Divina was 33 years old and frustrated, mostly due to failed relationships that she realized were due to the fact that her companion did not share her religious beliefs. “We always fought over religion and over the Catholic Church,” she recalled.
December of 2009 was a lonely time, as she dealt with feeling depressed and longing to have a true soulmate to spend her life with. She implored the help of the Blessed Mother and a battalion of saints, when an idea hit her—do a Google search on Catholic dating sites.
She found a few different sites, but liked CatholicMatch because the site was well established and seemed more grounded in the faith. But she didn’t put a lot of initial energy into her new account—there was no picture, no full subscription and no luck.
The addition of a picture got her a few emotigrams and she decided it was time to become a full member of the CatholicMatch community. And she dove right in, sending out regular messages and emotes to try and create activity. It worked.
On January 11 of last year she got a message that it was Brad’s birthday. She could barely remember who he was, but knew it was likely one of the many she’d contacted. Divina sent him a happy birthday emote. She didn’t have high expectations. Divina was from Guyana in the Caribbean, while 40-year-old Brad was from Australia, a flight of more than thirty hours.
Not only were there not high expectations, there wasn’t even a high level of attraction. Divina wasn’t overwhelmed by his profile photo, and the only common interest they had was cricket. Brad still took the birthday emotigram as an open door to write back, and Divina gave him courtesy answers. Something funny happened along the way—“I started to look forward to these little banters,” she recalled. “They were light, they were pure and they were beautifully clean. No hot cheesy pickup lines. Just natural enthusiastic questions.”
Divina still had no idea where Australia even was, much less thinking that this was the one. But she did notice that life seemed brighter and she had an extra bounce to her step. They stayed in touch with texts which drove up the cellphone bills and also used Google Chat, which is free. He found the higher bills worth the price, but there was a problem behind the scenes.
Family and friends of Divina were wary of what was developing, her brother going so far to swear that Brad was “a psycho who wanted my kidney for a relative,” she said. Virtually everyone around her was concerned. But Divina felt she was better for knowing him and persisted.
Brad persisted too, and wasn’t intimidated by the high cost of travel across the world, and he made plans to come and visit for Easter. She was shocked by his willingness to spend to see her, but he made the long flight in late March 2010.
“I felt guilty to the core,” Divina recalled about their first few days together. “I did not like this man. He’s not good looking. My family will be amused.” But she had to ensure he had a good time in Guyana, so they spent time touring and just as was the case through electronic messages, Brad slowly won her over.
“Brad was an angel,” Divina said candidly. “He was gentle. He was a gentleman. He was thoughtful, generous…determined to make me happy.” Even when she admitted her mixed feelings, he told her not to worry, that he would always be glad for having made the effort.
Divina is a single parent and her son became very comfortable with Brad as they flew kites and swam. And her family came to love him. When Brad flew home three weeks later, he told Divina that he knew she was the woman he wanted to marry.
After more long-distance contact, Divina realized what she wanted to and she put the ball in Brad’s court. “If you want to marry me, ask my dad.” Brad picked up the phone and did precisely that. In November 2010, they were married in Australia, with his family in attendance, and Skype set up in the church so her clan could view the ceremony. Her son had to stay back in Guyana, but in Divina’s words “screamed his yayyys loud enough for the church to hear.”
The couple had a second ceremony back in Guyana for her family and Divina and her son permanently moved to Australia this past August. “I have had the best of two worlds, two continents and two amazing families,” she exulted. “ I have been blessed.”