In Saturday’s member story, we met Erik & Danielle, a young couple whose story reminded us that being in your twenties and staying faithful isn’t always easy.
Today, 47-year-old Dana reminds us this whole faith journey isn’t necessarily a walk in the park when you’re middle-aged either, but that with faith and the right person—like the man she found in Joe—all things are possible.
Dana was a little unsure of online dating, but gave CatholicMatch a skeptical chance. “To my surprise I met many wonderful Catholics who remain pen pals,” she said. “And was asked out by some very nice gentleman with whom I…remain friendly.”
When Joe, ten years older and living in the same area, first contacted Dana, her sense was that he would be one of those men with whom she just remained friendly. It took three months for their communication to leave the electronic realm and go into phone conversations, and even at that, she had no overwhelming sense of anything special in the works. “I thought, ‘he’s a nice man,’but I had no feelings of Joe being my dream come true,” she recalled.
The challenge of chastity was one that Dana spoke candidly about. But the rewards are also great. “Respecting yourself and your partner makes for a stronger relationship,” she said. “My experience has shown for this to be the most successful way to approach dating at any age…stand firm to chastity!”
Three different occasions Joe ended up near Dana’s home as he visited a cousin, but each time she had plans—legitimately so. “I apologized, and said I would like to meet,” she recounted saying to Joe. “Please give a little more notice.” Lesson taken, Joe did just that on his next foray into her neighborhood. And when they got together, Dana was immediately struck.
“Our eyes met and smiles overwhelmed our greeting,” she told CatholicMatch. “We hit it off right away.” Dinner at a nice Italian restaurant was followed by dancing, and for Dana the feeling was electric. “He took me in his arms as our eyes could not stop gazing at each other,” she said. “My heart was pounding and I was blushing a bit.” Indeed, for Dana, it was like being a teenager all over again and swept up into the innocence of youth.
The next day, Joe took Dana to Sunday Mass, and she recalled that the pounding of her heart didn’t stop. Joe offered a spiritual depth that transcended the natural attraction Dana felt for him, with his knowledge of the Bible, The Catechism of the Catholic Church and his role as a lector in his home parish.
That was in November 2011, and he invited her to a Christmas party a month later. In the ensuing year-plus, they came inseparable. From Catholic retreats to Glen Campbell’s farewell concert, they’ve enjoyed activities both recreational and spiritual. A coming trip to Rome will see Joe and Dana attend a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis himself.
“Love and respect are key,” Dana said firmly. “We are in love and show respect to one another.” They are taking their courtship slowly, careful not to rush into anything. And they have not forgotten their CatholicMatch friends. “I keep many CatholicMatch friends in prayer,” Dana said. “As they do for me. These friendships alone…speaks of quality, caring Catholic men and women.”
With faith, friendship and a person with whom they share mutual respect and attraction, Joe and Dana are a setting an example for how to handle the challenges of middle age.