Clint and Ann both dealt with limitations on their dating options because of geography. They each lived in the rural parts of Kansas, and the number of people within driving distance was limited, and that's before you start to narrow the field down to candidates for a good Catholic relationship.
"Catholicism is a struggle," Ann said, referring specifically to the challenge of finding good Catholic men. Ann had also seen her first marriage annulled, and had five sons to raise by herself. When she initially joined CatholicMatch, she knew she needed to stay at home, with her youngest still at home and in high school sports.
She did meet some nice people on the site and had a mixed bag of experiences, both good and bad. The message forums were a continued attraction though, especially the ones devoted to prayer. "I'm a prayer warrior," said the woman who serves three different nearby parishes as the RCIA director.
Clint had joined CatholicMatch with hopes, but the problems of the available pool in his area was starting to leave him discouraged. One relationship didn't work out, and even though he returned for a second try, he had doubts. Nonetheless, he tried a wider search parameter, and Ann's profile came up.
That was about a year ago that Clint and Ann first connected, and the first emails and phone calls, followed by their face-to-face meetings seemed to confirm the early chemistry. Ann appreciated Clint's understanding that her location could make travel difficult.
For his part, Clint admired Ann's determination and faith--not only was she left with five boys to raise, but also had a half a farm. Yet she made it all work. Ann liked Clint's commitment to his own family--he has two daughters--while finding him both intelligent and with a good sense of humor.
Ann's kids were completely on board with this from the start--so much so, that after Ann was telling her oldest son about her first date with Clint, the son immediately told his own wife "This is the man Mom's going to marry."
Clint and Ann's shared faith, and their common outlook on Catholic life helped the relationship flourish. It was Memorial Day weekend of last year, that they traveled together to Arkansas for the wedding of her third-oldest son. There was a barbeque that served as a rehearsal dinner in the woods near the chapel.
"Everyone was coming in and out," Ann recalled. Finally, things got settled down and they were out on the deck alone. The evening and the sound of crickets in the air created a romantic atmosphere, although the raccoons spoiled that part of it as they were heard moving around the underbrush, waiting to get at the garbage cans.
What they couldn't spoil was Clint proposing and Ann saying yes. When Clint lamented the raccoons, Ann reassured him with a simple "That's not my style anyway."
Both Clint and Ann have overcome a lot to find their shared happiness together as they now settle into married life after their wedding last September. Clint had not wanted his own divorce in his first marriage. He had held his family together for the sake of his girls. The situation had stretched out over years, which did allow him at least a minimum level of peace when his ex opted to leave.
"I didn't experience the closure many speak of," he said, regarding his completion of the annulment process. This was due in large part to his having seen a good Catholic therapist for several years prior and having worked through the issues that would ultimately come before the tribunal.
Clint and Ann consistently take the initiative in their own faith life, so much so that during the pre-Cana process, as various issues were presented to them, they immediately responded with what they already discussed.
"I think you've got it all figured out," the priest told them. Indeed they do. Now they are building their new life together.