Eric was no stranger to online dating. The 30-year-old lay Dominican novice from Columbia, MD had tried out this form of meeting people. “I told people I had lots of luck,” he later recalled. “It was all bad.” But several friends of his had met their spouses online, and knowing how important faith was to him, he decided to try CatholicMatch.
Tui Marie, 28-years-old and an hour away in Arlington, Va.—the two cities are essentially D.C. suburbs on opposite sides of the city—had joined CatholicMatch with few expectations. In fact there were no expectations at all—she simply joined to give moral support to her cousin, who was also on the site.
It was November 2009 when Eric and Tui Marie made the online connection with each other. “We saw that we both agreed with all of the Church’s major teachings, “Eric said. “We appreciated similar types of prayer, had devotions to some of the same Saints, and even shared some favorite charities.”
Two months later, when Washington D.C. had “Restaurant Week,” the couple decided to get together for dinner and see if the solid faith foundation could provide the basis for a relationship.
The early results were positive, as the intangibles of chemistry and click seemed to be there. Still, the couple proceeded slowly and for the first month or so didn’t consider themselves to be in an exclusive relationship.
They also appreciated the advantages of distance. “We found that…helpful early in our discernment process because we spent a lot of time talking over the phone, which allowed us to avoid physical temptations,” Eric told CatholicMatch.
Eric & Tui Marie’s patience bore good fruit and their relationship soon grew exclusive. After a year, Eric suggested they begin formally discerning marriage. “Our goal was to make sure that marriage was God’s will and not just ours,” Eric humbly recalled.
That discernment entailed both individual prayer, and that as a couple, through the rosary, the offering of the Mass and the reading of John Paul II’s Theology Of The Body together. In time, they came to see what both of their families were already convinced of, and it’s that marriage was indeed their call.
Before Eric could undertake his plan for a proposal on the Potomac River, he had to have a conversation with Tui Marie’s dad. For as old-fashioned as he may seem in many areas, asking the father’s permission was something he had always sworn he would never do. But early in Tui Marie’s time on CatholicMatch she read and then made a forum post on Stephanie Wood Weinert’s success story where her husband Peter not only asked Mr. Wood’s permission to marry, but just to date Stephanie.
“Thanks to that article, I could see it was important to Tui,” Eric told CatholicMatch. “So I swallowed my pride and asked her dad before proposing.”
Dad’s permission set the stage for a picnic on the Potomac. Eric had created a “dream album” that included things they’d like to have together and charities they’d like to support. The last page was a bridal set. “Once she saw it and took it in, I went down on one knee,” Eric said. “I told her I found my dream girl and asked her to marry me. She said yes.”