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When I (Coleen) first joined Catholic Match in 2004, one of my
first matches was Mike. After reading his profile and learning he loves
sports, camping and had been in the army for fifteen years, I was
certain he was the perfect match – for my sister.  I even showed
his profile to her and encouraged her to join CM so that she could
contact him.

From June of 2004 to September 2005, Mike was
periodically matched with me. Each time I would say to my sister,
"Cath, take a look at this guy. You both seem to have so much in
common."  I even received an email from Mike right after I joined
in June 2004. Of course, I tried to get my sister to respond, but she
was not ready.  I did not want to ignore him, and so I sent off a
quick reply telling him that I was going out of town (we were about to
go out west for four weeks).  I wrote that I would be back in
early August. If he were still interested then, he could email me.

I
did not receive a reply for over a year.  Why didn't I take the
next step and email him upon my return?  Well, I am a bit of an
"old-fashioned" kind of woman. Some might even say when it comes to the
dating dance, I am a traditionalist. 

I believe the man
makes not only makes the first move, but he leads.  So, when I did
not hear from Mike, I figured he was not interested.  For the next
year, I would be repeatedly matched with Mike and repeatedly I would
encourage my sister to join CM and make contact with him. (Lucky for
me, she did not take me up on any of my repeated suggestions). 
Finally, in September 2005, a year and a few months after the first
message, I received a second email from Mike.

When I think
back to the day Mike emailed me for the second time, I was about to
give up on CM. I really did not want to spend the money, as I was not
seeing much of a result. Mike later told me that his membership had
actually expired (and he did not have plans to renew either) when I
emailed him back.  He decided to go on a month to month for a
while.  After the first email, Mike asked to call but, I put the
brakes on and said, "Let's get to know each other first." 

Finally,
after six weeks of emails, I gave the green light to call. Our first
conversation was so easy, and comfortable – it was like coming home. We
talked for over 2 1/2 hours about everything from faith, family, career
goals, hopes, etc. As our relationship unfolded, it became clear that
God had a plan for us. From Mike's belief that he might be called to
Holy Orders through the diaconate program combined with the fact that
my father was ordained a deacon in 1999 to strange coincidences such as
his name. His name is Michael Patrick and he is the oldest son- I have
a brother named Mike (he's the oldest, too) and a brother
Patrick.  We found out that we both were attending the same church
and only lived 10 miles from each other. Most importantly, we both
shared a strong catholic faith, which has been bedrock for each of
us. 



Originally, I was going to wait a long time to
introduce Mike to my sons. Mike left the timing entirely up to me,
knowing that I was just being protective of them. I did not want them
to become attached to someone who would not be in their life in six
months. However, about three months after our first email, it was
obvious our relationship had a future. I did not like keeping it a
secret.

Finally, during the 2005 holiday season, I decided
the time was right and I put aside my concerns. I would learn that I
had nothing to fear. In fact, watching Mike with my two sons has
revealed much about the kind of man Mike is as well as confirming that
he was a man I wanted my sons to emulate. There is an old saying that
the "way to a man's heart is through his stomach."  Well, I
believe "to see the true depth of a man's heart look for his ability to
love and nurture someone else's child unconditionally.  Mike's
willingness to accept and love my sons has been a testament to how
much love he is capable of giving to others. He has willingly nurtured
and loved both my sons since the moment he met them and they have
welcomed him into their lives as well. What more could I ask? Well…



Flash forward to one year later – November 2006.  Mike and I have
been together for a year. We are sitting at a table at IL Bellagio
where we first met almost one year ago. We sat at a table by the
fountain. It is a warm night in South Florida. Mike turns to me, gets
down on one knee, and says,"Coleen, my Irish rose, will you marry me?
Will you be my wife?"  He opens a small, red heart-shaped box to
revealing an engagement ring. Without hesitation, I joyfully answered,
"Yes." From almost giving up on CM to encouraging my sister to contact
Mike to misperceptions, there were so many potential detours to the two
of us getting together and against all those detours, we still found
each other.  We are planning on a wedding for June 2007.




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