Paul Meninno and Laurie Cunneff

Paul Meninno and Laurie Cunneff - Married September 2016

Paul Meninno and Laurie Cunneff first connected on DT Heart & Soul in November 2015. They met for the first time in January, and visited back and forth between Chicago and New Hampshire for several months. They officially began dating at the end of April, he proposed two months later, and they were married September 2, 2016.

Laurie: I knew Paul was the one in December, after a month. The thing that stood out to me the very first time we talked on the phone was his heart of “what you see is what you get.” He’s always been so real and upfront with me.

In our first call, Paul shared about how his wife passed away from colon cancer after fighting it for seven years. After the call, I hung up and cried. I had encountered this beautiful heart that had such love and dedication to his wife and daughters

I was baptized at 21 and struggled with being single for so many years. I never dated or married in the church and had a hard time believing God loved me or had a plan for me. Then in my mid-30s, God brought me contentment in my singleness. I would tell people, “If I ever get married, it’s going to be God changing my heart.” And that’s what God did. I went through some health issues and that started tugging on my heart.

Last year, we had a message one Sunday on Nehemiah and how he rebuilt the wall in 52 days. The brother gave everyone a 52-day challenge. He asked us, “What are two to three things you want to change in your life? It could be anything. Make a decision and be consistent for 52 days.”

I met with a sister afterward and I mentioned wanting to get married. She suggested I make dating my 52-day challenge. And I thought about the scripture in Galatians 6 how we reap what we sow – and I realized that I wasn’t doing anything about dating. That night, I signed up for DT Heart & Soul for a year and decided to reach out to other sisters around the U.S. and ask them to set me up on dates. I had tried DTHS in the past, but wanted to give it another shot.

That was in October, and I met Paul in November.

Paul: My wife passed away in August of 2014, and I mourned the loss of my wife. Because she was battling cancer, and I knew it was terminal a couple of years before she passed, the mourning process started earlier for me. About a year later I started feeling like I was at the point where I could go on dates. I dated a little bit but nothing worked out. I was led to DT Heart & Soul because I knew the local churches around me, and I didn’t think the right person was there for me.

I had been married, and I knew I didn’t want to remain single, so I decided to join. I remembered my friend Jeremy (one of the first married couples through DTHS), and he reminded me about the site. He gave me a little bit of advice about it before I joined.

I liked the way the site was set up, with everyone getting verified. It’s pretty safe. I took the test and became friends with lots of different people. My perspective was that I just needed to make a lot of friends. I accepted friend requests of everyone who asked me, even if I didn’t think it would be the one.

When I friended Laurie, I read her profile and thought it was interesting. It seemed like she had a great heart for God, and I liked that she had been around for a long time. It shows a lot of consistency and her heart for God.

When we started talking and messaging, our communication was excellent. We could talk on a deep level through spiritual things. The stuff that my family’s been through has been extremely hard. Watching my late wife suffer a great deal took a toll on my kids and on me. When I was going through something difficult, Laurie was extremely positive and looked for the good. Her heart was so positive. She’s beautiful on the inside and the outside.

We’ve been through a lot as a family and it doesn’t faze her at all. She’s faithful, there, loving and patient, which is great. I knew after a month that she was the one.

Laurie: I remember feeling so overwhelmed at the thought of everything I had to do to move [to NH]. I had to sell my condo, move all my stuff out. I was able to sell all my furniture in less than a week. I didn’t think I could do that. But God cleared the path and answered prayers. It continued to give me reassurance that this is what God wanted. God provided along the way.

On “building right”:

Paul: We built kind of quickly. We might be the DTHS record, but I think it’s ok if you build right and get advice. We prayed together all of the time and studied a spiritual book together which we discussed on a weekly basis. This helped each of us get to know the others’ heart very well. We also talked through our compatibility report and what the test said about our characters.

Laurie: We both got a lot of advice from people we were close to. When Paul visited, we got with the couple who led my ministry, and when I visited him we met with the couple who led his ministry. I spoke with his church leader to get advice. When I visited, I always stayed with couples and got to know them. Initially, they were protective of Paul, but once they met me, got to know my heart, and saw us interacting, they felt good about us. When visiting one another, we met with a couple in each state for discipling and advice along the way. That ensured there were people who really knew one of us was in there with us.

Building in steps helped. Paul got a lot of advice before we started dating. At every step in the process he talked to his daughters about it, saying, “Here’s what’s going on, how do you feel about that?”

Advice for others:

Paul: Make lots of friends. Don’t be afraid to make a lot of friends.

Laurie: Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. That’s why we got to know each other so well — we saw the good, bad and ugly in each other.

Sometimes we can have a vision of, “This is what the person should look like,” but be open and let God reveal what he wants to. Even if a dating relationship doesn’t come of it, you never know how God is going to use it. It’s a great tool that God can use. Be open to however God uses it.