CatholicMatch members have an opportunity to fill out a match portrait to help them find other members they wouldn't normally meet. Based on responses and match filters, compatible members will appear in their match list for review. This is exactly how Sandy and John found each other online. About ten months after they were "matched" they were married.
Sandy, 65, and John, 67, spent a couple months corresponding, and during that time they discovered that they shared many of the same life experiences: each had only one sibling, their fathers were plumbers, and their mothers were prayer warriors. Both Sandy and John had successful marriages and each took care of a spouse dying from a disease.
John lived in Kentucky and Sandy's home was in Georgia, so the two decided to meet for their first date at a Cracker Barrel in Knoxville, Tenn. “It was exciting for both of us! I remember thinking 'WOW! I’m a goner!' I found him attractive, interesting to talk to, and funny,” Sandy says.
“We both felt something special had happened to us,” added John.
They Didn't Let Distance Get in the Way
The biggest obstacle for the couple was the distance. “Missing each other when we were apart and then saying goodbye
when we were able to visit in person was very difficult. Also, from a practical standpoint, the economic issue of travel expenses and hazardous winter weather road-trips had to be a consideration too,” explains Sandy and John.
The couple often marvels at how difficult it would have been to pull the relationship off if they hadn't been retired.
Even so, distance also had a positive side for them. They enjoyed writing each other, talking, and texting several times a day. They also recited morning and evening prayers together.
In October 2013, John and Sandy went to morning Mass together at her home parish, Holy Family Catholic Church. After Mass, as Sandy was leaving the pew, John asked her to sit down. “He took my hand, told me how much he loved me, and wanted to spend the rest of whatever time we had left on this earth together with me. The next day, he took me to the jewelers and bought a beautiful diamond solitaire ring.”
Their children were initially hesitant about how fast their parent's relationship was moving. From her first marriage, Sandy has three grown children and John has two sons. However, their children could see how much in love and how happy they were.
Sandy and John threw themselves into wedding plans—mainly planning the Nuptial Mass, which was the most important aspect for them. Getting ready for the wedding also meant Pre-Cana. When the couple discovered that they would be required to attend a Pre-Cana workshop, they thought it would be a waste of time for them.
“Between the two of us, we had almost 80 years of successful married life,” John says.
They also worried that they would be so much older than the other couples attending. However, they ended up enjoying Pre-Cana and it reinforced that they truly shared the same values.
A Wedding Complication Turns Out Well
On April 26, 2014, Sandy and John were married at Sandy's home parish. Like many weddings, there was a mini-emergency. The couple was receiving guests in the narthex of the church when Sandy's daughter approached her and whispered, “'Mom, where did you order the wedding cake?'”
“Why?” Sandy asked surprised.
“There's no cake in the reception hall,” her daughter replied.
It turned out that the cake order had been misplaced. Luckily, the company acted fast and was able deliver a wedding cake within an hour at no charge; plus, they paid for an additional hour of photography.
A Little Advice
I asked Sandy and John if they can offer CatholicMatch members some of their wisdom. They recommend: “If it is right, you will know it so do not give up. Be flexible and take the chance. Pray together and talk or text daily. Plan visits frequently if your budget permits. Finally, save intercourse for your wedding day because it is the best gift you’ll ever give each other.”