It was September 2012, and 21-year-old Angela had hit a wall when it came dating. "I worked as a manager in a fast food restaurant and it is incredibly difficult to date when work is all you do." Never mind a Catholic guy--even a nice guy was just hard to find.
Angela's own natural shyness was another challenge in dating. Her mom suggested CatholicMatch, but negative feedback from a friend and her sister about the whole idea of dating someone you met online kept Angela away. "I was also nervous about dating," she admitted. "Despite this, I had been wanting to find someone for the past couple of years and was tired of feeling lonely."
The lack of finding a suitable man led Angela to question both God and herself. "I just couldn't understand why God wasn't sending me anyone and wondered if maybe there was something wrong with me," she said. "I spent a lot of time in thought and prayer trying to understand."
That brings us to September 2012 and Angela was reading through the CatholicMatch member stories. While she can't recall the specific story, the one that struck her was one where the woman had been on and off CatholicMatch, but didn't find anyone until both she and God were ready.
"Then it hit me," Angela said. "God hadn't sent me anyone because he knew I wasn't ready. I had too much worry and fear about dating and was afraid to trust anyone enough to get close to them and let them be a part of my life."
The realization brought peace. At the time, Angela had not yet officially joined CatholicMatch, but after thinking back to the story she had read, she decided to just give it a try. If nothing else, it was an opportunity to at least see there were like-minded Catholics out there, and that she was not alone.
Gene was five years older than Angela, and a lieutenant in the military. He was stationed in Colorado Springs, less than a seven hour drive time from her in Kansas. Gene was passionate about fitness, winter sports, and most of all, his Catholic faith. He instantly impressed Angela when he wrote her three days after she joined the site.
They traded messages over the next two months. Gene, like Angela, had been through recent bouts of doubt regarding whether he was supposed to meet anyone. He'd been through two prior relationships that didn't work out and after two months on CatholicMatch, wondered what God had in store for him. On every level, he and Angela connected.
"After a couple weeks we went from email messages to instant messaging," Angela recalled. "Another couple weeks after that we had our first video call on Skype. I was incredibly nervous and excited." After a two-hour Skype session, Angela described herself as "walking on the clouds."
They wanted to meet in person, and Gene's military schedule dictated that it had to be Thanksgiving weekend. A true officer and a gentleman, Gene didn't hesitate to meet Angela's entire family just moments after he met her in person for the first time--she picked him up from the airport and went directly to her extended family's Thanksgiving dinner.
The week before Christmas, Angela made a return trip to Colorado Springs. They went indoor rock climbing, took a beautiful train ride through the Royal Gorge, went to Mass together and made their relationship official on Christmas Day.
Over the next year, Gene and Angela got very familiar with the Kansas-to-Colorado drive, with at least one of them making the drive at least once a month. Gene, with his adventurous spirit, taught Angela to ski. They went swimming with fish in the Denver aquarium and she played her first game of miniature golf. When he was in Kansas, he showed her younger brother how to shoot off rockets, and together, he and Angela tested her brother's duct tape kayak.
Gene is originally from Georgia, and over Labor Day 2013, he and Angela flew there to spend five days with his family. After fun times spent at DragonCon, Six Flags water park and the beach, they went to a beautiful Latin Mass on Sunday.
Talk of marriage had been in the air for a couple months, and Angela even knew Gene was planning to propose on the trip, but he still managed to make it a complete surprise. "The last place I expected him to ask was at church," she said. But right before Mass started, Gene pulled her to one of the side alcoves and said this:
"Really, what it all comes down to is the faith that we share, which is why I couldn't think of a better place to ask you to be my wife." Now on one knee, Gene pulled out a beautiful ring. Angela was so excited she could barely say, "Yes."
This past February, Gene and Angela were married. Their adventures continued on the honeymoon. They went to Switzerland to ski the Alps, visit a castle and tour the countryside.
"I never wanted a long-distance relationship," Angela admitted. "In my CatholicMatch searches, I never searched more than 200 miles. I am so thankful that Gene chose to message me and I chose to respond. I share our story because it was someone else's story that helped encourage me to join CatholicMatch. I hope that maybe ours will be an inspiration and encouragement to others who are frustrated with dating."
For one very deserving couple, those frustrations have ended. Gene and Angela are excited about their future together. CatholicMatch is fortunate to have been a part of their journey, and all of us are fortunate for Gene's sacrifices in the service of our country, sacrifices that Angela now shares in, as they journey forward in faith and with an adventurous spirit.