Troy Criss and Liz Kahrl

Troy Criss and Liz Kahrl - Married June 2016

For some people, being single is exciting. For others, its lonely. For me, becoming single at the age of 41, it was scary. “How is this going to work out, God?” “What about all the people who think I am crazy because I only want to date women in my church?” “How does a Christian man go about finding a spiritual sister?”

Having started and led a church in Gainesville, Florida for the past 13 years, I knew that I did not want to date anyone within my congregation. So I was resolved to having to drive or even fly to go on a date. After much prayer and advice, I decided to call some of my preacher friends in other cities (Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, New York, Boston,…) to ask if they knew of a sister in their singles ministry whom I should contact. While that led to a few phone dates, I knew I needed a better plan. So I signed up for DT Heart and Soul.

At first, I was hesitant to sign up. “A church dating site, Troy? Really?” But after I did, I was blown away at the number of incredible single sisters around the US and even the world. After reading some biographies, one particular sister who lived in Maryland caught my eye. The characteristic that jumped off the page at me was her perseverance and faithfulness while going through an incredibly difficult ordeal previously in her life.

Since I did not know anyone in the MD area, I never would have found her without DTHS. I asked her via email to “Get Acquainted” and we began emailing one another. After about two weeks, I asked if I could call her. After a number of phone calls, we decided to have a Skype date. Eventually, I asked her if I could fly to MD to take her on a date. That weekend in May 2014 when I first flew to MD to visit Liz face to face was a turning point in our friendship.

I already knew that she had been a disciple of Jesus for 20 years, was tried and true, was a fantastic mother of two children, had 20 year friendships in the church, was a successful physical therapist, was fluent in three languages, loved to run in Tough Mudders and triathlons, was funny, and had a zeal for life that fired me up. But what I did not know was how we would connect once we were together, in the same room. I still remember my brother, Jason, texting me after I had landed and asked how my date with Liz was going. I simply texted back “I’m in trouble.”

I eventually asked her to be my girlfriend at the International Singles Conference in Denver in Sept 2014 on the top of Pikes Peak with my good friends, Chester & Kit Umaguing.

At this point, new questions began to enter my mind. “Can I date such a beautiful woman and remain individually and collectively pure the entire time? Can I change my character (especially grow in my humility and sensitivity) to be the man I need to be for God and Liz?”

We both prayed tirelessly to be surrendered to God’s will in our relationship, especially since we were facing some extra difficult obstacles (our long distance, our ex-spouses, and our four combined children who had plenty of opinions).

After getting copious amounts of advice, we got engaged in Dec 2015 in Raleigh, North Carolina at the home of some of Liz’s best friends, Todd & Marcy Holland. Through God’s miracle, we were able to get married on June 18, 2016. We decided that my family and I would move from Florida to live in the Wash DC area with Liz and her kids.