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Member Stories

Have you met your spouse, deepened your faith or found support on CatholicMatch? Share Your Story

One of my favorite features of the Catholic Match Magazine has long been the Success Stories. Reading about how God has brought so many couples together – sometimes across great distances, despite large obstacles, almost always to the shock and surprise of the couple – has given me hope. In fact, I must attribute at least a few of my decisions to renew my CM membership “for at least one more year” to the testimonies of couples who’ve shared their success stories with the rest of us. It reminds me of the story of the paralytic in the Bible – who was healed by Jesus on the faith of his friends, not on his own inner strength. There certainly have been many times in my life when I didn’t have the patience or the faith to believe that God had someone waiting for me on a Catholic singles website.

That all changed when I met my husband on Catholic Match. Thanks to God’s grace and CM, my whole life has been changed and blessed beyond my wildest dreams. Peter and I were married on July 3, 2009, and I am so excited to share our Catholic Match success story with you. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before I tell you our story, I want to share with you a little of my own.

World’s Worst Holiday…for Single People

It was New Year’s Eve 2004. I was in exactly the same place I had spent most New Years prior: sitting on my parent’s couch in my pajamas, watching old movies and babysitting my younger siblings while my parents went out for the night. I must admit, New Year’s Eve has always been my least favorite holiday for single people – for me, even worse than Valentine’s Day. Many of you might agree with me – this particular Eve is just MADE for couples – it’s all about sharing a bottle of champagne and watching Dick count down the seconds as the ball drops…singing Auld Lang Syne and kissing the one you love at the stroke of midnight. The experience isn’t remotely as wonderful when you’re single.

Up until that night, I had been very “anti” anything to do with online dating. My father is a national speaker and author on marriage and family topics, and he even titled a chapter in one of his books “Romeo Online,” encouraging singles to use the internet as a medium for meeting marriage material. Whenever anyone mentioned my Dad’s “Romeo Online” chapter to me, I just rolled my eyes. I had absolutely convinced myself that singles websites were only for desperate people and old people, and I considered myself neither desperate nor old. On one occasion, when a friend asked why I hadn’t joined any of the Catholic dating websites, I answered: “I’ll join one of those when I turn 65 or when hell freezes over – whichever comes first.”

I wasn’t just a skeptic. I was a die-hard disbeliever that online dating was “normal,” and I was absolutely certainly that it would never work for me.

However, in a moment of weakness on that frosty New Year’s Eve, I signed up for a one year membership to CatholicMatch.com. I sheepishly admit, I was extremely surprised by what I found. There were TONS of single Catholics on the website, and from my initial browsing around, it appeared that my fellow CM members weren’t all four decades my seniors, as I had feared. All age groups, ethnic groups, geographic areas, etc. etc. seemed to be amply represented. And to top it all off, these people seemed oddly normal! I felt the prejudices and fears I had built up in my mind about online dating begin to topple like Joshua’s walls in Jericho.

Out of My Prejudices and into the Community

Over the next several years, God poured numerous blessings into my life through Catholic Match. The first was the gift of friendship. Through emotigrams, emails, chats, and forum discussions, I have come to know many wonderful people whom I honored to call friends.

The second was the gift of a sharpened, strengthened faith. I’ve had fascinating discussions (and yes, some debates – gotta love the Forum debates!) with fellow CM members that have drawn me into a deeper knowledge and love for my faith. I have learned so much from so many of you.

Thirdly, I learned a lot about life and relationships from my CM dating experience, and from the shared experiences of others. I learned how difficult (but still worth it) long distance relationships were. I learned how powerful and how necessary good skills in communication could be when you’re meeting someone new on the internet. I learned how to be more discerning, how to listen better. I’ve experienced my own share of heartache, disappointment, and heartbreak over CM relationships – but even in hard times I learned so much about myself and what I was looking for in a husband.

The Dark Days

In the fall and winter of 2007, I experienced some of my darkest days as single person. Earlier in the year I had gone through a painful breakup, and I felt very very, very single…and very lost when it came to knowing what God wanted of me. I know that my vocation was to the married life, but I couldn’t understand what was taking God such a long time. I felt ready – and I was getting tired of waiting. My nightly prayers for God’s will, and for my future husband, were becoming slightly more desperate and much less faith-filled.

