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From the archives: From a first date to a family tradition, North Texas couple marks milestone at Chili's

A fast-casual date night 12 years ago has become a family tradition for the Friars.

MCKINNEY, Texas — Editor's note: This story was originally published on Sept. 9, 2018. It re-aired on Oct. 8, 2020.

They met at a Chili's in Dallas, and the rest was history. History that Stephen and Christina Friar make it a point to repeat.

"Everybody asks us 'How'd you guys meet?' And we're like 'Oh, man, we'll tell you," said Stephen.

The year was 2008, and it started with Christina.

"I was a sports reporter in Sherman which was the right place to start my career," she said. "I was like, 'I don't have any friends, let me make some friends,' so I added like 200 friends on MySpace."

Back then, online dating wasn't what it was now. As for who she requested, a newly graduated college athlete in Plano made the cut. Stephen didn't know Christina, but messaged her anyway.

"[I said], 'Your page looks pretty cool' something like that, I can't remember," said Stephen.

"Something cute and lame," Christina said.

Still, she messaged back. After some time talking back and forth, it came time to meet in real life – and they wanted to keep it casual.

"I was like, want to meet at Chili's?" said Stephen. "Everybody likes Chili's."

Their love story started with a great first date.

"It was wonderful!" said Stephen.

"Yeah, It lasted for 4 hours," said Christina. "We just stayed and talked the whole time."

A year later, they were still talking, and Stephen had an idea.

"I'm like, 'Wouldn't it be cool if we just went back to the same place and wore the same stuff?" he said. "You know I still have the shirt."

On the anniversary of their first date, Stephen and Christina went to the same Chili's, in the same outfits, and in the same booth took a picture holding up one finger. With that, they started a tradition. Year two, they were engaged!

"Oh yeah, we're all tan, he's all extra, extra chiseled," said Christina. "You can tell, we are trying to get married!"

Year three, the couple has a baby on the way, but that's the only thing that's different.

"You get the Southwestern Eggrolls, and I get the Chicken Crispers," said Stephen.

"And we have to get the same thing every time!" Christina said.

Then came Jaden, in the next year's photo. Then Steele. There was a year with just the four of them, but the Friar family kept growing. Solomon joined year eight, then nine. Year 10, Christina was still pregnant with now four month old Jordan.

"Oh, now I have a baby. Oh, now I'm pregnant again. Oh, I had a little break. Oh, and I'm pregnant again! Just to keep scrolling through cracks me up," said Christina.

"Just looking back now it's like 'Oh, wow," said Stephen. "We went there by ourselves, as two wandering souls and then now we have six of us!"

A decade of the Friar's, that believe it or not, built that first date into the foundation of their relationship.

"We do play around, like, we try to redo the same conversation and all that stuff but we also look at 'Hey what do we think God wants us to do in the next year? What's the state of our marriage? How are we doing? How did the last year go?" said Christina. "So it's kind of a nice reflection time too, in between the kids screaming for more food!"

Who knew that Chili's would serve as their touchstone.

For that reason the couple will keep those out of style black and blue shirts, Chicken Crispers, and their table on the west side of that restaurant to keep capturing a family portrait that's uniquely theirs.

"I just imagine our family continuing to grow," said Christina. "Not any more kids but as they get older and taller and stuff. Then I'm like 'Wow, how cool will it be in 25 years when my daughter's husband comes…a big 'ol family. It'll be cool!

WFAA told Chili's about the Friar Family and they sent them a gift card to help celebrate their 11th anniversary in 2019.