Insta-Love Built to Last
Instagram is responsible for giving Kristen and Chris’ relationship a running start. Not surprisingly, Instagram is the official unofficial dating app. People don’t ask for your number anymore. They ask for your IG name. Instagram proved to be the key to finding forever for Kristen and Chris.
Kristen and Chris met at a day party at a local bar in Washington, D.C. Kristen was with her girl, Chanell, checking out her favorite DJ. Scanning the scene, she spotted Chris at the bar with his friend and fraternity brother, Kenny. Kristen and Chanell made their way over to Chris and Kenny, introduced themselves, and started chatting. Chris spotted Kristen even before she spotted him. He knew he needed to talk to her, so it was a pleasant surprise when Kristen and Chanell approached them.
Initially, Chanell - outgoing and fun - did most of the talking while Kristen remained cool. Chris and Chanell realized they had mutual friends and eventually they exchanged Instagram handles. Seeing Kristen’s more reserved demeanor, Chris didn’t think she was into him, so he bought a round of shots to loosen her up. Soon, the two started discussing the bar food as Kristen inquired about the mac n cheese (a delicate cuisine that can’t be trusted if made by your average Joe). Every Black person knows, all mac n cheese ain’t created equal. It’s levels to this ~ish. But Chris vouched that his Virginia roots made him a connoisseur of good soul food. The two bonded over their blackness and were off to a good start.
Soon, the foursome parted ways to keep enjoying the party. But Chris wouldn’t let that be the last time he spoke to Kristen. Putting his Instagram stalking skills to work, Chris went to Chanell’s page, searched her friend list (of which there were thousands), and found Kristen’s profile. Since her page was private, he hit request, and hoped to see her again. That evening, Kristen accepted his friend request, slid in his DM, and Chris promptly asked her out.
Kristen says her interest really peaked for Chris during their first and second dates. Things were easy between them and she felt like she could be herself completely. On top of common interests, Chris was very consistent, always making a plan for the next time they’d see each other. Kristen trusted that he would keep showing up. Chris’ peak moment came when he shared his first kiss with Kristen. It was June 24th and the two were at Shakespeare in the Park. The kiss felt really special and Chris knew that he wanted to pursue Kristen in a real way. More than just kickin’ it - more intentional than that grey area that we have all fallen into once (or twice, or three times) in our lives.
So, why did Kristen and Chris choose each other? Kristen shares, “I chose Chris because I felt like I could be 100% myself around him. I struggled with that in dating. I felt very self-conscious with other men but not with Chris. He listens to me and has my best interest at heart. He knows how to be supportive and unconditional in his love - no matter what. It’s worth it to know that I have somebody that has my back no matter what. People often get caught up in the look of relationships and marriage but not the background of what goes into creating what people see. I’m glad I have the real thing with Chris.”
Chris shares, “It’s hard to pick a particular reason. I felt it when we were dating - in our conversations - and even into our serious relationship. She felt like the other half. She felt completing and I couldn’t imagine not having her in my life. I am happy when she’s genuinely happy and carefree. I love being a part of moments that bring her joy, especially when she’s smiling, comfortable, and being herself. I was someone who wasn’t sure I’d get married because I didn’t know if I’d find the person I wanted to be around forever. But when you find it, it’s just right - even though it’s not what you thought it would be. ”
Kristen and Chris have found joy in the traditions they’ve created together in their relationship. They stay in, cook on certain holidays, and travel to Los Angeles to visit Kristen’s family every year. These traditions have become their unique fingerprint- the markings of what makes their relationship special.
To build their way to forever, Kristen and Chris have also had to become intentional about how they communicate with one another. Kristen is an introvert while Chris is an extrovert. There are times when Chris is more social and Kristen is more to herself. At times, this dynamic creates a balance and other times it clashes. To create more harmony than harm during their next chapter as husband and wife, Kristen and Chris attend pre-marriage counseling and have learned to give and receive feedback from one another. Counseling has given them tools to communicate effectively when something hasn’t gone well and what they want to do differently. Kristen has learned that Chris’ criticism comes from a place of love while Chris has learned to be more sensitive in his words to Kristen.
Kristen and Chris are weeks away from their nuptials and they have a few words of advice for those also looking for their forever. Kristen encourages people, especially women, to have patience. Work on your own timeline and don’t settle for something that’s not real. Wait for the person you can choose to love completely. Chris reminds people that the ability to find forever means having honest conversations with yourself so you can have honest conversations with your partner. Both Kristen and Chris say that relationships take work but that it should never completely drain you. Your relationship shouldn’t be something you’re always trying to make work. When it’s right, trust your gut and your heart. Commit to loving that person fiercely, no matter what. And use a counselor or professional third party to grow your love. Congrats to Kristen and Chris who found insta-love that is built to last!