Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
Elizabeth, 29, and Samuel, 29, have been dating for eight months. Today on Love Life, they talk about meeting at work, deciding to date despite the threat of long-distance and getting engaged after one month of dating.
What’s your earliest memory of each other?
Samuel: I was working at Scarborough General Hospital in June 2021 when they brought this fine lady to work with us as a locum doctor in care of the elderly unit. I recognised her from the picture of her I’d seen on Twitter the week before. I knew I liked her already. She looked so beautiful. I was to show her around and make sure she settled in fine.
Elizabeth: I remember meeting him at the hospital. He had a full beard and I thought he looked cool. I was to shadow for a few days until I knew my way around the hospital. Apparently, he was the nice doctor in the hospital — the one they can call on for extra shifts when someone calls in sick.
What was working with Mr nice guy like?
Elizabeth: He was quite helpful and very kind. I followed him around the ward. I watched how he prepared the notes before the consultant came, where to run bedside tests, how to call attendants on the system and everything else. He showed me which nurse is likeliest to succeed in cajoling a patient to take their meds, which needles to use for the best likelihood of getting the blood, which ward has the most efficient side lab so you don’t have to run the test twice.
I learned a lot in the short period of time I shadowed him.
Did you continue working with him?
Elizabeth: No, but he continued to check on me to make sure I was okay.
Samuel: I liked her so many times I’d strategically put myself in spaces where I know she’d be so we meet each other and talk for a few minutes. I made the most of those conversations because I wanted to spend more time with her outside of work but I didn’t want to be weird.
One day, she posted on her WhatsApp story that she was going surfing and I asked if we could go together. She said she was going to Nottingham.
Elizabeth: Nothing happened between us until July when my contract was about to expire. Around this time, the hospital organised a ball for the doctors that were leaving the hospital. I noticed Samuel wasn’t wearing a ring like some of the other doctors so I asked if he was going to be there.
Samuel: I said no because I didn’t have anyone to go with.
Elizabeth: I wanted to go to the ball and he was kind of my only single friend at the time so I asked him to go to the ball with me.
Samuel: See, I bought a new suit and a new pair of shoes for the ball. I wanted to impress her. I felt like it was my one shot at her.
Samuel: Because I was also leaving the hospital for Chesterfield. I wanted a chance with her before I left.
Did you get your chance at the ball?
Samuel: Yup. On the day of the ball, I went to pick her up at her house. She wore this stunning purple dress and the first thing I said was, “Wow. Can I ask you if you are single?”
Elizabeth: Yes but he said I looked taken, which was funny to me. The ball went well. Before the end of the night, he asked me out on a date.
Samuel: I took her to the restaurant where we had dinner. There, I told I liked her and I have since I met her. She had the six qualities I wanted in a woman: beautiful, intelligent, ambitious, trustworthy, reserved and respectful. I told her I’d like to date her with the intention of marrying her.
Elizabeth: I didn’t think he was serious because we’d been together for two months at this hospital and he didn’t say anything until we were both leaving. The worst part was that we were going to different cities — I was going back to London, and he was going to a city two hours away.
Samuel: I asked her to give me a chance and I’ll make it work. I told her I’d make the trips as often as I could.
Elizabeth: I was sceptical but I said, “We’ll see.” I moved back to London in July and we kept in touch. Talking to him was nice. We talked about what we want to do with our lives — short and long term. We talked about what our understanding of Christianity is. I attend Deeper Life Bible Church and he attended Redeemed Christain Church of God. I loved that we both know God for ourselves outside of what we’d been taught in church or at home. We also learned each other’s love languages and how to express them, our hard asks and things we don’t want to compromise on with our partners.
Samuel: I liked talking to her. She was receptive to me and treated me as if we were already dating. She’d text and call every day to make sure I was fine and so did I. I was waiting for her to say yes.
Elizabeth: Yes, I did. Let me tell you how it happened. In September 2021, I invited him for my friend’s surprise birthday because I wanted to see how he’d fare with my friends.
Samuel, did you fare with her friends?
Samuel: I did, if I do say so myself. Her friends are interesting people so I did okay blending in. She was one of the organisers so she left me a couple of times to make sure the party was going smoothly.
