They Gave Love a Whirl
Shelia Wilson, Air Force chaplain, 56, and Tony Carter, Army veteran, 52, southern New Mexico
She: As a busy professional, I really didn’t have time to meet men. I was in my 50s and had never married.
I’m a chaplain and an officer in the United States military, so I wanted to make sure the man was the same rank as I was. I wanted him to be comfortable with me. I wanted someone to walk with me, not in front of me or behind me.
Out of nowhere, I found a website called faithmate.com. In August 2007, I put my profile on it. Tony and I started to look at each other online, and we began chatting. He had been in the service, including a four-year stint in field artillery. He was retired, which was a relief; if he’d still been on active duty, we would have had to stop immediately because of my rank. Later that month, Tony came to my church to hear me preach. What better place to meet someone than in a chapel?
After that, we had lunch and met again a few more times. Then we went to the Maryland State Fair together. We stopped at a booth where a rabbi was counseling couples, and the rabbi said to us, “How long have you two been married?” We looked at him like he was crazy.
Later we got on the carousel. As we were going around and around and up and down, Tony looked over at me and said, “Ms. Wilson?”
I said, “Yes, Mr. Carter?”
He said, “Will you marry me?”
I said, “Oh, sure, is this how our life is going to be? Going around in circles, going up and down all the time?” Then I said, “Yes.”
I already had my wedding dress. I had bought it four years earlier. I just knew it was the dress I would be married in.
He: I wanted to ask Shelia to marry me, and the rabbi helped me get my nerve up. After Shelia said yes, she and I walked around the fairgrounds, smiling the whole time.
On the way home, we picked our wedding date. I didn’t want to wait until spring, and she didn’t want to get married in the cold weather. So we compromised on October 27. The church was filled.
I told Shelia, “It’s a little late in life for us. We’re both in our 50s.” But I was so impressed with her. She talks more than I do, but deep down, she’s really an introvert like me.
One thing she did tell me: “You were well worth the wait.”