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Love proves to be the best cure of all


You might say that the love story between Martina and Chris Monroe is just what the doctor ordered.

In this case, Martina was the doctor, and Chris was the one who put in the request.

It all started in 2008, when Chris’ mother was a patient of Dr. Martina Benfield, a family practitioner at Hoke Family Practice in Raeford. Fannie Monroe had been raving about her doctor, so much so that Chris decided to drive from his home in Greensboro to accompany his mother on one of her appointments.

It was love at first sight.

“She walked in the room, and I said to myself, ‘That’s going to be my wife,’” he said.

“She gave Mom another appointment, 90 days out. I couldn’t wait to see her again.”

After the second visit, Chris decided he wasn’t about to wait another 90 days until his mother’s next appointment. He told the good doctor that he needed to speak with her about something and asked for her phone number.

“I’m totally in professional mode, and I’m thinking it’s medical,” Martina said. “I’m thinking he needs to talk to me about Mom and didn’t want to talk in front of her.”
She gave him her office number and set an appointed time for him to call. Her nurse, who happens to be a close friend, was standing at her desk listening along with her when Chris called to say he needed a prescription.

“Sir,” Martina said, “I don’t give prescriptions to people who aren’t my patients. A prescription for what?”

To which Chris replied: “For this crush I have on you.”

Martina, a single mother, was cautious, both from a personal and a professional standpoint. But then again, it wasn’t as if Chris himself was her patient. And he seemed like a really nice guy. The two decided to embark on a friendship.

“The next time we talked, we realized how much we had in common,” she said. “I just felt good in my spirit about this person. We just continued our friendship into the next year.”

The two found that they shared a strong Christian faith. They both liked sports. Both had loved and lost. Chris bonded with Martina’s young daughters, Tiffani and Taylor.
In October 2010, Chris got down on one knee and came up with another good line.

“I don’t want to be your friend anymore,” he said. “Will you marry me?”

The two were married in October 2010 in a ceremony in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. Among the family and friends who stood beaming alongside the happy couple were Martina’s mother, who lives in Washington, D.C., as well as Chris’ mother Fannie Monroe, the one who started it all, and Martina’s daughters. Tiffani, now 20, is a junior communications major at East Carolina University. Taylor, 19, is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“If you ask them, they will say, ‘When we get married, Chris Monroe is walking us down the aisle,’” Martina said.

Yolanda Wilson, Martina’s close friend since their high school days, also was there as an attendant as her husband, Dale, a minister in Charlotte, performed the ceremony.
“They are dear, dear friends of ours and a beautiful family of faith,” Yolanda said.

“Their value systems are very similar: Helping others and serving God.”

Martina now works at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Raeford, and Chris, retired from the military, owns a janitorial company. Fannie Monroe, who had a feeling about those two all those years ago, died in the summer of 2020 at age 83.

And love endures.

“Our belief is that people who want to be married will stay married,” Martina said. “Our faith is the driving force. We believe in putting one another before each other.”