Double Happiness: A Chinese-American Christian Love Story

A white American Christian woman and her Chinese fiancee
Kristen and Keke (photo courtesy of Kristen)

Kristen, a white Christian girl from America, never thought she’d marry someone different from her. But then she met a Christian man from China on a road trip, a man who would bring her unexpected love and blessings. 

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I always wanted to end up with someone different from me, but would that ever actually happen? I was pretty cynical.

Instead, I pictured myself ending up with someone who, like me, had grown up in small town New Hampshire his whole life. The people I met at college were all basically male versions of myself: native New Hampshirites of French and Irish heritage. That’s when I decided to make a voyage to Italy to study abroad — and, perhaps, meet someone there.

At the same time, life seemed to be taking me to the Midwest. I found myself on my way to St. Louis, Missouri for a large Intervarsity Christian conference called Urbana. Of course, sitting beside me in our van was this random guy from China, who I ended up talking to about my plans to travel to Italy, as well as everything else we could think to share with each other. Conversation flowed easily despite my shyness and his imperfect English. I never mentioned the part about finding my man in Italy, but I was secretly hoping that this guy wasn’t developing feelings for me.

I went to Italy, but only stayed two weeks before making the tumultuous trip back to the U.S. I missed my family and friends so much it felt like my heart was being stretched out across the Atlantic Ocean. At that point, my dreams to do international missions seemed flushed down the toilet. I figured if I was so lonely after only two weeks in Europe, how could I ever live in Africa as a missionary?

Then that May, I was reunited with my Chinese road trip companion at a Campus Crusade meeting. The next day happened to be my friend Sam’s 21st birthday, and she invited him to her day-long party that included laser tag and going out for drinks. Afterwards, I found myself coming home to some strange and unfamiliar feelings towards this Chinese guy — that maybe I could really like him.

That summer, he became part of my close group of friends and we did everything together, from spending a day at the beach to wasting an evening at Wal-Mart. Though I had deep and genuine feelings for him, I still didn’t believe anything would come of it. He was four years older than me, a graduate student working on his master’s degree, while I was going into my senior year as an undergrad. Plus, we came from two opposite ends of the Earth. Before, when we first met on that road trip to St. Louis, I feared he was falling in love with me. By then, I doubted he even saw me as anything beyond just a friend. But I so enjoyed the excitement of liking him and decided not to worry what would happen. How I wished that summer would last forever.

That July, he mentioned over lunch that he loved this lady, but wasn’t sure what to do because she lived in New Hampshire and he planned to move to Wisconsin in a few months for school. I assumed he referred to some Chinese woman who I’d never met, but he had known for his entire three years of school at the University of New Hampshire. After all, if he meant me, he would have said so.

I felt disappointed, but we were spending the whole day together in Boston and I didn’t want my feelings to get me down. I still felt honored he would share his deepest feelings with me, as if I were his younger sister. I felt so close to him and optimistically mused to myself that perhaps, once he finished with school in Wisconsin, he would come back and maybe something would happen then.

Later that day, while at the beach, I shamelessly devoured a large bowl of coffee ice cream he had bought for me. While my mouth was full of ice cream and he happened to be loading things into the trunk of his car, he suddenly turned to me and said, “You know I like you, right?”

At that moment, he was the most adorable creature I’d ever seen, and I was probably the most excited girl on the face of the Earth. I ran around the parking lot, squealing so loudly that the whole of New England probably knew what was happening. He just stood by his car the entire time, patiently waiting for me to calm down and smiling shyly. I talked non-stop the entire drive home, letting him know I’d liked him since Sam’s birthday party and blushing every time he lifted my hand up to his lips and kissed it gently.

Since then, much has happened including two road trips to Wisconsin, a trip to Florida, an engagement, and three weeks in China. The most amazing thing is that falling in love with him and surviving a full week longer in China than I did in Italy rekindled my dreams of doing missionary work overseas.

I never expected any of this. But I thank God for blessing me with such a wonderful guy and for not giving up on my dreams of international missions. I’m extremely excited to see what our next step will be, and can’t wait to marry him this coming July.

Kristen expected to marry an Italian guy and move to North Carolina. Life decided to take her in a slightly different direction.

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How did you meet? Why do you love him/her (or Chinese men/Western women)? How two different people “complete each other” in unexpected ways? We’re looking for a few good stories from Chinese men and Western women in love to share on Fridays. Submit your original story or a published blog post today.

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16 thoughts on “Double Happiness: A Chinese-American Christian Love Story

  • February 3, 2012 at 6:04 am
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    Omg this is the most heartwarming story I’ve read in a while. I think this couple looks perfect together, and I have very positive vybez from this story about this couple. You are perfect for eachother, wishing you so much happiness. xx

    Reply
  • February 3, 2012 at 9:22 am
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    Fantastic, as long as they dont go into the Pike County Church in Kentucky or similar churches down south or in Alabama. New Hampshire is way different from Idaho although both of them are mostly lily white…and Vermont is even better!

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  • February 3, 2012 at 10:17 am
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    Reading this story, I can’t help but think of the Chinese belief in 缘分 (yuan fen) or destiny/fate. What if Kirsten had liked Italy? What if he had told her that he loved her when she was not ready? What if they had not met again so soon at the crusade meeting? What if… Ha, ha. The bottom line is that some many things have to happen exactly as they happened … Of course it may all be down to just coincidence. But coincidence is a funny thing. What is it? I don’t know. Neither do I know what is yuan fen.

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  • February 3, 2012 at 10:18 am
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    Great story, especially since it sounds a lot like the story between me and my wife (except it happened while I lived in China).

