There’s so much richness and power in unifying with a romantic partner who shares your same culture and values. From Barack and Michelle Obama to Brittney and Cherelle Griner, it’s apparent that Black love is truly magical. Another love story just as magical is that of Noelle and Rian Goins. Not only is their story unique, but the couple met on the BLK dating app, which was created for Black singles looking to find love. While the relationship has now blossomed into a beautiful union, Noelle admits that she wasn’t initially excited to start dating again.

“I had just gotten out of a relationship in November 2020.  California was still on lockdown, and the thought of starting again and looking for love at 42 did not sound exciting. I had tried online dating in the past, knowing it wasn’t my ideal way of meeting men, but the pandemic forced me to reconsider that. I had always wanted to find my life partner, get married, and have a family," Noelle shares. "As a prayerful person, I asked God to please give me the patience, willingness, and receiving attitude to be open to meeting my husband anywhere at any time. Since some of the most beautiful things come out of the most unexpected times and moments, I thought, if there were ever a time I would least expect to meet someone, it would be online and in a pandemic.”

Before Mrs. Goins met the love of her life on the BLK dating app, she made connections with other men on other apps, but they didn’t lead anywhere. After about a month, the couple finally met.

“One night in December, I decided to research online dating apps for Black singles that I may not have heard of. I wanted to find something new and different. Somewhere on Instagram, a hashtag led me to the BLK dating app. I downloaded the app, made my profile, and began swiping," says Noelle. "From December to January, I swiped on, and I matched with quite a few great guys. Some were conversation only; some led to FaceTimes or Zooms, and at least two led to actual dates and outings. Rian and I matched on January 11th.”

Noelle and Rian Goins. Image: Courtesy of Noelle Goins.

While getting to know one another person in the digital space, she immediately noticed that she and Rian had multiple commonalities. However, what she loved the most about him during that time was his willingness to show up for her as she completed a personal goal.

“I immediately noticed his positive energy; he was silly like me, family-oriented, into staying in shape, and loved God. At the time, I was on my New Year’s cleanse of no alcohol, no meat, and no dessert or fried foods. I told him that I would end my cleanse on Valentine’s Day and that no matter if I took myself out or if someone else took me out, I would have a steak, wine, champagne, and dessert. He then proposed making dinner reservations at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and said he wanted to be the one to end my cleanse! I mean, we hadn’t even gone on the first date yet, I hadn’t even given him my number yet, and he was already planning," explains Noelle. "He said, ‘Hey, it’s no pressure. If we are still communicating, then we have a date on February 14th. If not, it’s only a reservation.’ I really loved that about him.”

What stood out most to Noelle during the courting process was his celibacy, something she hadn’t encountered with previous partners.

“The biggest thing that stood out about Rian was that he wanted to be celibate until marriage. I had never met a man who told me he wanted to wait for sex before marriage. I admit my first thought wasn’t, ‘wow, what a great guy,’ but it was a bit more skeptical instead for so many reasons. But because we communicated so much and talked about everything with such transparency, I got to know why he had decided at this point in his life, and I couldn’t do anything but respect and admire that," she continues. "Then, when we had our third date, he told me there was something he wanted to ask me, and it ended up being to be his girlfriend. That was when he told me he was in love with me and that he believed I was his future wife.”

Soon after, Rian transformed his belief into action with the help of their mothers and Noelle’s best friend. 

“Rian and I dated once a week every week, and then it upped to twice a week. Even though we both met the other person’s parents on FaceTime, Rian threw a family BBQ at his parents' house so that all of his siblings and their spouses could meet me, and I invited him to my niece’s pre-K graduation in Vegas, so he could meet all of my family in person. When my birthday came in June, a girl's trip to St. Maarten turned into five women and my boyfriend's trip, in which he surprised me with a beautiful proposal on my birthday that I couldn’t believe he pulled off," shares Noelle. "My mother, his mother, and my best friend helped with the engagement ring. The fact that Rian even survived a girl's trip showed me he was truly husband material.”