On November 23rd, my birthday, I decided to re-activate my Catholic Match membership. Earlier in the year I had let my account expire. After almost 3 years as a site user, I felt I had given God more than adequate time to find me someone online. On my birthday, CM sent me an email advertisement to re-activate my account at a special “birthday price.” When I read the email, I had this vision in my mind of standing before the throne of God someday after I had died, an old single spinster, and asking God what had I done wrong in the area of relationships? Why didn’t He fine me a spouse when I was trying so hard to do everything “right” to be available for the right person? In my mind I saw God smile at me and say “Steph, I had him waiting for you along for you on the Internet – but you wouldn’t help me out by activating your account.” I decided I wasn’t going to give God ANY excuses – I whipped my credit card out of my wallet and re-activated my account right then and there.

A Soldier Returns

I received my first emotigram from Peter Weinert on December 18th, just three weeks later. Peter had spent the previous 17 months overseas in the deserts of Iraq, serving our country. December 18th was his first day home, a civilian permanently done with deployment. The Lord had placed a strong conviction in his heart that it was time to settle down, enter his vocation and build a family and a home. Because of his extensive military service and work with the government overseas for much of the past decade, Peter did not have a large community of single Catholic friends to re-assimilate into. His older sister suggested Catholic Match, so he signed up, hoping to meet someone in the D.C. area where he now lived. He put in his profile that he would travel up to a 60 mile radius – he really wasn’t interested in a long distance relationship, especially after all the travel that had consumed his life for the past several years.

Later that day, Peter somehow came across my CM profile. In his words, he says that something about my eyes and my smile captured him, and he “just knew” that he was supposed to write me. If I responded, he was determined that I was the one he wanted to get to know better…

…even though I lived over 500 miles away.

Not Interested

I feel like an idiot admitting it now, but when Peter first started writing to me, I almost completely ignored him. From my quick perusal of his profile I saw an adorably handsome guy in a military uniform that couldn’t possibly be interested in any of the things I was interested in. I also saw how far away he lived, and with my anxieties about LDRs combined with my preconceived notion that Captain America in D.C. couldn’t possibly be “the one” – I wrote brief, non-committal, non-interesting replies to Pete’s emails, for about a month.

Towards the end of January, I’m not sure what happened, but something inside me sort of “woke up” when it came to my disinterest in Peter. I realized that this guy was still writing me occasionally – always kind, super respectful, and, if I admitted it, really funny emails. And I also realized that I paid him next to zero attention and hadn’t taken the time to ask him any questions about himself.

As a self-professed bibliophile, I started with a topic that’s my classic “litmus” test for a guy. I asked him if he liked to read, and if so, what topics. Peter replied with a huge “YES!!!” and said he loved to read a wide range of topics, but his top favs were theology and philosophy.

I was a theology and philosophy major in college. I thought to myself, “Perfect! This will be interesting…” and I asked him to tell me about some of his favorite theology books. “Well, Hahn and Kreeft are great. I’ve been reading some of the early church fathers, and I’m in the process of reading the Summa – all five volumes cover to cover – great stuff!”

I was shocked. I had never heard of a Captain America who read the Summa. I had to know more. Emails started flying up and down the Eastern seaboard as Peter and I discovered worlds of similarities and common interests.

When Mind Meets Mind

We discovered bucket loads of things in common. We both came from large Catholic families. We shared the experience of being homeschooled by our mothers when we were in grade school. Our parents had been involved in the same pro-life activist organization when we were kids. Peter’s dad grew up not too far from where my own father was raised in Pennsylvania. Our parents raised us and disciplined us in similar ways when we were growing up. We shared the same two favorite authors (Lewis and Chesterton). We shared the same favorite Bible verse. I chose it as my favorite when I was 13 and a new convert to Catholicism. Pete wore a cross with the verse engraved on the back during his military career (Proverbs 3:5-6). I found that a bit eerie, but the pièce de résistance was that we shared the same favorite brand and flavor of ice cream: Bryers mint chocolate chip. No substitutes, none of that green stuff – just Bryers. When I learned that, I figured either Peter had hired a detective to learn my quirks, or this guy was my soul mate.

