First impressions are often the most important in terms of how a relationship of any kind plays out, but that doesn’t mean that first impressions are always accurate. Al and Rebecca hit a few early bumps in the getting-to-know-each-other process, but once those bumps were smoothed out, the relationship built an unstoppable momentum that led them to the sacrament of marriage.
Al came to CatholicMatch looking to move on after the passing of his spouse. “There is never a good time for your spouse to pass away,” the 50-year-old from Minnesota said. But one of the worst times is January in Minnesota and it’s cold and dark for most of the month.” As he searched for a way to move on, a co-worker suggested online dating.
“I had never considered it, but I was intrigued by the possibility of meeting someone else,” he recalled. He signed up for four different sites, and ended up with his credit card being cancelled—the company thought someone had stolen his account information. “(But) I figured I needed four sites,” Al said. “I also signed up for a six-month subscription as I knew it was going to take a while.”
CatholicMatch emerged as Al’s favorite of the four. “The main attractions for me were the forums and an easy way to do searches,” he said. “The forums were important to me…the widow/widowers forum offered comfort and support.” Al was further encouraged by the presence of so many Catholic women who were truly devoted to Christ.
Rebecca caught his eye in one of the searches. She was five hours away in South Dakota, a good ride away, but still manageable. Like Al, her spouse had passed away, and she shared similar interests. One of those was speaking Spanish, so he sent an emotigram saying “Hola.”
“Unfortunately, I got no response,” Al recalled. “Then, ironically, I got a match request from CatholicMatch administration indicating that Rebecca was a potential match. Since she had not responded, I said I was not interested.”
As it turned out, Rebecca was interested, and a few days later she responded and opened an email dialogue with Al. The first misunderstanding had passed.
The second hurdle came about after their correspondence seemed to hit a wall, and Al asked for clarification on where things stood. “I encountered silence instead of a response,” he told CatholicMatch. “I was disappointed…”
Two weeks later Rebecca responded and said she had been working through a previous relationship and needed time. Since this had never come up before, Al was not only disappointed, but now wary. Rebecca offered a second apology and Al accepted. They chose to move forward.
The relationship took off quickly. “The following Saturday we chatted online for four hours in the afternoon,” Al said. That night they resumed around 7pm and the chat kept going until three in the morning. “We started chatting every day for the next couple days,” Al said. “Then we moved to phone conversations every day. I would call her on her commutes to work (and) we would send videos of our favorite music to each other for something to view during the day.”
Everything about Al and Rebecca seemed compatible and they found the temperament test on CatholicMatch to be helpful. “The test indicated we were very compatible, calling us a ‘dynamic duo,’ Al said. The temperament test is intended as a guide for showing couples of all possible matches how to relate to each other, and Al and Rebecca used this tool to the maximum degree.
After three weeks of intense, long conversations, they knew something special was happening, but also knew they had to test it in person. The test was passed. “There were sparks when we met,” Al said. “A week later we would be asking a priest if we could get married.”
Al was set to do everything he could to make the relationship work. His job enables him to work remotely and he had already decided to rent a place in her hometown to enable them to see each other every day.
They couldn’t begin the pre-Cana Church process in her South Dakota home, due to a requirement that a couple wait four months after seeing a priest. But there was no requirement in Al’s home diocese, and they completed the Focus survey and Engaged Encounter weekend, following all the processes of the Church.
Today, Al and Rebecca are married. There have been some obstacles—he was told he had to move out of his place, but this has turned into a blessing—they’ve bought a new house that’s neither his nor hers, but theirs, and enabled the building of new memories.
Their wedding song was “The Broken Road.” It’s the road God led them down, leading them to their meeting, engagement and eventual marriage. And that shared interest in Spanish that first helped prompt Al to communicate with Rebecca, also played a part in the first time he told Rebecca he loved her:“Te amo.”