This Is How We Met: Kristin Tennant's Story
This Is How We Met: Heatherly Sylvia's Story

This Is How We Met: Caleb Wilde's Story

I've enjoyed connecting with Caleb this past year partly because he's a funeral director. Anytime I can talk to someone in-depth about end-of-life issues without them thinking I'm a weirdo is a good thing. But Caleb is more than his profession. He's a deep thinker and theologian. Crazy smart, for sure. It's fun to finally hear how he met his wife and especially to get some insights regarding male dating behavior. Read and learn.

My grandfather sat me down, looked me square in the eye and asked, “Are you gay?”  I was 17 at the time. 

“No.”  I responded.  “I’m just choosing not to date.” 

I actually made the decision to be a non-dater before I made the decision to be a Jesus follower.  Non-dating made sense for me on a couple levels:

1.) I wasn’t very good around the opposite sex.

My only pseudo date came in the sixth grade when I had a friend of mine ask a girl out for me.  We sat together in a school assembly, didn’t talk or even share a glance, and she dumped me by day’s end.  If I were her, I would’ve dumped me too.

2.)  Even though I didn’t become a Christian until 15, I still thought it was rather good to non-date so as to lessen the amount of heartbreak in the world. 

I figured that most dating relationships ended.  And that most ended badly.  And being that I saw enough pain at the funeral home, I decided to not contribute to the mountain of pain the world was already carrying.

Looking back today, I’m certainly not the mini Joshua Harris that I was in my teens but I’m still glad I non-dated.  I was too awkward and I really do believe that I would have wasted time in the dating world … time which I used instead to pursue God.  I’d spend nearly three hours a day in Bible reading and prayer during high school.  And I still look back on those “monk years” with a real sense of fondness.

In fact, I was so monk-like in high school that I honestly thought I’d live a celibate life.

But that all changed when I met Nicki.

After high school, I joined YWAM (Youth with a Mission) and headed down to Tyler, Texas to start DTS (Discipleship Training School).  There was over 100 of us in the DTS from all over the US and all over the world.  And we were all there to pursue God.

At this time in my life, the only thing that really impressed me was a heart solely set on God. 

One night there was a group of people praying in a small chapel on campus and I heard Nicki pray.   And what I’m about say seems like it belongs on Acuff’s “Stuff Christians Like” because only a Christian would be turned on by listening to a girl pray.

Mind you, I wasn’t “turned on” in the sense of being horn ballish.  Rather, I was crushing on her … in a godly way, of course.

What I did was what any extremely introverted, overzealous young unmarried Christian would do: once I felt those feelings, I ignored her.  Yup.  Flat out ignored her.

By the time DTS had ended, I totally adored her.  I gave her a hug, said “goodbye” and simply assumed I’d never see her again.  I went home to Pennsylvania, she went home to Washington State and that was it. 

I was accepted into a YWAM teaching school in Texas.  She was accepted into a YWAM Bible school in Madison, Wisconsin.  And I grieved the loss of a person I really adored.

About two weeks before I was ready to head down to Texas, I received a letter of apology that stated I had been misinformed, that I didn’t have the proper prereqs to attend the teaching school.  And that my only real option was to go to the Bible School in Madison, Wisconsin. 

I was angry, at first.  And then, being the good Christian that I was, I started to think, “This must be the hand of God.”   Today, I look back and snicker at my naivety in understanding God’s providence, but I’m still glad I went to Madison. 

Nicki and I were – at random – placed in everything together.  We were assigned to the same kitchen duty to the same ministry, and even to the same campus house.

And so we started hanging out together.  Then we came to find out that Nicki’s dad was from Parkesburg (my hometown) and after he finished college, he moved to San Diego to become a Marine, where he met Nicki’s mom. We came to find out that Nicki actually had more family in Parkesburg than she had on the whole West Coast. 

One night I took her out to Pizzaria Unos, we sat down at a table and I started to cry.  I was so nervous.  At this point we had become great friends and I didn’t want to ruin that … but I loved her and I had to tell her.  After crying for what seemed like an eternity (we never even ate our pizza), I said (and I still have it memorized), “I think we should pray about the direction of our relationship.”

At that point she grabbed my hands.  She started crying.  And we left Unos as a couple with a doggy bag full of the pizza we had never touched.


Caleb Wilde is a sixth generation, licensed and practicing funeral director.  He holds a grad degree in theology.  You can find him on Twitter, on Facebook, at his blog, or at the Wilde Funeral Home, where he regularly writes awesome obituaries.