We met in person three weeks later, and life, for either of us, has never been the same. When I picked Peter up at the Greenville, SC airport and we went out on our first date, we both knew we had a long road ahead of us and lots to learn about each other. At the same time, I think we both knew that this was the real thing – that this was finally, wonderfully, incredibly “it.”

Dad’s Permission

The weekend after our first date, Peter surprised me yet again by driving all the way from D.C. to Greenville for the sole purpose of taking my Dad out to lunch on a Monday afternoon and asking his permission to “get to know me better.” I had no idea about the trip until after the lunch, when Peter showed up at my office with flowers for my desk and an invitation to take me out to dinner. I knew that a guy who was willing to drive over 1000 miles roundtrip to take my Dad out to lunch was one in a million.

The Best Birthday Present Ever

I’ll be sharing some of our dating stories and the lessons we learned together in subsequent CM columns. But I must tell you here about the birthday present I received one year to the day after I had reactivated my Catholic Match profile.

It was Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King. After mass at St. Mary’s Church in Greenville, with my entire family kneeling down to offer a prayer of thanksgiving, Pete leaned over and whispered in my ear “Let’s go offer a prayer to the Queen Mother.”

We walked up to the front of the church, lit two candles at the Blessed Mother’s altar, and knelt down to say a prayer. As soon as I closed my eyes, Peter started whispering to me again. I opened my eyes to see his beet-red face and knew this was it. He pulled out the most beautiful ring I have ever seen, and asked me to be his wife and best friend forever. It was perfect!

During our afternoon of celebrating with family, we discovered that 28 years earlier, on a cold Sunday evening in Stoneham, Massachusetts, I had been born on the Feast of Christ the King. Since my family was Protestant when I was born, we never knew I was born on that Feast, which is a rotating feast day, until after we were engaged. Peter and I considered it just a little extra “confirmation” that we were meant for each other on this special day.

My Fairy Tale Come True

Peter and I were married on July 3rd, just over a month ago. He took me on a fantastic honeymoon trip to Greece, Turkey, and Italy. Not only my wonderful husband, but also our trip, was truly a fairy tale dream come true. I think back to those early days as a Catholic Match member, struggling with thoughts that this “online thing” could never work for me. How very glad I am to admit that I was wrong. I’ve learned in the most profound way how much BIGGER God’s plans and God’s ways are compared to our own. And when our faith is weak, He makes up for what is lacking and takes care of us anyway.

Over the next several months, I’d like to share in my monthly column some of the things Peter and I have learned about dating, discernment, and marriage preparation – particularly as it applies to Catholic singles, online meeting, and long distance relationships. Probably the biggest lesson we’ve learned is that there is a tremendous lack of support networks and tangible community for discerning and engaged couples. It’s a time in life when there are so many stresses, so many questions, and so many decisions to be made – it helps immensely to have others to learn from and journey with when embarking on this great adventure. Peter and I hope that we can encourage many of you by sharing our story and the lessons we have learned.

Back to Where it Started…

On that cold December day in 2004 when I first joined Catholic Match, I picked a username for my CM account that would help me remember the reason I joined, no matter what happened in my life through my involvement in the website. It was an important reminder to me each time I signed into the website. My username was “Romans828.” It’s a reference to a Bible verse, where St. Paul says:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Whether the Lord uses Catholic Match to introduce you to new friends, to help you grow in your understanding of our rich Catholic faith, or to lead you to your soul mate, never forget that His work in you is good, and his purpose is faithful and true.


(This post has been read 1,031 times)

49 Comments

  1. Glynne-385398 August 8, 2009

    Great story. I can't wait to hear her lessons learned about a long distance relationship

    • Woha T. January 4, 2012

      Life is so beautiful, so I fight for my happiness aggressively, yes I am a senior and I’m proud of myself. Even though, some time ago I am a little lonely, but I have found my other half thanks to [seniorconnecting .com]. I believe you are also enjoy your life, so let’s be happy together!

