Michelle Hart asked God to send her a churchgoing man. She just never imagined how fully that prayer might be answered.
By 2010, Hart, an Alexandria native, was 40 years old and four times divorced — the most recent marriage a six-month “mistake” that had just ended. Still, she was ready for a lasting commitment. Her three children were in college, and she’d never soured on love.
“I wanted to come home to somebody. I didn’t want to be single again,” she says. “And I never looked at it as, ‘Just because I went through a bad apple that all men were like that.’ So that’s what kept me out there, still hoping to find the love I was looking for.”
When she found an offer to join an online dating service in her inbox that April, something stopped her from deleting it. A few weeks after signing up, she found the profile of Michael Morgan, a Capitol Heights man who claimed he could cook better than any woman.
“You think you can cook better than a woman?” she challenged in an initial message.
“I know I can,” he shot back.
They began chatting online, trading culinary tips and stories about their lives. Morgan was in the midst of a divorce and raising his young son, now 11. An instructor at a security company who also serves as social minister at his Baptist church, Morgan didn’t believe he could go out to the bars to meet women; moreover, he wanted God to choose his next mate for him.
“I’ve tried it my way, and my way didn’t work,” he remembers praying. “So now, I’m yielding to you and whatever direction you take it. If that’s who you send and that’s who you have for me, whether I like it or not, it’s your will. Let your will be done.”
After a month of nightly online chats, they began to speak by phone. In early July, they set up a date, but Hart got hung up helping an aunt and canceled at the last second. Morgan was upset and told himself he didn’t need additional drama in life, but something gnawed at him to give her a second chance. On July 4, he called and invited her to celebrate the holiday with him.
Hart was hesitant, but when he promised to fill her truck’s tank with gas, she agreed. At his home, she met his son, who teased her about being a Dallas Cowboys fan, and tasted Morgan’s homemade spaghetti dinner. “It was like being at a restaurant,” she recalls.
After watching the fireworks, she drove home thinking “that he was going to be my husband.”
“You know how you can instantly feel that that person is for you? I said, ‘Wow. Okay. Now it’s just convincing him, ‘cause he’s coming out of this marriage,’ ” she recalls.
Because his work schedule was so intense, they saw each other only once every few weeks but talked nightly by phone. Having experienced negative reactions in the past, he was afraid to tell her that he was a minister. “There’s a stigma automatically,” he says. “As a minister, you’re not human.”
In late September, she arranged for them to see a gospel concert at National Harbor. As BeBe and CeCe Winans sang “Lost Without You,” Morgan looked at Hart and choked back tears. “I felt emotional, and I felt God say, ‘This is the one you’re supposed to be with.’ And I looked and I was like, ‘Nah, it cant be.’ And He kept saying this was it.”
Morgan’s biggest reservation was that Hart was not a regular churchgoer, so he invited her to join him for worship the next morning. Just before they walked in, he told her he was the minister.
“I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ I felt insulted at first, because he should’ve told me this,” she recalls. “I prayed to the Lord for a churchman, and he sent me the minister. So there he is. God’s got jokes.”
After the service, Hart told Morgan she was upset that he hadn’t been fully open with her but that it didn’t change the way she felt. “I’m falling for you,” she said.
Hart, now 42, began attending Sunday services with Morgan. He continued to wrestle with concerns about the fact that Hart seemed to be at a different level of spiritual development, but every time he prayed about it, he felt more sure that they were meant to be together.
“I felt the love that she wanted to give someone and was willing to give. I just was a little hesitant because I’ve been burnt before,” he says. “But God told me to do it. He gave me my confidence.”
The following July 4, she went to his house to get ready for a party. After showering, she saw a card on a pillow. When she turned around, Morgan, who was on one knee, asked her to be his wife.
A year later, on Friday, July 6, they were married at Guildfield Baptist Church in Northeast Washington’s Brookland neighborhood. It was the first time Hart, who’d previously been married in courthouse weddings, wore a white dress and walked down the aisle to her groom.
When asked whether he took Hart as his wife, Morgan answered with a loud, triumphant, “I do!” After they exchanged vows, he picked up a microphone and serenaded Hart with Al Green’s “God Blessed Our Love.”
Now when Morgan prays he says, “Thank you. Thank you. I listened.”