It had been four years since 41-year-old Shelly had gone through her divorce and she wanted to talk to a man. “A Catholic man,” she emphasized. So even though she was leery of online dating, she’d heard of CatholicMatch from the back of her parish bulletin and got on the website and “forced myself to write that bio.”
Mark had also gone through a divorce and by his own admission was staring into the abyss. “Going through a divorce was a test of faith,” he said. “A fellow member of the Knights of Columbus told me God put me through it to make me a better person. I wish He’d have found another way.” But Mark, who’d seen his first wife choose to leave the marriage, persisted in his faith and he too followed the promptings of a bulletin ad to join CatholicMatch.
It was Mark who made first contact in the cyber-world, as the 43-year-old liked what he saw in 41-year-old Shelly’s profile. “She had a similar experience as mine,” he recalled. “We were both divorced, we both have kids and she really seemed to be evaluating where she was at in her faith.” Shelly liked what she saw in Mark’s profile enough to upgrade to full membership so she could read his message and reply.
As they grew in knowledge of each other, the common bond of faith continued to stand out. “I was really impressed with his sense of morality,” Shelly told CatholicMatch. “He had strong beliefs and he stuck by them.”
The couple’s common interests are cooking and eating out. Their first date was for brunch at the nearby Fox-N-Hound. “She told me I weighed too much,” Mark jokingly recalled. “But she drank too many mimosas.”
Their developing relationship was made easier by the fact that each’s children grew to love the person their parent was dating. Mark’s boys are older, at 15 and 18, while Shelly’s two girls are eight and ten. The oldest, Samantha, was certainly interested in seeing her mom get married, regularly prompting with Mark with when he was going to pop the question.
A proposal was delayed though when Mark lost his job, and he told Shelly he felt the right thing to do was wait until he found another one. What would have been a Christmas proposal turned into an Easter surprise.
In southeastern Wisconsin where they both live, Shelly has a place on the lake she rents and that’s where she was on Easter morning. Mark brought Samantha and the kids into his plan to surprise her early that morning. Samantha was given the task of getting her mom down to the lake, while keeping the secret.
The girl delivered on the first assignment, though it’s still anyone’s guess how much of the plan was kept a secret. In any case, Eastern morning began with the sun rising over the lake and Shelly accepting Mark’s proposal to be his wife.
Mark and Shelly came through a lot to get their new life together. Mark recalled when he was first divorced, a support group advised him to just take a break from relationships for a little bit. He took the advice and spent some time with his friends and re-tooling his life.
When he and Shelly did meet, he took her to the nearby Catholic shrine of Holy Hill, to see how her faith was. One broken marriage was more than enough for both of them, and they were united together in the Church on the firm foundation of faith and family.