Erik’s Engagement Diary: She Emailed Me


A longtime CatholicMatch member tells the story of his proposal

I had never read a profile like Allison’s.

I had been on CatholicMatch for nearly five years, and I was a few weeks away from closing out my account for good.

Since coming back to the faith in 2006 I had been trying to figure out which vocation God had in store for me. I had gone on a retreat to determine if God was calling me to the priesthood. I had gone to singles groups in various venues. I had signed up for a prominent secular dating site. I had wondered if I was meant for a consecrated life. I had prayed.

A lot.

Many times during the last year I had gone to sleep with the nagging thought that I was simply too set in my ways to be able to live in a marriage. I was saddened by the idea that I had somehow made myself unsuitable to ever marry. After all, I had never had a roommate. I had never lived with a woman, even in my pre-revert days. I hadn’t even had a relationship that lasted longer than five or six months. I felt defective, or maybe delusional.

Was I just being overly selective to the exclusion of someone God had chosen especially for me?

When I finally got a spiritual director he would sigh and slap his forehead every time I asked him, “Does she really have to be Catholic?” Or, “What if my faith was really strong, and she was just a really good person?”

Looking back I have no idea how I became comfortable with that idea or with the situation I was in a couple of years ago when I considered dating a woman who was an atheist. Sure, she was smart and kind and funny.

But an atheist? Seriously?

I remember one woman I was dating asking me, “Couldn’t Catholicism just be your thing and I can have my own thing? Like cooking or canning or something?”

Oy, saints preserve us.

One woman CatholicMatch matched me with told me she was on the site because her mother had recommended it to her. “I’m Catholic, but I’m not fanatical about it,” she had said.

That one stung. Was that how I was presenting myself? As a fanatic? Just for wanting to talk about the place our faith has in our lives…on a Catholic dating site? To someone I may end up being joined in the sacrament of marriage?

What was happening? If I was having trouble just bringing up the faith, what was going to happen when I said pre-marital sex was out?

So last Nov. 4, after visiting my mother in the emergency room (for what turned out to be a false alarm), I stopped off at my church to speak to the Blessed Mother. I wanted to offer thanks for all the things I possessed but had somehow become blind to. I wanted to thank her for all the graces she had obtained for me. I wanted her to pray for me so that I might know God’s will.

As I was kneeling there, I looked down and saw a small stack of prayer cards someone had left. I picked one up and saw that it was St. Raphael.

St. Raphael, patron of the blind.
St. Raphael, patron of happy meetings.
St. Raphael, patron of those looking for a spouse.

So I prayed: “St. Raphael, if God has someone for me, please bring her to me soon. And please pray that I don’t screw it up.”

The next day Allison contacted me on CatholicMatch.

I had seen her profile pop up in one of those “You Have New Contacts” emails from CatholicMatch. I had taken a brief look at her profile (her devastating smile was easy to see even in that tiny photo) and made a mental note to check it out in depth when I had more time.

When she saw that I had “Viewed Her,” she decided to take a chance and reach out to me. Her first email was brief and witty. I was immediately interested.

After reading her profile I emailed her back.

Then I mined her profile for more information. I was stopped in my tracks by the wonderful integration of humor, warmth and especially seriousness about the faith and what she expected of a Catholic spouse. I had hoped to find that level of devotion in someone for so long that I almost couldn’t believe what I was reading. I had waited to hear things like that, waited to talk about such things with someone on a date without being looked at as if I belonged in a monastery.

Frankly, it was as if someone had said, “You’re looking for a match? Why don’t you just shoot for the moon and describe exactly what you want?” And when I did, “Oh, yeah – we have one of those.”

I found myself poring over detailed and personal thoughts about whom she was and what she was looking for and muttering, “Check. Check. Check. Hmmmm…boy, howdy.”

I could not let her get away. I had to talk to her, as soon as I could.

 

 

 

Editor’s note

Check back next Sunday (Jan. 29) for the second installment in “Erik’s Engagement Diary.”






