(CNN) Jon's plane taxied to a gate at Los Angeles International Airport, and although he had been flying for 30 hours on a journey from South Asia to California, his heart pounded at the prospect of wrapping Katie, his fiancé-to-be, in a bear hug. In a week and half, Jon would put his grandmother's diamond ring on Katie's finger and the ring would be woefully too big. The oversight was not due to thoughtlessness on his part, nor a mishap at the jeweler. It was because Jon had never once held that hand in real life.
Katie, 24, is not a modern-day mail-order bride and Jon, 32, is not a moneyed lonely heart. The couple, who work as Christian missionaries and requested their last names not be published for security reasons, met online while she was in San Diego and he was on a mission in South Asia.
Two months prior to their October 2011 meeting in Los Angeles, Katie had sent Jon an e-mail, hoping to join his mission group. Jon, curious, had clicked through to her blog, which was replete with references to obscure devotional writers that he also admired. That initial contact led to months of e-mails and phone calls, costing Katie $600 in phone bills, culminating, at last, in their decision to meet in the flesh. Today the couple are happily married with a baby girl.
Their relationship may seem like an outlier at a time when the world is looking askance at online relationships. As we all learned last month, the Internet enabled Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o to fall for Lennay Kekua, a woman who does not exist. "Catfish," a popular new MTV series based on a movie by the same name, captures audiences with tales of online love that quickly devolve into lies.
And all over the Web, onlookers have been wondering: Is it possible to fall in love with someone you've never met?