Elise was snowed in and bored. She had just relocated to Colorado and the weather had her homebound. The then 26-year-old was talking to her mom, who was interested in her daughter's romantic prospects. "You should try CatholicMatch," Elise's mom told her, and with nothing else to do, Elise followed the advice.
It was after joining CatholicMatch that Elise then had a dream, one that was so vivid that she woke up feeling it was real. "I had a dream that I met my future spouse at an airport," she recalled. "He was there with four brothers and the man was Mexican." Elise was convinced of the dream's authenticity--or at least convinced enough to browse the site and look for men of Mexican heritage. That's when Elise came across Stephen's profile.
"I saw this super cute Mexican man," she said. Elise thought about writing, but she decided to put it off.
Stephen, a year older than Elise, had graduated from the University of Dallas and was settling down into his work in Texas as a behavioral therapist for kids with autism. It was getting harder to meet women through the normal course of his daily life so he looked online. He had been on a couple dates since joining CatholicMatch, but they hadn't worked out, and he was getting ready to give up on online dating.
"I tried Yahoo singles, but didn't like it," he said.
Stephen came to CatholicMatch at a time when it was still called St. Raphael's, named after the archangel featured in the Book of Tobit. St. Raphael is the patron of happy meetings and regularly invoked by Catholic singles to find their future spouse. Stephen also had someone praying to St. Raphael for him--a homebound woman to whom he brings the Holy Eucharist.
When Stephen saw that Elise viewed his profile, he sent her an emotigram to get the ball rolling.
Stephen and Elise talked every day for a month, getting to know each other and learning they were on the same page when it came to faith. "I had never dated anyone who was Catholic before," Elise said. "I grew up in a small town in northern California and the Catholics were all older."
Stephen and Elise decided to visit and meet each other's families. They felt strongly that they had something special in each other.
Stephen lived in Colorado--and due to the flexibility of Elise's job, she was able to relocate to be near Stephen. She found an apartment in the same complex he lived in, and now they could see each other every day.
"It was crazy, I never had this type of connection with anyone," Stephen said. "I'm a skeptical person by nature, but when I met her, I just knew. The conversation and chemistry was great. There were no lulls, we could just talk." He further admired Elise's sincerity and compassion. "She's just a sweet, sweet girl."
Elise was no less impressed by Stephen's compassion, from his work with children to his volunteer work at the parish. The couple had already looked at engagement rings, but Stephen still went the extra mile to make sure the special moment was a surprise.
Their hometown has a river where you can take a boat ride, similar to the way one might in Venice. Stephen skillfully planted the idea with Elise, then feigned reluctance when she brought up the idea of them doing it. "He set me up good," she admitted. As the boat approached an overhanging bridge, she turned and saw him on his knee proposing. Atop the bridge were family members from both sides holding up signs saying "Say Yes." Elise gave the fans what they wanted.
That was nearly seven years ago. Today, Stephen and Elise are happily married with two boys, ages 2 and 4.
Things are certainly going the right way for both Stephen and Elise today, and they're about to get better--their third child is due in October.