Tom Galligan and Sylvie Raghouber

Tom Galligan and Sylvie Raghouber - Married October 2016

Tom: I was married before in the kingdom and have three kids. My wife left the faith and left me in 2004. It was a pretty tough blow for me and the church, and it was a very difficult time. I didn’t like being single again and I didn’t want to be back in the singles ministry. I resisted it for a long time – all my friends were married, and all the ministries I’d been in were for marrieds.

Through word of mouth, I heard about DT Heart & Soul. I was excited about it because the concept is fantastic. You can see Christian sisters from all over the kingdom and get in touch with them without having to be in the same place. I signed up for it immediately. It is a great tool, but it takes a certain amount of commitment and time – and as a single father of three kids, it was challenging to try to travel and meet these sisters. I got on and off over time; I would get discouraged and stop. I briefly went steady with one sister that I met on the site.

Time just wears on. I always wanted to get remarried. But unless you do something about it, your life just kind of goes pass you. I hit my 50th birthday and still wasn’t with anybody and didn’t see any prospects.

Finally, I said to God, “I’m gonna have some faith here. I’m going to step out on faith and put this in your hands. I’m going to find 10 sisters on DTHS, not look at where they live, and just send out a hello to them and see what happens.” So I did that and about half of them got back to me, and one of them was Sylvie. Once I decided I wasn’t going to care where they lived, things in my heart started to be willing to progress. I started corresponding with three or four sisters on the site.

In September of last year, my home church went through a tragedy that affected the whole church. For me, I pulled back from everything on DTHS. I didn’t have the heart to keep going. I didn’t talk to anyone for about a month. Of all the people that I was communicating with on DTHS, Sylvie was the only one to reach out. She sent me a message and said, “Hey Tom, where did you go?” For me, this meant so much to me. A normal reaction would have been, “Well, if he’s not going to talk to me, I won’t talk to him.” But she made herself vulnerable.

So I replied to her message and got the conversation going again. Soon after she said, “You should come visit me in London. You would have a lovely time.” If a sister says come visit me, you’re going to have a lovely time, you should do it.

I had no intention of going to London, so far away, but her vulnerability made it seem doable. I went in February of 2016. She took me everywhere – all the museums, London Bridge, Stonehenge – and we had a great time. By the end of the trip I asked her to go steady.

Sylvie has been a Christian for about 20 years. She moved from Guadalupe to London in her early 20s, was met by a disciple in London and became a Christian. She has been faithful the whole time and never dated steady.

She came to visit me in June, and things were continuing to go well. I talked to our local evangelist and got advice. We got engaged that month, got married in the Caribbean in October, and I moved to London to live with her.

On getting advice

Dating long distance implies that someone’s going to have to move, and there’s a lot to that. You’ve gotta get some input and advice on something of that magnitude, if you’re going to be moving to a different state and church. If you can talk to people who have moved, been through that, can give you any input on that, you can avoid a lot of potential disasters that could come up. Try to talk to people about what you’re thinking, and get their thoughts on it. As it progresses, keep them in the loop.

A word to singles: Dating in the church can be so haphazard now. That’s why I love DTHS, because it gives singles an avenue to specifically try to date.

Get on DT Heart & Soul, unless you’re actively trying to find someone outside of DTHS. Ninety-five% of singles that I talk to want to get married, but very few of them are trying to do much to facilitate that. Come up with a game plan; if it’s not DTHS, then it has to be something else.

If you’re on it, don’t limit God to who your potential mate could be. Love is worth going wherever you’ve gotta go. At the end of the day, when you close the door and say goodbye to all your friends, whoever you’re with is the most important person of your life. Wherever you are, in London or Cincinnati, you’ve got find that person.