When you have something good in your life for a long time, it can be easy to take it for granted. That’s what happened to Maria in her dating life. The 26-year-old from the Green Bay area grew up in a devoutly Catholic family, gladly embraced the faith herself, but when it came to date, she was seeing men who didn’t share her beliefs.
“I didn’t think it was important at the time,” she recalled. “But something always seemed to be missing in the relationship…I knew I needed to date someone who shared my religion, my values and my passion to grow in our faith together.” Maria’s realization led her to sign up for CatholicMatch.
Patrick had similar motivations for joining the site. The 29-year-old had relocated to the Green Bay area for career purposes and for reasons he couldn’t quite put his finger on, felt especially drawn to his new home in the Fox River Valley area of Wisconsin.
“I knew that I was looking to build a relationship on the strongest foundation possible, namely Jesus Christ and His Church,” he said. “I logged onto CatholicMatch of finding that special someone who felt the same way.”
It was last August that Patrick and Maria connected online, when he sent her a message. It took two weeks for her to reply, but the delay proved to be worth it. A few more messages led to phone calls, which led to a date on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption.
“We enjoyed fajitas, margaritas and some mini-golf,” Maria told CatholicMatch. “Neither one of us was anticipating what was to come or what the Holy Spirit would soon accomplish in our lives.” The plans of God unfolded further through a series of dates including ice cream sundaes, board games and enjoying the sunsets together.
The arrival of fall meant the first obstacle Patrick and Maria would have to overcome. She was going to graduate school sixty miles away, requiring additional effort on both of their parts to keep up the relationship. They continued to talk on the phone and see each other on the weekends. “We started to notice that we were going to Mass together nearly every weekend,” Maria said.
Patrick was realizing just how hard he was falling for Maria by the time the Advent season arrived. So when the exchanged Christmas gift, no material present could match the beauty of the present they gave in telling the other “I love you” for the first time.
In January, Maria returned home to begin an externship as a Speech Language Pathologist and they were back to being only ten minutes apart, not just attending Mass together but going to Adoration when time allowed.
The couple soon realized they were spending each evening together, be it dinner, talking walks or just staying in to read or watch a movie. Every night when Patrick drove home his mind was on 5:30 PM the next day, when he’d be back with Maria.
Patrick decided to take the necessary steps to move their relationship forward and spoke to Maria’s father about asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Her father granted his blessing and this past May the couple became engaged.
They will be married this next January. Challenges are ahead, from paying off student loans to financing home renovations, but they have things going for them as well. Both have graduate degrees to build off of.
But more importantly than any material blessing, both Patrick and Maria know they have faith—the pearl of great price—and now they have a special someone to share it with the rest of their lives.