"Early in the morning on August 24th, 2003, I asked Colleen to marry me, and she said yes."
Dear St. Raphael's,
I joined St. Raphael in April 2003 because I was not meeting any Catholic women in my town, and I did not want to date women who are not Catholic because I became a confirmed Catholic at this year's Easter Vigil.
Colleen and I first encountered each other early in May 2003. I browsed her profile, but did not email her because she lived in Chicago, which is 150 miles away from Champaign where I live, and I wasn't looking for a long-distance relationship. Colleen (she used her mom's name Kathleen in her profile) emailed me May 8, 2003, late in the evening after she had a date with another man and realized that he was not right for her. We emailed back and forth several times until she suggested that we meet in person. Colleen had met several men from St. Raphael and quickly learned that meeting someone early on is extremely important to see if there is any potential for a relationship. Colleen suggested that we meet for dinner because she was coming to Champaign to help her sister move. I agreed to take both Colleen and her sister to dinner, but when I went to pick the two of them up, her sister had already decided not to go, so Colleen and I went to dinner by ourselves. I remember the first moment she walked out the door and I saw how beautiful she was in real life (she is so much more beautiful than the picture in her profile!) (Colleen here: I thought too how gorgeous he was, so much more so than the dorky picture he sent me!). During dinner, I realized how much we had in common and how well we got along together. I knew before we had ordered our dinners that I would call her for a second date. The whole evening was magical for both of us, it was the best first date I've ever had in my life.
After dinner, we took a stroll around campus, which gave us time to walk and talk, and spent time together getting to know each other. We were both so caught up in the moment, that we walked ! for nearly 2 hours. After the walk, we went out for drinks and talked for a few more hours. At the end of the evening, I dropped Colleen off at her sisters apartment, knowing that I would call her for a second date and wondering if she was too good to be true. The first date was a Thursday evening, and I called her the following Saturday.
We emailed for a few weeks, and then I went up to Chicago to meet her family. After I met her family, we talked on the phone everyday for several hours. We met for the third time when I went camping with her sisters and her church family. We fell in love that weekend, while out for a walk one night under the stars. Both of knew at that point that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We've spent every weekend together since then, despite the 3 hour drive. Colleen's parents requested that she meet my parents before our relationship got serious, so we flew to Pittsburgh at the end of July to meet my family. My family absolutely adored her, as I knew they would, and as soon as my family told me they liked her, I told them I was planning to ask her to marry me. I talked to Colleen's parents in early August while she was in Europe on vacation and asked for their permission to marry their daughter. She returned from Europe on August 17th after having been gone two very long weeks.
Early in the morning on August 24th, 2003 (less than 3 months after we met), I asked Colleen to marry me, and she said yes. We are planning a May 15th, 2004 wedding in Chicago, exactly one year after we met. We are both so thankful that God led us to this site so that we could find each other. We know that God meant us to be together and we marvel at His exquisite timing that led us to each other.
Dan and Colleen