Thomas was tired of having to decide. The 28-year-old Air Force lieutenant had met some women with whom he shared a strong commitment to the Catholic faith, but didn’t have the personality mesh.
The women that he met and clicked with were on a different faith wavelength from him. He came to CatholicMatch hoping to find one woman that would bring it all together.
Valerie, 25, a teacher in Pittsburgh, saw his profile in August 2010. Thomas was in Dayton at the time attending grad school, so while distance was a factor it was not unmanageable.
“She likes to think she initiated the conversation by sending me a smile emote,” Thomas joked. “But I like to remind her that it was me who sent the first message.”
In October Thomas was ready to indulge his passion for the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey and he asked Valerie if she’d like to join him for a preseason game. That was fine with Valerie, who was ready to give brownie points to any suitor who would cheer for Pittsburgh teams.
The first date was a bit of a mystery for Thomas—“I wasn’t sure what to make of this quiet little girl who said she liked beer and ate well, but could barely finish half a sandwich or half of her beer.” But as it turned out that was a good sign—Valerie was just nervous. Thomas went on to note that while the Penguins may not have won that night, he certainly did, and something special began to unfold.
Thomas and Valerie made their relationship worked as challenges came. The four-hour drive was fine, and they grew in love over the next several months, but his next assignment came in Virginia and it increased their drive time by a couple hours. Furthermore, the job required him to travel more frequently.
“While…it hasn’t been ideal and has definitely posed its share of struggles it has, oddly enough, drawn us closer together and made us stronger,” Thomas told CatholicMatch.
This past fall, the Penguins were having a practice open to the public and Thomas wanted to go attend. He asked Valerie to join him. “Little did she know that I was planning on popping the question in the same location as our first date,” he recalled.
Valerie had as hard a time saying “yes”, as she did in having her food and drink on that first date. And again, that was a good sign for Thomas. “She choked up and nodded, but insisted that she actually had to say the word,” Thomas said. Valerie got the word out.
The wedding date is fast approaching, coming up in June. They thank God every day for his blessings.