    In response to the other David…have you ever been to Kentucky or Alabama, or are you just repeating stereotypes? My Chinese wife and I live in Auburn, Alabama, which is a university town, and my parents live in a very small town in North Alabama and go to a country church there. We have never had any problems with anyone criticizing our international marriage. Ever. In the university town or the small town which is basically Redneck City, USA. Sure, there are bad apples everywhere, but you don’t need to paint everyone in a large part of the US with the same brush. I had a Chinese professor here tell me that he got worse treatment in Ohio than he ever did in Alabama, but the NYC was the best place he had lived. There are ignorant rednecks everywhere, but don’t lump the rest of us in with them.

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  • February 3, 2012 at 10:34 am
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    “have you ever been to Kentucky or Alabama, or are you just repeating stereotypes?”

    Not sterotypes….

    http://www.kentucky.com/2011/11/30/1977453/small-pike-county-church-votes.html
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/15/interracial-couple-denied_n_322784.html

    I have been to all fifty states.

    “My Chinese wife and I live in Auburn, Alabama, which is a university town, and my parents live in a very small town in North Alabama and go to a country church there. ”

    Glad your experience has been good. May be it is not as good for AMWW couples. A college Volleyball white female coach in Birmingham and her Japanese executive boyfriend were literally run out of town from a suburban town. Things got so bad in 2009 that the car company sent the executive back to Japan…and the woman was from way up north, closer to the Canadian border like Kristen. May be they are more accepting of AWWM couples compared to AMWW couples down there..dont know but that could be happening.

    “I had a Chinese professor here tell me that he got worse treatment in Ohio than he ever did in Alabama.”
    Parts of Ohio and PA are about the same. There is a saying PA is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between.

    “There are ignorant rednecks everywhere, but don’t lump the rest of us in with them.”

    It is the matter of proportion and it is evident from their voting habits as in the case of the recent GOP primary in SC.

    Reply
  • February 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm
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    Thanks Kristen for your amazing story and the beautiful photo of you both. I wish everyone could experience love like you! Your story made me want to cry (and I am not an overly emotional type). You write so beautifully I think you need your own blog! And besides, we all want to follow you, see you get married, see you have children! 🙂 One observation I have, is that I find it interesting that he assumed you knew he was talking about his love for you. I am seeing this sort of ‘assuming’ in my own relationship, and also I am seeing it in many of the posts here on Jocelyn’s (awesome) blog. Is it related to shyness? Or is it more like a cultural trait… Or in fact both of these things? Anyway, cheers to you both. 🙂

    Reply
  • February 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm
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    Congrats to both of you. On the contrary, I’m hoping to meet someone who isn’t a Christian in any shape or form on the other hand. (Not trying to be rude, but I did date a guy who wanted to be an Episcopal priest and wanted me to convert, and I didn’t want to do it.)

    Reply
  • February 4, 2012 at 8:09 am
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    I am so very very happy for you both! Congratulations! I love the part where you have a mouthful of ice-cream when he told you he liked you and I loved the bit where your reaction was to run around the car park squealing even better. May there be many more “running around squealing with glee” moments for you both in your life together 🙂

    Reply
  • February 4, 2012 at 10:44 am
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    Haha, I am from New England. I am mainly Cajun, Irish, and Italian. xD

    “Kristen expected to marry an Italian guy and move to North Carolina. Life decided to take her in a slightly different direction.”
    I thought I was going to marry an Italian guy, myself! :O!

    I am very happy for you. 🙂 I can totally relate to this. I was nodding through the entire thing. I agree, you write very well.

    Reply
  • February 5, 2012 at 11:13 pm
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    that is great to hear the story)i have a friend who is working as priest ,his wife is also a christian American girl who lead him to God and help him for church,now they have a beautiful baby,wish the best to them,all of U)
    but it is pity that christian only marry to christian,atheist like me cant have the Yuan fen(destiny)

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  • February 6, 2012 at 2:15 am
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    @Blossom, I think the “assuming” is more a cultural thing. Chinese people indeed do not feel very comfortable to openly express their love. This has largely to do with the way Chinese children have been brought up in an environment where open expression of love and affection is frowned upon or at least not encouraged. Of course times are a changing and more and more Chinese families, at least here in Malaysia, are becoming more comfortable with open expressions of love and affection although that is to say comparatively only.

    Reply
  • February 6, 2012 at 11:52 am
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    One thing about this story…she never mentioned how both families took to their relationship.

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  • February 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm
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    Yay, you submitted it!! <3

    David: I'm a friend of Kristen's, and based on what she's told me I can confidently say both families are very happy and supportive!! 🙂 She and her parents are even incorporating parts of his culture into the wedding!

    Reply
  • August 8, 2012 at 6:24 am
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    Hi, your story is lovely!
    My name is Laura Banks and I am doing some research into interracial chinese marriages for my university dissertation. I would love to be able to use your story, would you be willing to fill in a survey for me? Thank you laura banks

    Reply
  • September 14, 2012 at 11:12 pm
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    I am just stumbling upon your post right now, the sweetness of your courtship brought a tear to my eye. Could you please come back and write another post with an update about your wedding and married life, maybe with a wedding pic or two? You two are an adorable couple.

    I also wanted to say I met my husband in Cleveland, OH, where I grew up. I never heard ANY negative comments about being married to a Chinese man. In fact, we remodeled our house last year and we had countless construction contractors in and out of the house (a group that would stereotypically be the ones to let racial jokes slip) -and they all ADORED my husband. They thought it was so cool that he was from China and asked a lot of questions about what it was like growing up here. Of course, not everyone has been so lucky, but just wanted to let people know not to be afraid of moving to less diverse areas.

    Reply

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