3-Hour Drive for First Date was Worth It


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When Gina, 24, joined CatholicMatch in January of 2013, she set her distance parameters to a 20-mile radius. She figured that with so many Catholics living in Cleveland, Ohio, she should be able to meet someone nearby.

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Luckily, Brian, 28, had his parameters set to a statewide search. When Gina saw that he had viewed her profile, she took a closer look. “I was really intrigued by him. What I found reading his profile was authenticity. He was living out his faith; he answered yes to every faith question.” Gina had joined CatholicMatch because she wasn’t meeting authentically Catholic men.

Three weeks later, on a brisk, snow covered day, Gina was sitting on a bench waiting to meet Brian for their first date. When a fancy, white Buick pulled up with the license plates that read “PROVITA” (PROLIFE), Gina was surprised. Brian had told her that he’d be driving a Buick, but she wasn’t  expecting a grandma car! When their eyes met, she knew instantly that it was him.

One of the first things that she noticed about Brian was that he has a bronze speck in one of his blue eyes. “It’s darling and it’s so imperfect, but precious to me. The average person probably wouldn’t even notice it, but I saw it right away,” she remembers.

The two sat in a bagel shop in the middle of day talking for hours. “I knew right away that I was interested. We had great conversations,” Gina says. “I was also impressed that he drove three and a half hours on snowy roads to meet me. He wanted to meet me where I was from, but he didn’t pressure me into meeting at my home. I sensed that he very much wanted to protect me and keep me safe—which is the role of the man in marriage. I was really appreciative of that.”

Intentional Dating

From the beginning, Gina and Brian knew that the other was deliberately looking to marry and that they weren’t just looking to date around. “We intentionally prayed to God that He would direct us and that it would be His will—not our own imposed will,” Gina explains. “We didn’t want the fact that we were very attracted to one another and excited about the potential to get in the way of God’s will.” image-3

One of the biggest obstacles in their relationship was the winter weather and the long drive to see each other. “We felt like we needed to be in the same place to really court and discern marriage,” Gina remembers. “We had a talk about where the relationship was going, and we decided that ultimately one of us would move.”

Gina says, “At the time, I had a phenomenal job that I loved; I was deeply passionate about working with children with special needs. However, Brian’s RCIA work at a parish was not the kind of position that he could easily leave.”

They discussed and prayed about the decision, and it shook out that Gina would be the one to move. This was a gutsy step to take, considering she didn’t have a ring on her finger.

“I would do it a million times over,” she says. “Though, it did feel a little bit crazy in the middle of it.”

In July of 2013, Gina ended up moving an hour away from Brian, who was from Columbus area. She took a nannying position with a little boy who had autism.
“At the time, my mother was very much like, ‘I cannot believe that you are doing this!’ My dad said, ‘You got to do what you got to do.’ However, my siblings and my friends were very excited. Everybody liked him a whole lot. They saw in him and in me what we were both looking for,” she says.

The Proposal

Almost every week, Gina and Brian would go to visit Immaculate Conception Church in Columbus; they liked to pray in the church’s grotto to Our Lady. It was here that Brian asked Gina to marry him. The couple went there to pray Evening Prayer. It was September 14th, 2013, the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross. “We had just finished praying and I put my head on his shoulder, and we were looking up at the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He said, ‘Gina’ in this very particular way in which he had never said my name before. Even though I didn’t suspect that he was about to propose, as soon as he said my name, I knew!”

Brian got down on one knee. He said, “I love you and I want to get you to heaven. I want to provide for you in this life; I want to help you get into the next, and I want to help you bring up in the Faith any children that we might have.”

Wedding

imageOn January 4th, 2014 at Saint Mary of the Assumption in Lancaster, Ohio , the couple had a simple morning wedding with a luncheon afterwards. “We really wanted to be with the people that we loved. We didn’t want a fancy wedding, which would make it so we had to exclude people,” Gina says.






16 Comments

  1. Genevieve-1055759 July 16, 2014 Reply

    Really beautiful gown; may God bless your marriage!

  2. Michelle-989480 July 16, 2014 Reply

    Beautiful story :) !

  3. MariadeJesus-318567 July 16, 2014 Reply

    God rewards faithfulness! In this world there are good men and women but not all do the necessary, possible and impossible to be happy in this world and prepare for the next life will be much better.

    The story I like because both broke their schemes, they were given also the chance to meet and were opened to the possibility of finding what they were looking for.

    :) :) :)

    • Vanessa-1088742 July 17, 2014 Reply

      We forget, too, that God will give us the grace to do what is necessary if it is His will. This beautiful couple kept focus on the goal- Heaven. And because they put their trust in God they confidently took risks. :-)
      Gina, you must share where you got your dress! It is BEAUTIFUL!

  4. MariadeJesus-318567 July 16, 2014 Reply

    Is important to know who to put one’s trust, if the man cares for and protects the woman, is a good sign, because it recognizes that it is a gift from God.

  5. Meesch-691047 July 16, 2014 Reply

    I wish you every joy and happiness in this world! May Jesus be glorified in your marriage, lives, and relationships!

  6. Celeste-1111952 July 16, 2014 Reply

    that’s a nice story

  7. Jessica-1078603 July 16, 2014 Reply

    What a beautiful story!

  8. Cindy-1093472 July 17, 2014 Reply

    I loved reading this story :)

  9. Tessy-971159 July 17, 2014 Reply

    So inspiring, may God bless you abundantly!

  10. BethAnne-168224 July 17, 2014 Reply

    I agree with everyone else on the dress! I love it! So elegant and modest :)

  11. Noemi-1112596 July 17, 2014 Reply

    The way he proposed made me cry. May God bless their marriage.

  12. Kelly-1098119 July 20, 2014 Reply

    I’ve read many stories about how couples met. I really enjoyed your story of faith and courtship. Many blessings and happy years to you both.

  13. Catherine-1007129 July 20, 2014 Reply

    A match made by heaven :)

  14. Charlene-1044210 July 20, 2014 Reply

    What a lovely story and I agree with the others, I adore Gina’s wedding dress! Gina, please do let us know more about it…

  15. David-1054431 July 22, 2014 Reply

    Well, I agree it’s a beautiful story and I’m glad for them. But personally, I’m still not driving 3 hours for a first date. Talk about pressure. If one party has to drive that far every time you meet, there’s so much pressure on your time together to be highly charged fun. But the reality is that there will always be eddies and there will always be calm spots.

    I’m pretty settled geographically, at least for the foreseeable future. I would prefer a relationship where we organically fit into each other’s lives, where our date time is not like a zone unto itself isolated from the context of our lives.

    Like I said, I’m happy for the couple in the article, and I’m sure for some it can work. But long distance isn’t for everyone.

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