Editor’s note: Since Dan and Jessica are both writers, we asked each of them to share their story. Dan begins.
Jessica Was Dan’s Field Of Dreams…
Before joining CatholicMatch in August 2009, my love life wasn’t exactly taking off. In fact, it was like a Boeing 747 with a busted engine: totally grounded. The few relationships I did have by age thirty hadn’t lasted long. After surviving one particularly bumpy landing, I made a choice to try a faith-based dating site.
Although I wasn’t very religious as a young adult, by my late 20s, my faith had gradually become an important part of my life. For the first time, I was consciously looking for someone who shared my values and I figured being open to a little divine help couldn’t hurt after years of trying to find someone without it. I started emailing a few of the women from my area. It took a few tries before I got a date.
Luckily, my sisters demanded that I change my profile picture and picked me a better one. My original photo could have been mistaken for a mug shot from America’s Most Wanted. There’s a good tip for the guys reading this: let your sisters go over your profile. They might tease you, but it’s worth it.
I met my first date for coffee. We didn’t click. Afterwards, I decided to try something new. At first, I’d been looking at people close to my home in Philadelphia, Pa. I like travel, so I did a search to see how far away some of the women lived from me. I read profiles of ladies as distant as Australia and Iraq. I didn’t intend on dating anyone long distance, but then I saw Jessi’s profile.
She was beautiful, had a sense of humor and, best of all, hailed from an exotic location.
I said hi, just out of curiosity. Her profile listed her as being from a city in IA. I mistakenly thought “IA” was the abbreviation for Iceland. My first message to her read something like: “Hi, what’s it like in Iceland? I’ve never met anyone from your country.” It turns out IA actually stands for Iowa, the land of corn, not ice. I sent a follow up email apologizing for my ignorance and asking about the Hawkeye state. I knew nothing about Iowa except what I saw in the movie “Field of Dreams.”
Jessi and I began emailing, instant messaging, and then calling each other. I asked to visit her within the first six weeks. I knew that there was no way to tell if our chemistry was real until we were face to face. When we met for the first time at the airport, she wore a John Deere hat. The farm equipment maker is an Iowa powerhouse. I gave her Tastykakes, a Philadelphia delicacy. I was overcome by her Midwestern charm. Then my love life was finally cleared for take off, literally.
We dated for about 18 months, flying to see each other once a month in alternating cities. It was exciting and difficult. As we grew closer emotionally, the geographic distance was harder to endure. Our short time together each month was precious. On one trip to Iowa, I remember a huge storm, known then as ‘Snowpocalypse,’ gave us an extra day together. It was like winning the lottery. On another trip, we lost a day. Jessi had to sleep in Chicago’s O’Hare airport after a flight crew didn’t show up for her plane. Not the best night of her life, of course.
In April 2011, I proposed to Jessi. We still had no idea how we were going to get together, but we had faith. We had been looking for jobs in each other’s cities. In June 2011, I got an offer to work as a reporter for The Witness, a Catholic newspaper.
It was hard to leave Pennsylvania, but moving marked the beginning of a great adventure. In October 2011, Jessi and I married. I’m thankful for everything we have, including the support of our family, friends and co-workers. The journey I started by joining CatholicMatch strengthened my faith. I believe God helped bring my wife and I together.
I hope our story helps to inspire all of you looking for love. Remember what Jesus said: “Seek and ye shall find.” And also don’t forget what the voice in the cornfield told the Iowa farmer in Field of Dreams: “If you build your online profile, he/she will come.” That’s really what the voice said. Trust me. I’ve been to the real field of dreams in Dyersville.
Dan Was Jessica’s Final Terminal…
When I joined CatholicMatch, I felt as if I were harboring a deep secret: I was 29-years-old and had never had a boyfriend or been in love. Dating had always eluded me. I assumed there was something very wrong with me which made putting myself out there all the more difficult. However, with the age of 30 looming, I felt I really needed to try. I was signing up to CatholicMatch as a single person and figured if I didn’t meet anyone and was still single, I wasn’t out anything.
I joined the site on August 15, 2009, and two days later my life changed. I received an e-mail from Dan in Pennsylvania. Like me, he was a writer who liked to travel. I remember my heart beating quickly as I looked at a map of the United States. I was in Iowa but I was hoping somehow my geography skills were failing me and that perhaps Pennsylvania was on the west side of Ohio making him closer to me. But I had been right: Mapquest showed the distance between us as 931 miles.
I decided that if anything we could be pen pals. As writers, we’d commiserate our CatholicMatch experiences together! But as his e-mails arrived, one more interesting than the next, I found myself driving home feverishly on my lunch hours in order to read them. Those mails eventually led to instant messages and finally to phone calls.
Dan was what I had always dreamed of finding: he was kind and compassionate, intelligent, funny and so curious about the world around him. We’d talk on the phone so long that I always sat within proximity of an outlet in order to be able to recharge as we spoke. But as giddy as I felt about having met him, it was bittersweet: we had established a connection, yet could not even meet for a cup of coffee. I tried to be realistic and told myself I would simply enjoy him until he met someone in his own city.
But after a month, he asked if he could fly to Iowa to meet me. I was elated and also terrified. What if our connection didn’t translate into real life? He arrived on a Saturday morning and I drove to the airport saying Our Fathers the whole way. I knew I was meeting someone incredible and I asked God to let me enough for him. When the doors to the airport opened and I walked inside, he was sitting in a chair waiting. The moment I saw him, I felt an incredible calm come over me. Everything was going to be just fine.
He stayed for five days and as cliché as it sounds, my feet did not touch the ground the entire time. One night of his visit, I showed him some square dance moves I remembered from gym in high school. After dosey-doing, a slow song came on the radio and as we gently swayed together I thought, “We will dance like this on our wedding day.” Everyone always says, “When you know, you know.” I knew with all of myself that he was the one.
We visited each other in our respective states 19 more times after that first visit and made a pact to try our hardest to apply for jobs in each other’s city. On April 15, 2011, Dan proposed to me at the airport from the same spot in which we had first met. However, we were still living on separate parts of the country. He went home that April and while I now had a ring, I still did not have Dan.
But a month later our lives would change again: Dan received a job offer in Iowa. I flew to Pennsylvania on a one-way ticket and we drove the 931 miles to the Midwest—together.
We married on October 28, 2011. I called my walk down the aisle the “final terminal.” Dan had promised me all while we were dating that someday we’d be together forever. He was right.
And so was I: we slow danced on our wedding day just as we did when we first met.