  2. Roslyn-80300 August 9, 2009

    Thank you for being generous in sharing your story—it's like I'm reading my own but the last part. Best wishes to the both of you!

  3. Ivy-330443 August 10, 2009

    Congrats Steph!

  4. Diane-323361 August 15, 2009

    What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing!!

  5. Fred-173924 August 18, 2009

    Congratulations Stephanie! That is a great story and I am happy for you and Peter- may God Bless you all the days of your lives.
    God Bless.

  6. Martina-464542 August 18, 2009

    Congratulations to stephanie and Petter, and thank very
    much for sharing your experience with us. God bless both of
    you.

  7. Helene-78326 August 28, 2009

    My congratulations to both of you and thanks for sharing! I miss your radio show but look forward to your future articles.

  8. Melanie-433112 August 29, 2009

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. Blessings to you and your husband. Melanie

  9. Martha-153580 September 3, 2009

    Thank you Stephanie for sharing your love story, it truly is an inspiration! Best wishes to you and your husband, may God continue to bless you. I look forward to reading your columns.

  10. Ann-15553 September 4, 2009

    Hi Stephanie!
    It was great reading your story. It does give us hope.
    I want to wish you and Pete a wonderful and long life together.
    May it be filled with peace, love and joy.
    In him,
    Ann
    (PS, I am not sure you remember me,but I met you at a CMN conference and tried to hook you up with someone there) God knows better than I do. lol

  11. JoAnn-458899 September 6, 2009

    You both are very Blessed. Jo-Ann

  12. Joan-388902 September 7, 2009

    Stephanie & Peter, God is working through you both by extending hope & consolation to many of us…Thank you for your inspiring story of love, faith and committment. Even if we do not find the 'love of our lives' here, we are being reminded that God loves us 'no matter what'! Here's to hope & love,
    Joan Marie

  13. Roberta-344241 September 9, 2009

    Rose 8301 met her husband Paul on Catholic Match when they both least expected it also, and many "God-Incidences" led them to know that they were meant to be together.. It's wonderful to read of your "God-Incidences" also. Congratulations, and thanks for sharing your beautiful story here! I wish other Married former Catholic Match members were still welcome here as they too, like you, have so much to share with others.

  14. Lauren-297744 September 13, 2009

    Congratulations and best wishes.

  15. Carlos-167015 September 16, 2009

    Congratulations! ;) Do you think that one is meant to find true love if in ones heart the deisre burns everyday? How does one know its pure whim instead of Gods will?
    Karl

  16. Claudia-423360 September 25, 2009

    That is such a beautiful story. I too, didn't think much to these online dating sites either. Until one day when I heard about catholicmatch from our church newsletter and at first was very hesitant but then I signed up for 6 mos. Yes, I have found someone who has captured my heart completely. We have met 6 mos ago and have been communicating ever since, we have been dating a couple months now. He is my best friend and we have fallen in love with each other. We don't get off the phone without saying I love you. I feel very confident in my relationship with him and know that my future is with him. =) Congrats to the two of you and many many years of love and happiness, god bless!

  17. Derek-484872 September 25, 2009

    This was a very moving story. Reading excerpts such as these help provide more inspiration to live a life of faith, gratitude, and patience. When you talked about the proposal, I was very moved. It was very pure and sincere. God Bless always!

  18. RoseMarie-41488 September 25, 2009

    Thank you Stephanie….

  19. Mary-285153 October 29, 2009

    I didn't realize who was writing this at first… until you mentioned your father being a marriage and family speaker and "Romeo Online" and checked your last name. Omg, that makes this story even more wonderful, if that's possible. Makes me feel much better about being online and all.
    Many many blessings and heaps of congrats to you both!!! Very inspirational story :)

  20. Susan-501039 November 6, 2009

    The bit about your user name is uplifting. I suppose there are many of us who aren't sure about the "online dating" thing. Thanks for reminding us to have hope and some measure of trust. Wishing you all the best in your married life.

  21. Sabrina-427169 November 6, 2009

    You are blessed by a true gift! Finding the one for you that intertwines all your qualities with his. It is rare in this world, and that is what makes it so beautiful. God puts people in our lives to show us that we not alone no natter what. Thank you for reminding of that. God bless and Take care.

