Swiping left and right for about six months was six months too long for Natan Kerendian.
Returning from South Korea in 2015 after six years of active duty in the Army, he felt restless and ready to meet someone.
Sure enough, not long after his father advised him that his time in the armed forces should be over and that he should think about settling down, a tall redhead popped up on Natan’s JSwipe screen.
Ashley Goldsmith’s cosplay costumes and unique personality seemed like something different, so Natan made the first move.
“How do you feel about a Southern Jewish boy with a Mississippi accent?” he asked in his message.
Ashley was just visiting Atlanta when they began communicating, so when they decided to meet, the couple agreed on a halfway point in Anniston, Ala. She brought her brother with her for security, and the couple hit it off. After realizing that her brother liked him (knowing he liked few of her dates), Ashley knew this was something special.
As the oldest of five children with parents who had a tumultuous relationship, Ashley often bumped heads with her mom. When Ashley could no longer live with her mother, Natan’s family made the decision to ask her to live with them.
His family quickly took a liking to Ashley, and the rest of his family made it clear they thought she was the one. Although Ashley said she knew Natan was the one for her on their second date, it wasn’t until about eight months in that he was convinced the relationship had long-term potential.
He started saving for an engagement ring. One year after they met, Natan proposed during a trip to the Georgia Renaissance Festival. Still wearing her Renaissance costume, Ashley accepted.
The Kerendians make a striking pair. Though both are Jewish by birth, Ashley is a tall, fair-skinned redhead, while Natan is Persian with a dark complexion.
Natan grew up in Toco Hills and moved around among family members as a child. He often had a hard time with school, and he dropped out at 18. After getting his GED and deciding college wasn’t for him, Natan began his career with the Army at Fort Benning.
Ashley had a more traditional upbringing and was very involved with Jewish life.
Although the two had very different beginnings, something that unites them is family. “We’re a lot like his grandparents,” Ashley said. “We support each other. They were equal partners, and that’s what we are as well.”
“And it’s worth it to push when things get hard,” Natan said. “You push through thick and thin. You don’t give up on each other. And we never will.”