Meet Chris and Jacquelynn Dunn. These former WinShape staffers from Montgomery, Alabama are known in the WinShape Nation for being one of the cutest “camp couples” around. Though their time WinShape served as a major turning point in their relationship, their story began long before their first summer at Mt. Berry, in 2014.
“When we were in elementary school, we used to play yard ball and explore ‘the ditch’ for arrowheads with our neighborhood friends,” Jacquelynn remembers. “Our friendship continued through middle school where he discovered flip-flops, I discovered a hair straightener (thank goodness), and we ate lunch together. It wasn’t, however, until our Freshman year in high school when we rode the afternoon bus together that he started to become more than a family friend. The silly boy next door was now a cute, tall, and confident varsity baseball player. I had a crush on Chris from that day on.”
By the time the two were juniors in high school, the couple had developed a special bond, but hadn’t officially begun dating. It wasn’t until their homecoming dance, when Chris asked Jacquelynn to be his date, that the two shared their true feelings with one another.
“He walked up to my desk in 2nd period biology with a ripped out piece of notebook paper that had ‘Homecoming?’ scribbled across it,” she says. “He nervously held it open in front of me for a moment, set it on my desk, pretended to throw something away, and then returned to his seat a few desks behind mine. Awkward, but adorable — and I fell for it. After class I told him ‘yes’, and I confessed that I had been hoping he would ask me.”
This marked the beginning of what would be a year of becoming one another’s best friend. The two were inseparable; attending social events, sharing meals, and even completing school assignments together. “Chris has been my partner and best friend ever since,” says Jacquelynn.
However, the two made the decision to attend different schools after graduation, splitting them into two different states. The distance proved to be very difficult on their relationship, and the couple eventually split up in the second semester of their sophomore year of college.
That same year, in the summer of 2014, Chris and Jacqueline both worked for WinShape Camps in Mt. Berry, though they hadn’t made the decision to work for camp together. “We each decided to apply for summer 2014, but we like to think that even if we had never met each other before that we would have ended up at WinShape Camps together,” explains Jacquelynn.
Though the two were no longer dating, Jacquelynn believes that the Lord was preparing their hearts for one another that summer through the community of staffers and the theme for the summer. “Camp was the first time we both had a strong community of Christians surrounding us and who know both of us together. In fact, that was what the entire summer was about – being anchored in Christ by being connected to one another,” she says. “We learned the importance of including each other in our separate communities and how to build community. We left that summer understanding that we would have far less alone time, and we would be focusing on intentionally spending time with each other in community.”
The concept of community brought a new level of accountability and encouragement into their relationship through other members of the body of Christ. Jacquelynn believes that it was their newfound understanding of community that changed the dynamic of their relationship: “It rooted us deeper in Christ and held us together over those last two years apart.”
Along with their deeper understanding of the importance of community, the two were able to mature and grow separately in their relationships with the Lord; a key element to the success of their relationship that still plays a role today. “The Lord truly redirected our hearts away from each other and back to Him, and I believe this is why we were able to come back together in a new relationship.” After only 6 months apart, Chris and Jacquelynn got back together — and after dating for seven years, Chris proposed to Jacquelynn! It has been a year since the couple got married, and their love for one another is nearly impossible to miss. What is more, their love for the Lord is evident in the way that they love one another. Through their constant pursuit of Christ, Jacquelynn and Chris are able to love one another in a way that represents Christ’s love for them. This is what keeps them anchored in even the most difficult times. “Marriage is hard. Relationships are hard. Being rooted in Christ is the foundation that we always can return to,” she says. “Ultimately, Christ provides the common hope and reassurance that though there are trials we are never alone, we share a common purpose, and we can always forgive.” “Though it hasn’t always been easy, loving and supporting Chris is absolutely natural and unbelievably fun. I am forever thankful for the Lord blessing me with a history of friendship and love with a man that encourages me daily to become more like Christ.”