17 Comments

  1. Carmina-771160 January 22, 2012 Reply

    Very nice!! Ive always believed that there is someone special out there that God has set for you, you just have to ask for her or him in prayer and in God’s perfect timing, He will arrange for that wonderful meeting. It’s always nice to hear true stories or revelations like this. It’s encouraging! Thank you for sharing. :)

  2. Michael-692806 January 22, 2012 Reply

    Erik thanks a lot for posting this; much appreciated. I have often felt the same over the years ie feeling like a fanatic for having a regular prayer life and wanting to have my faith shape how I approach my work, leisure and social life. I think its just cultural that many catholics of my generation feel that to do so would be in some way over the top because most of us have had the bare minimum of catholic formation either at home, school or from our local parsh..
    Thankfully there is a large and growing pool of younger catholics who have been shaped by world youth days, catholic youth organisations such as Youth 2000, Taize etc for whom living their faith in an integrated way comes naturally and who socialise together and so find it less difficult to find soulmates.
    Regards Michael

  3. Shannon-530519 January 22, 2012 Reply

    I think we all pray for that someone special! God is never early or laye but always right on time. May God continue to bless you both!

  4. Ithro-543226 January 23, 2012 Reply

    I have enjoyed it so far, Erik… looking forward to the rest of the story. Thanks & God bless, Ithro

  5. Dawn-58330 January 23, 2012 Reply

    Excellent!! I’m so glad that you have found your future wife on CatholicMatch, Erik. I love it when God works that way. What a great story! I’m looking forward reading the second installment. Thank you for giving us all hope and a reminder to trust in the Lord.

  6. Veronica-773070 January 24, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story Erik. Very encouraging! God Bless you and your special someone =)

  7. Alexandra-549295 January 24, 2012 Reply

    Thanks Erik, for sharing this with all of us, so far Carmina, Michael, Shannon, Ithro, Dawn, we are all waiting to read the rest, and I personally have felt like you many times, I was raised as a cradle catholic, and I have worked on different ways to strength my faith, but some way some how, at times it seems, that there is no one out there for you, but then you go back and say it to yourself, “am ok, am on the best hands I could be, he knows better who & when” … so it is a positive thing, to see that you and your girlfriend, did came out successfully, it gives all of us more hopes to look forward : )

  8. Jo-813573 January 24, 2012 Reply

    I join my voice to the others, I really liked it too!, specially the intro.
    Thanks Erik, God bless!
    ;)

    • Elizabeth-753085 January 25, 2012 Reply

      Love your story, can’t wait to read more! what a wonderful journey. thanks for sharing that anything is possible and not to give up on your beliefs and what is important to you!

  9. Carmina-771160 January 26, 2012 Reply

    I hope to read more of your love story with Allison. God bless you both!! Your love story and wonderful meeting trully inspires us to trust in the one God who is the best writer of all love stories in the world. I am simply praying and waiting for Him to write my love story too and to unfold it to me in His own perfect time.
    Again, God Bless you both! :)

  10. Marie-731748 January 29, 2012 Reply

    Very happy for you both! The time of the Lord is perfect! God Bless!

  11. Andre-713286 February 3, 2012 Reply

    Now Erik, that’s a story I can connect to!
    longing
    learning
    improving
    not finding
    falling
    losing hope
    re-starting
    hoping in God

    thanks a ton for sharing! Looking forward to the continuation!

    ~Andre

    • Anna-671172 February 7, 2012 Reply

      This is truly inspiring Erik. Just when you thought you´d never find her…Saint Raphael always comes your way when you least expect him, and reveals himself in the oddest forms indeed (such as prayer cards, novenas, etc) this I kno it from personal experience.

      Thank you so much for sharing this with us. You and your future bride Allison are in my prayers, may God bless you both always and Our Lady protect your relationship.

  12. Dora-717709 February 12, 2012 Reply

    Bless you both! It touched me. Want to hear more

  13. Kate-756604 February 13, 2012 Reply

    Wow! i really like Erik’s story…….

  14. Jude-649754 February 19, 2012 Reply

    Great story keep posting!

  15. Aimz-791126 April 4, 2012 Reply

    Amazing story! I just joined the site and was already starting to debate whether to waterdown my profile introduction when i stumbled on this story. Thanks so much for sharing.
    It also brought back to mind the story of Archangel Raphael, Tobias and Sarah! I ‘ll definitely say a special prayer to St Raphael!
    God bless you both

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