A few days after the party, we went to a terrible brunch in London and I asked her out again. This time, she said yes.
Elizabeth: He called his cousin, jumped out of the car and screamed, “E don happen, e don happen!” I was shocked to see someone that excited because I said yes. We’ve been dating for eight months since then.
Gist me. What’s a relationship between two doctors like?
Samuel: She’s the first doctor I’m dating in the UK and I thought it’d be boring but it’s like any other relationship except the doctor understands you better. Also, a doctor knows how to support you better, instead of the generic “Baby, everything will be fine.”
Elizabeth: I agree. It’s nothing like I had assumed. I love that there’s a mutual level of intelligence between us. When I talk, he knows what I mean. Aside from medical stuff, we do our bible study plan together and talk about our day. Our gist has no format — it’s continuous and there’s never a dull moment with us.
Samuel: One of the reasons our relationship is so good is the relationship classes we took at the beginning. We learned how to communicate with each other and be better lovers. We’ve only been together for eight months but the work we’ve done in this relationship is like three years of dating.
The month after we started dating, we told our parents about each other. He came to my house and met my family. My parents asked him many questions, about where he is from, what he does, his faith in Christianity and what church he goes to. In the end, my mum had no issues with him and neither did my dad.
Samuel: I told them there and then that I had the intention of marrying their daughter.
How did they take it?
Elizabeth: They prayed for him and gave us their blessings. We were practically engaged from that day, but he still found a way to surprise me with a proposal.
Tell me about it.
Samuel: I proposed in January 2022. We were only four months into the relationship, but I was sure I was going to marry her.
Elizabeth: I wanted to know when exactly he’d propose so I’d be ready.
Samuel: She disturbed me until I told her it was going to be during our Valentine’s getaway trip to Dubai. When I gave her a date, she calmed down but I still wanted to surprise her. For her birthday, she travelled to Mexico with her siblings. When she returned, I asked her on a date. Unbeknownst to her, I had planned an engagement party with her friends. We rented a hotel which they decorated with flowers and invited people close to her. I took Elizabeth to a restaurant and when we were done, I told her I wanted to make a quick stop at the hotel.
Elizabeth: I was so surprised to see the hotel decorated. By the time I turned to Samuel to explain, he’d gotten on one knee asking me to marry him. Just when I was thinking about telling my siblings and friends, the door opened and there they were. It was one of the happiest moments in this relationship. Afterwards, we went to Dubai and had a wonderful time.
Since the official engagement, has anything changed about your relationship?
Elizabeth: Church has been a serious challenge. My church was not so happy about our relationship. I have been a member of the church for a long time. I’m a choir member and a youth leader so there’s this kind of ownership they feel towards me. When I told my pastor about Samuel in October, they said they won’t marry me to him because he doesn’t look Christain enough. He has an afro and a full beard. These are things I adore about him but it was problematic for the conservative minds of the marriage committee.
Samuel: During the preliminary meeting with the marriage committee at her church, they asked me if I noticed any difference between my church and hers. I said, “Not much but Deeper Life is stricter.” That didn’t go down well with them.
Elizabeth: It was a challenge for a couple of months. Samuel and I kept praying about it. I stood my ground and eventually in April, they let us start church courtship.
Tell me about the biggest fight you’ve ever had.
Samuel: We’ve had disagreements. During arguments, we’re almost always ready to shift grounds. If one person has a strong case, the other person concedes.
Elizabeth: It’s all about finding a middle ground and so far, it’s worked for us.
Love that for you two. What attracts you both to each other?
Samuel: Is that a real question? Have you seen this woman? She’s so beautiful. Beyond the physical, she’s super intelligent and ambitious.
Elizabeth: I love that he’s funny. I’m always laughing when I’m with him. He’s also a reasonable person and very supportive of me and my endeavours. Samuel is always trying to make sure I’ve revised my notes or checking on my to-do list. I love how involved he is in my life. He’s my number one cheerleader.
Aww. Rate this relationship on a scale of one to ten.
Samuel: It’s a 10. I have everything I could want in a relationship.
Elizabeth: It’s a 10 for me too. There’s nothing that I want to add to this relationship. It’s perfect for me.
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