Online dating wasn’t something that was working for Shirley. It had been 10years since her divorce and all she’d found was people not interested in serious relationships, or who had diametrically opposed values. She was reaching the conclusion that being single was in God’s plan for her.
He intervened through the advice of a co-worker, who recommended trying an online site that was conducive to her faith—“Give it at least a year and don’t give up,” was the keynote piece of advice as she signed up for CatholicMatch, having seen the ad in her parish bulletin.
The one-year timetable wasn’t seriously tested. It only took a few weeks for John to find her with an emotigram. She responded with a message and that initiated deep written correspondence. “We filled many pages of writing over the next month,” she recalled.
Subsequent telephone contact continued to go well and led to a date at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the following week went hiking through Elephant Rocks State Park. At Mass afterwards, John told Shirley that he was truly smiling for the first time in years.
After several months of dating—which included a shopping excursion where they “happened” to stop at a jewelry store and look at engagement rings, John took Shirley to dinner at a nice French restaurant.
She was convinced a proposal was in the works and waited anxiously throughout the meal, observing him put his hand in his pocket, but take it out empty.
Her hopes were restored when he asked her if she wanted to go for an open carriage ride—but when they stepped out of the restaurant, a heavy rain rendered that impossible. “My spirits were as damp as my hair,” she told CatholicMatch. As they drove back to his house, she tried desperately to hold back the tears.
They sat on the sofa together, and she couldn’t help but observe that he looked as disturbed as she was. Finally a tear fell, but at the same moment he moved to one knee and finally got the proposal out. And he pulled out a diamond solitaire ring that she loved, but presumed too expensive. “I got the man and the ring of my dreams in one night.”
Shirley and John had challenges ahead of them. Both had their previous marriages annulled and her mother fell ill and passed away. The wedding had been slated to be on her birthday in September, but after her passing they changed the date and other parts of the wedding plans. “John was my comfort, joy and strength throughout,” Shirley said.
And that co-worker who was the first step in making it possible? He and his own wife were happy guests at the wedding that took place this past November.