Dating in today's culture seemed like such a daunting task for me. I had a diffiuclt time meeting people I wanted to date, and an even harder time finding people to date who matched my Catholic-Chirstian faith. Friends even advised me to relax that standard a little and to be open to other people of different faiths. However, I knew in my heart (and God knew) that if I were to marry, that person would have to have a deep growing relationship with the Lord and be Catholic. A few years ago after getting out of a difficult relationship, a close friend of mine advised me to pray for my spouse, even if I didn't know him yet. Even while dating casually, I continued to pray for my spouse whereever he was and just prayed for God to prepare us for each other and lead us to each other in His perfect timing (those prayers started over three years ago, which can seem like eternity to a single woman!)
I was reaching a point where essentially I was getting tired of waiting patiently and not dating anyone. I went to church one Sunday morning and one of the readings was about Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac as the Lord commanded him. I've heard that reading many times before, however, that particular day, it spoke to me. I felt God was urging me to just surrender everything to Him, all my deepest hearts desires, and just follow Him. During that Mass, I prayed to God that I was accepting my circumstances of being single and that I had a willing heart to just follow wherever He wanted me to go. Ironically, as I prayed, there was a church bulletin on the pew in front of me and I spotted the advertisement for CatholicMatch.com. I was a bit conflicted, because even at that time, I was unsure if God wanted me in a relationship. But out of curiosity's sake, I logged onto their site that same day.
A short time later I officially got a subscription to Catholic Match (my older sister who is always looking out for me was also urging me to take that step). And to my surprise, a very young handsome man named Rob from Philadelphia contacted me and asked if I wanted to meet sometime. His subscription was going to expire the next day so he left his home e-mail. At first I thought that was just his marketing ploy (telling me his subscription was going to expire), but of course I still read his profile. Then re-read it. To be honest, I was hesitant. And I sat on his e-mail for almost a whole week. Why was I hesitant? Well, he was younger than me. He was still in school. He didn't have transportation. He didn't have a job at the time. I had a whole list of reasons not to meet him! However, his description of his faith experience and choice to convert to Catholicism kept me interested. So I prayed about it and God revealed to me that my reasons were selfish and that I needed to just trust Him.
Finally, I e-mailed Rob back, and to my disappointment, he already started dating someone! But a few days later, that didn't work out and he e-mailed me back to see if I would still meet him for coffee. I appreciated his honesty for not wanting to date more than one woman at a time and accepted his invitation. We wrote each other for about a week and talked on the phone prior to meeting. I found out prior to meeting him about his BiPolar illness. And that certainly was not going to stop me from meeting him…not wanting to date someone who is bi polar is like not wanting to date someone who is diabetic. And his openness about it helped me to learn more about him.
I was grateful that Rob found a way to come to Delaware and we met at a little coffee shop in the city of Wilmington. We spent most of the evening talking about our faith and exchanging our experiences of conversion. It was not typical first date talk and after that night I knew Rob was the one God had provided for me.
The following few weeks and months were a bit of a whirlwind, but the more time I spent with Rob, I knew he was the partner for life I had always hoped for. God knows me well, and God knows exactly what I needed. Five months after our first date, Rob proposed and we are now planning to marry in July of 2010. Needless to say, we are both grateful God used CatholicMatch to bring us together!
I joined the Catholic Church in college and have spent the last ten years discerning a call to religious life. In essence, I simply wanted to serve God with all my heart, strength, and soul, in whatever way that might look like. But I took to heart the words of St. Paul: "it is better for a man not to marry," and felt that it was the Lord's will that I serve Him as a celibate monk.
In December of 2008 I made a leap of faith and formally petitioned to join the contemplative Benedictines of Christ in the Desert Monastery in New Mexico. To my great disappointment, I was told by the Abbot (whom I had stayed in touch with since my initial visit in 1999) that I was not a suitable candidate due to my diagnosis of bi-polar disorder. It was a great blow to my idea of what God had in store for me, and I felt, in some way, that He did not want me working in His vineyard, and that as a person with a mental illness, I was "damaged goods." I just hoped that God was going to open another door somewhere else, since He seemed to have slammed this one in my face!
A priest in college told me to pray often for your future spouse (even if you don't know her yet), so I spent a lot of time in Adoration doing just that. I joined Catholic Match a few years ago in the hopes of keeping the door open to a relationship with a woman of faith, if this was what the Lord had in mind, while I discerned my vocation. I dated on and off during this time, and had a number of serious relationships, but none that felt "right." My faith does not fit into a neat little box, and this was something I felt hesitant about in my efforts to meet other Catholics. More than anything, I wanted to connect with someone who accepted me for who I was…a sinner in need of God's mercy, compassion, and friendship.
In February of 2009 I met Debbie on Catholic Match. I borrowed a car and drove down to Wilmington to meet her. I am very sensitive to a person's energy, and when we met I immediately felt comfortable in Debbie's presence. She was kind and calm and radiated goodness and sincerity. We spent the night in the coffee shop sharing our conversion stories, and just getting to know one another.
We continued to write and talk on the phone, and I got a car so I could see her on a regular basis. We went for walks and discussed the implications my illness might have for our relationship. I felt so humbled and honored that Debbie saw all of me, not just the good parts, and accepted them lovingly. As time progressed and things got more serious, I began to reflect more on the Creation story, how Adam longed for a "suitable partner" to go through life with. The more time I spent with Debbie, the more I realized I had found that suitable partner–"bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh." She felt the same way, and we are now looking forward to serving God together as husband and wife when we celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony in July 2010. We know it will not be an easy road, but we have faith that God will give us what we need to have a successful marriage. We are both grateful for Catholic Match and the opportunity to have met through what seems to be a quality website where the Lord can work His mysterious, awesome ways!