It’s not easy being a twentysomething in today’s culture, at least not when you want to live right and find someone who shares your values. That’s the problem 24-year-old Danielle was encountering. She was a youth minister in her local Catholic parish. “Every person I was meeting was in middle school, high school, or a parent,” she said. “It was becoming critical to meet people with like-minded values and beliefs.”
Someone who shared her convictions was Eric. The same age, Eric was also looking for someone committed to an upright life, and the first criteria he put out in his profile was basic—“must not do illegal substances.” It’s a great starting point, but the 24-year-old who was devoted to his faith, his family, his dog Squirt and preparing for Basic Military Training, deserved more than that. He was soon to find it.
It was August 2009 when Eric and Danielle connected with each other on CatholicMatch, and two days later they were on the phone. They both live in Texas, but with her in Houston and him in the west central part of the state, there were still five hundred miles of distance between them. Nonetheless, Danielle believed God’s will was unfolding, and by month’s end she and her family drove across the state so she could meet “some guy from online”.
Eric took Danielle to a Christian rock concert in the desert of West Texas. After she returned home, flowers were delivered to her door and the long-distance courtship was underway. At this point, the hand of Divine Providence again worked in their favor. By March of the following year, Eric was in the Air Force and ended up stationed in San Antonio. Now the drive time between he and Danielle was about three hours and planning a few days together become much easier.
While things coming together are often a signpost of God’s will, so too are some challenges to overcome. Eric and Danielle’s relationship would meet their fair share. The biggest was his deployment to Iraq. Danielle would later reflect that the time spent apart served to strengthen their relationship rather than weaken it.
When Eric returned home in the spring of 2012, he and Danielle made a trip to the resort town of South Padre Island, on the Gulf coast side of Texas. He had the engagement ring that originally belonged to Danielle’s great-grandmother with him. It was here that he asked her to marry him and she said yes.
Eric and Danielle were married last December. He has another deployment coming, this time to Afghanistan. “I never considered a long distance relationship or the life of a military wife,” Danielle told CatholicMatch. “But God’s plan, while not always what we envision, is far more rewarding and wonderful.” Such is the faith that brought two young people mature beyond their years together.