  22. Loretta-199590 November 11, 2009

    wow

  23. Jeanne-445476 November 12, 2009

    Thanks for sharing wonderful story!Wish I can experience the happiness like you,

  24. Richard-465733 November 15, 2009

    Thank you for sharing and may God bless you both now and forever.

  25. Christopher-413506 November 24, 2009

    Awesome story. I really feel for y'all and wish you the very best!

  26. Maggie-510223 November 26, 2009

    Wow! Great story. God bless you both! Thank you for sharing.

  27. Joan-3281 November 29, 2009

    Thank you for sharing your story… very encouraging. Though we may have different outcomes, 'ts true that God does work all things for good for those who love Him. :)

  28. Millie-309066 December 2, 2009

    What a beautiful story.God Bless your marriage.

  29. John-49562 December 6, 2009

    Thanks for this wonderful story, Steph! Since I read your experience, I think I will renew my subscription, too! You never know…

  30. Jen-130507 December 13, 2009

    Hey Steph, I loved reading this! I know you're thinking is this Jen on CM again? I can't tell you the number of times it's been mentioned to me in the past couple of weeks…so I decided to follow. I signed on and what did I see, but the beautiful story of you and Pete. I'm hopeful in whatever God wants for me. I hope you're doing well, I miss you! Let me know how the autumn chowder recipe turned out :o )

  31. Gisele-376102 December 13, 2009

    Hope everyone will get his turn and find his/her soulmate and be happy.I wish also that everyone will have someone to kiss him on New Years Eve. Merry Christmas everyone.God bless you.

  32. Carlos-167015 December 16, 2009

    very nice

  33. Elizabeth-508126 December 18, 2009

    Your story is so beautiful, I even got teary eyed. Your story keeps me hopeful that God has a plan for everyone, but we need to be patient. Thanks for sharing!

  34. Richard-259473 December 20, 2009

    WOW! What a beautiful story. I just reactivated my account yesterday after a hiatus of two years. Congratulations Stephanie!

  35. Cheryl-426667 December 29, 2009

    Great story…nice to know it can happen like this.

  36. Lynn-189934 December 29, 2009

    Stephanie, your story renewed my faith and my resolve to be a bit more patient with CM and with God. I had resigned myself a few months ago to not meeting anyone special and deciding maybe I should see who in the divorcee pool existed in my surrounding area (not that its bad to be divorced, but not one of them is Catholic and some don't go to church at all). It gives me encouragement to look beyond the eight hour drive distance.

  37. Kat-432523 December 30, 2009

    I love everythinh that you wrote…what a GREAT story…Congratulations and Best Wishes to you and Peter… =)

  38. Martha-328318 January 5, 2010

    What a great story. You serve as an inspiration to many of us. God Bless You and Your Husband. Thank You.

  39. MariaFranciska-482066 January 7, 2010

    Stephanie , your story is very inspiring…God bless both of you. Congrats..

  40. Ruby-400062 January 7, 2010

    Wow! Everybody should read your story…Congratulations!

  41. Mary-526909 January 14, 2010

    Stephanie and Peter your story is amazing…it truly speaks of the love God really does have for us. Congratulations in your belief that this love truly takes us where we belong.

  42. Claudia-497439 January 21, 2010

    this was a great story! It gives me hope since I have been feeling down about my luck here at CM.

  43. Cynthia-386169 January 25, 2010

    Nothing is impossible with God. I'm trully happy for both of you…I hope the same fate would be on my side soon, too. Thanks for sharing!

  44. ToniLyn-490668 January 27, 2010

    God bless you both always =) Your story is just what I needed to read after going through what I went through that started here on CM. I have hope once again on CM.

  45. Melanie-482121 January 31, 2010

    bless you two in what you found. Your story gives me hope to meet someone nice. Thanks

  46. Jenny-262724 January 14, 2011

    Wow, I can’t tell you how happy I am for you!!!

  47. Edith-983459 July 27, 2013

    WOW, that is a brilliant and truly inspiring story! Thank you for sharing :) God bless you both!

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