Jessica was skeptical of online dating. The 25-year old living in the Twin Cities and working as a research associate felt it seemed a bit “unnatural,” as she put it. But with the encouragement of her cousin, she decided to create a free CatholicMatch profile. From there it was CatholicMatch members themselves that drew her in—“looking at some very impressive profiles of men around my hometown, I was overcome with curiosity and subscribed for a six-month membership.”
Halfway through her membership, Jessica was getting a little discouraged. Not overly so, because she had corresponded with men she liked, even if the right match didn’t seem out there. But she was wondering if this venue was the best for her. Then a young man, three older than her working as an environmental engineer for the government in Missouri decided to take a chance.
Earlier this week Faith Hope & Love editor Christina Ries challenged CatholicMatch members to broaden their search parameters — if only just once. That was exactly what Ryan did.
“I had randomly set my search radius to the maximum allowed distance just to see who was out there,” he recalled. When he came up with Jessica he still figured the distance was too big an obstacle, but that he might make a friend.
Ryan and Jessica made a connection online, and despite their preference to avoid long-distance relationships, they made a decision to make it work. They used the standard tools of today in doing so, from e-mails to chats to phone calls, and also made use of video chats. But Jessica’s favorite way of communication was more old-fashioned: a hand-written snail mail letter.
After six weeks they decided to meet in person, so he made the trip up to Minneapolis. To combat any potential awkwardness he brought along a friend — a move approved by Jessica and one she highly recommends. They were both still a little uncomfortable and Ryan termed the weekend “questionable,” but there was enough that he asked if they could see each other again and she agreed.
The second meeting came halfway between them in Des Moines, as they toured the botanical gardens and had dinner at The Olive Garden. Afterward, Ryan asked Jessica if she would be his girlfriend. “She wanted to say ‘not quite yet, but ask again later,’ ” Ryan told CatholicMatch. “Instead she said ‘sure.’ I’m sure glad she said sure.”
For the next 13 months Ryan and Jessica continued to grow in faith until he proposed marriage on a ski trip in Colorado. This past April they were married. “Our wedding was everything I dreamed it to be,” Jessica said. “I am grateful for my cousin’s encouragement to join CatholicMatch.