, “This is how I’m going to find my husband,” but I did.

Josh: I noticed her picture on there right away but I didn’t contact her. She is a bit younger than me, and I still thought she was too cool. But a month later, she contacted me, saying, “You look familiar, haven’t we met before?” (Laura says: “I knew we had met before!”) I was definitely interested in talking to her, but I still wasn’t interested in long-distance.

Laura: He quickly pointed out that he had a pessimistic view of dating relationships and that he was interested in finding someone within driving distance. I took that as “I’m not interested,” since I wasn’t within driving distance. We stopped talking. Five days later, he messaged me and said, “Even though I have a pessimistic view on relationships, it’s good to get views from other people.”

I had been praying that God would really grant me a man who was active in seeking advice and getting input. It was a small thing, but I knew when I got his message that one of his friends had talked him into it. I thought, “This is good! He has friends giving him input and advice.”

He told me he was an avid reader. At the time, I was reading Sacred Search and suggested that he might like it. He got it instantly. We started talking on the phone, and Skyped every Sunday. During the week we’d read a chapter of the book, and then discuss the questions together on Skype. The book was super helpful to bridge the geographical gap. It asked pretty poignant questions about the ministry, church, and our convictions on different things. I got a really good sense of who he was by doing the book process.

After talking for a couple of months, Josh & Laura decided it was time to meet each other.

Laura: I wanted to see him in his natural element, with his friends and in his environment. I prayed specifically for him to offer to pay for some of or all of my ticket. Sure enough, he said that he’d be happy to cover half the cost of the ticket. I knew it was a sign! When I flew to Nashville, I was so nervous. I thought I was going to throw up when the plane landed. At that point, I really liked him. What if the trip didn’t go well? But from the moment we said hello, I knew it was going to be a good weekend.

Josh: We had a great, full weekend. On the day she was going to leave, I told my friend that I’d like to ask her to be my girlfriend when I went to visit her in LA. He said, “Why not do it now?” We went on a hike and talked, and I asked her. She moved shortly after that. We didn’t want to date forever. We wanted to live in the same place and get to know each other better.

Laura: I started interviewing for jobs, but I decided, whether I find a job or not, I’m gonna go. I’m gonna go on faith. I started saving and moved to Nashville in November. On Valentine’s Day (which is my birthday), we got dressed up and went to the ballet. I told myself, “Don’t read into it, it’s our first Valentine’s Day together, my first birthday with him…stop imagining things!” After the ballet, he took me on a walk in the rain to the Tennessee state capitol building. He’s a major history buff, so I thought he wanted to show me the history of something. That’s when he proposed!

We are getting married in a renovated barn on May 31, 2014.

Tips for DT Heart & Soul members

Josh: Getting advice was crucial in changing my mindset from one that wasn’t working at all to one that was more helpful and positive. It’s great to bounce ideas off of people. Offering to pay for half of her plane ticket – that was totally someone else’s idea. That advice was real crucial. I would try to be completely open with whatever I was doing. Even if I didn’t take the advice, I was still open about it. My mindset was, “I’m going to be completely open.”

Laura: You have to get different perspectives. I think it’s important to get advice from forward-thinking people. Online dating is a new thing; this is not the old school way. It’s a new wave of technology and an additional resource. As we got to know each other, I was being very open with my friends. I’d shared about every time we messaged or talked, and asked for lots of help with our visits. It’s great to have people on the outside looking in. I also prayed the entire time we were talking, for a sign, or for God to check my heart.

The best way to deepen friendships is to be honest and not to talk about surface-y things. By the time I went to visit Josh, I felt like he knew me. I didn’t hide anything, because it doesn’t help to wait till the last minute on that stuff. Be as open and honest as possible. Your goal is to create depth through the internet, which is hard! That’s why the book really helped us.

Advice about joining DT Heart & Soul

Josh: The more people you meet, the more likely you are to meet someone that you want to date or marry. The more people that sign up, the better! Also, remain open, even to location. Be faithful when it comes to that. God can work out the logistics of location.

Laura: Joining DT Heart & Soul is not the end-all result. You can’t approach it thinking that you’re going to find the one. This is another tool, another avenue to put yourself out there. You’ve still gotta do your part. No dating site guarantees “the one”, but this is a smart way to put yourself out there.