"I never really thought it could work, Lauren said, recalling her first encounter with Michael on CatholicMatch. "He was so far away--a thousand miles--I honestly didn't think we'd ever be more than friends."
Michael and Lauren had free profiles on CatholicMatch, and after an exchange of emotigrams, they became full members so they could communicate with each other. "The conversation flowed online as we exchanged messages," Lauren said. "After several weeks we decided to try using Skype. It felt so natural and I was amazed every day by how strong he was in his faith and how greatly he loved the Lord."
It was that shared compatibility in faith that had brought Michael and Lauren--like so many others--to CatholicMatch to begin with. They both wanted to find a spouse who loved their faith and loved the Catholic Church. Lauren had spent a year with NET Ministries, serving young Catholics across the United States. Two of the six women she served with had met spouses on CatholicMatch and another in a serious relationship, so she had personal evidence of the site working.
The Skype conversations were bringing them closer together, but the geographic reality was still an obstacle. Michael was living in the Toronto area, where he was closing in on his degree in Aviation and preparing to become a commercial pilot. Lauren was in Minnesota, working on her degree in communications.
Gradually their feelings for each other grew from friendship to something more. "I saw him as such a gift because he was funny," Lauren said. "He was a good man, a holy man."
Michael decided to take the leap and fly to Minnesota so he and Lauren could finally meet. "That meeting was truly confirmation that we both felt called to each other and to discern marriage with one another," she said. "It was really hard to watch him leave that first visit, but I was so happy things had gone well and I knew there would be more visits to come."
A long-distance relationship requires planning and commitment and Michael and Lauren had no shortage of either. They bought plane tickets and planned out trips into the next year. They found ways to take even Skype communication to a new level, watching movies simultaneously. They bought DVDs of October Baby and watched it online together. They played their favorite game, Connect Four, together.
Even more important, Michael and Lauren kept growing in faith. "We would discuss articles and Theology of the Body" she said. They even went to Mass at the same time on Saturday evening. "It was such a blessing to be able to know that a thousand miles away, at the same moment, he was also partaking in our beautiful Mass and receiving our Lord at the exact time." Lauren said.
It was after more meetings and much prayer, that Michael took Lauren out onto an airfield runway to propose. "It was a sight to behold with all the lights and planes," Lauren said. "I felt so blessed to be able to say yes to my best friend.
Michael and Lauren were married this March and she has relocated to Canada. The couple will be on the move again shortly, because Michael has received a job offer from a Canadian airline and their home base is still unknown. They ask for the prayers of the CatholicMatch community as they move forward together.
Wherever Michael and Lauren are led to, they bring with them a deep reservoir of commitment to each other. "Even though the distance was tough, we made it work," Lauren said. "Because that's what you do when your best friend lives a thousand miles away. That's what you do when you love someone."