Erin and Sheldon

How We Met

Although Sheldon and I were in our early twenties before we began dating, close friends and family would say that they’ve known there was “something between us” since we were kids. Our parents knew one another from church and Sheldon and I attended middle and high school together. We became the best of friends (yes, JUST friends) during high school and our friendship was sustained by regular phone calls and occasional visits throughout our collegiate and postgraduate years. We had a front row seat to each other’s lives and watched one another grow individually, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. We left our teens and matured into adults together. Then one phone call changed everything. In the spring of 2011, while miles apart (I was in Gainesville, FL in graduate school and Sheldon was in Fort Lauderdale, FL working), Sheldon called me and professed that he had “more than friends” feelings toward me. Although he recognized that our friendship could be risked, he was so sure of his feelings that he expressed his desire to pursue a relationship with me. Shocked, I immediately called by girl bestie, Colleen, and shared with her my skepticism about a possible relationship with Sheldon. Let’s just say I was much more hesitant than Sheldon to acknowledge my feelings and pursue a relationship with him for fear of potentially losing my best friend (if we failed to work as a couple).

Needless to say, Colleen convinced me that Sheldon and I were a perfect match and would make a great couple. She was right! (hashtag #MeantToBeMcLean) After much prayer (and my bestie’s approval) Sheldon and I finally decided to take our friendship to the next level and began dating in April 2011. Since that day, Sheldon has been so intentional in expressing his love for me, respecting me, and caring for me. The past several years of our relationship has been an amazing reflection of God’s love for me. What’s so amazing is that even before Sheldon and I officially became a couple, I had always prayed that my husband would be a good-looking, hard-working, compassionate, God-fearing man who would love me as Christ loves me. And Sheldon’s presence in my life is a testament that God answers prayers. I am beyond blessed to be the recipient of his selfless and sacrificial friendship and love. Our young college years…

Erin's Proposal in Fort Lauderdale Intercoastal Waterway

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We graduated from Graduate School on the same weekend from rival universities! #GoUFGators #GoFSUNoles

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How He Asked

Having dated and been best friends for over a decade, of course Sheldon and I often discussed marriage, children, and the possibility of a long life together…all in God’s perfect timing. Because we know one another so well, I knew Sheldon was planning to propose some time this year, but after our engagement I discovered that Sheldon had been thinking about proposing far longer than even I knew. Because he knew that I had “hunches” about when the proposal would take place (for example, on the beautiful sandy beaches of Jamaica where we had recently vacationed), he later expressed the difficulty in creating that “surprise factor” without being too obvious. Enlisting the help of my sister and our best friends, Sheldon thoroughly planned a proposal during my birthday weekend that would be an unforgettable surprise! Before I get into the proposal details, there are two things (besides my fiance’, of course) that I absolutely LOVE: 1) my birthday celebrations and 2) the 90s television sitcom, Martin. Well, my amazing fiance’ managed to perfectly incorporate both into a memorable marriage proposal!

On Saturday, May 27, 2017, the day before my birthday, Sheldon charted a boat for what I thought was an intimate sunset picnic for the two of us on the Fort Lauderdale InterCoastal Waterway. Little did I know, Sheldon had my sister, my niece, and our best friends (all who had flown in to participate) hiding on the boat, each appearing as they reenacted the scene from Martin where he proposed to his girlfriend. The proposal included a beautiful sunset, one dozen long-stemmed white roses, champagne, and a gorgeous ring he chose just for me! It ended with Sheldon on one knee, detailing how he had prayed for me, for us, and more importantly how he knew God designed us for one another. In the midst of laughter, tears, and Gerald Levert’s “Made to Love You,” Sheldon asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.

I nodded repeatedly and shouted, “Yes!” The evening ended with a surprise engagement dinner with all of our closest family and friends at the Ritz Carlton. Not only was my proposal a surprise, but it was thoughtful, well-executed, hilarious, sweet, and captured on video! For me, it was EVERYTHING, truly the best birthday gift that I could have ever prayed for. Sheldon is truly my best friend, my complement, my greatest supporter, my prayer partner, my travel companion, and now my future husband! I am immensely blessed that Sheldon was placed into my life and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with my best friend forever by my side. Get ready for #McLeanMatrimony in 2019! Our Trip to Jamaica…

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The Proposal…

The Engagement Dinner…