When Ray Cooper and Brenda Golden first looked into each other’s eyes, it was love at first sight.
Somehow, they knew God had brought them together and that they would spend the rest of their lives as man and wife.
They made it official just two months later with a dream wedding, surrounded by friends and family.
“When he first looked at me,” Brenda said, “I knew I was home. I didn’t know what was happening, but he took my breath away.
“I had never believed in love at first sight,” she said, “but I do now.”
The Coopers say they met by accident, after being lonely for a very long time.
“I was a widow for 12 years,” she said. “And he had been single for two years. We were both on a dating website, but we had given up on ever finding anyone.”
Both Christians, the couple had found disappointment on the site and on one day in October, both decided to pull their profiles and give up.
“We both went on the site at the same time that day,” she said. “And we both thought we’d take one more look before we took our profiles off.”
That is when Ray saw Brenda’s photo.
“He said when he saw my profile, he thought, ‘this woman is something special.
“He had been praying so hard for God to send him someone,” she said. “When he saw me, he said he felt strongly that he should send me a message.”
Brenda said she was also praying, and then the message came through.
“He was very courteous,” she said. “We chatted all evening and then we exchanged phone numbers the next day.”
But a week went by before the couple actually talked on the phone.
“We just continued to email each other,” she said. “Finally, he sent me a message that said, ‘you’re adorable, may I call and hear your voice?’”
Already, the two had strong feelings for one another and found that they had much in common.
“We set up a date for dinner,” she said. “Usually, I would never allow someone to come to my apartment and pick me up.
“I prayed and prayed about it,” she continued. “I was asking God to tell me if it was right. I just wanted to know it was okay.
“There was something there,” she said. “So much trust.”
It was Saturday afternoon when Ray parked in front of her home and knocked on the door.
“I opened the door and we looked at each other,” she said, recalling the moment with a smile. “When our eyes met, it was literally love at first sight.”
Ray reached to hug her and Brenda said she stepped back and hesitated.
“I was just in awe,” she said.
“But that scared him,” she said. “I didn’t know until a few dates later. He said he had prayed all the way to my house. He had asked the Lord to show him if I was the right one when he looked into my eyes. So when I backed up, he thought I didn’t like him.
“But we knew down deep in our hearts when our eyes locked that we’d spend the rest of our lives together.”
The couple had a great time on their date.
“He took me to Ruby Tuesday,” she said, “and we talked and talked for about two hours.
“It was like we had known each other for years,” she said. “We were so at ease with one another.”
He drove her home and they talked for another hour or so.
“Before he got very far from my house that night,” she said, “he texted and said he had a wonderful time. He said, ‘may I call you tonight?’”
He did call, and he also asked for another date.
“The next day,” she said, “he took me to dinner and we just sat and looked at each other.”
“That’s when he told me he had prayed so hard for the Lord to show him if I was the one before our first date,” she said. “I said, ‘me too!’”
On the next date, Ray told her he felt lost without her – Brenda was falling fast.
“I felt the same way,” she said. “I felt like part of me was missing when he wasn’t there. He met my daughter the following Wednesday, and she just loved him.
“She told me, ‘Mom, there is something special about that man,” Brenda said. “She said she had not seen me this happy in 12 years.”
The next date was to an Alabama football game in Knoxville, Tennessee.
“He’s a Tennessee fan and I’m for Alabama,” she said, “but he’s a gentleman, so we sat on Alabama’s side.”
As they were standing by a gate at the stadium, Ray and Brenda began talking to another couple.
“They said they used to date many years before and they had lost each other and gotten back together, but they weren’t sure about getting married yet,” she said. “Ray told them not to wait.”
After three weeks of dating, Ray told Brenda there was something he needed to tell her.
“He took both my hands in his and asked me to sit down,” she said. “I was so scared because I was already in love with him and I thought he was going tell me he didn’t feel the same way.”
Instead, he told her that he was an assistant minister with the First United Assembly Church of God, in Albertville.
“He was afraid to tell me he was a minister because he thought it would make me feel differently about him,” she said.
Instead, she was delighted.
“My pastor and his wife have such a good relationship,” she said. “I told him I had always wanted the opportunity to be a minister’s wife.
“He looked at me and said, ‘you know I’m in love with you, right?’ she said. “He said he was afraid to tell me because it was too soon. But I told him I loved him, too.”
Ray invited Brenda to his church the following Sunday.
“His church family opened their arms to me and just loved me,” she said. “That night, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
“I didn’t hesitate,” she said. “I said I would be honored to be his wife.”
Brenda also promised to be Ray’s helpmate, as the Bible describes a Godly wife.
“I said, ‘I will be by your side, and be with you wherever your ministry takes you,” she said. “He said he had no doubt in his mind; He knew God had put us together.”
On January 24, 2015, just two months after meeting, Ray and Brenda had a beautiful wedding ceremony.
“I cried for two whole days before the wedding because I was so happy,” she said. “Our kids and grandkids were there, and it really was my dream wedding.”
Her dress came from longtime friend, Amy Pierce, of the Beach Bungalow where she is employed.
“It was the perfect dress, but it was too small when I first bought it from her,” she said, “so I had to work hard so it would fit. I started working out at ‘Beach Babes,’ here at work and lost eight inches in two weeks. By the time the wedding got here, the dress zipped right up.”
Since the wedding, Ray has relocated to Scottsboro from his home in New Hope and commutes to his job in Huntsville.
“He said he likes it here in Scottsboro,” she said, “and we are very happy.”
The couple has some advice for others who may be looking for love and thinking of giving up.
“Don’t ever give up,” Brenda said. “There is someone for everyone.”
“God saves the best for last,” Ray said.
Brenda’s friend, Tami Thompson agrees. “They are precious together,” she said. “They’re like two teenagers. It was definitely a love worth waiting for.”