Joe’s membership was close to expiring as 2008 wound down. It wasn’t that he’d been completely without luck. Joe had met and pursued a few women, but the right connection wasn’t there. He decided to try one more search, and it would be keyword-based. Joe entered in the phrase “holy,” and Annie’s profile came up.
“I am looking for a man who wants to be like St. Joseph and lead us to be a holy family,” were the words that brought Annie up in Joe’s profile search. When she got the message from Joe, Annie was conflicted. “My heart kind of skipped a beat,” she recalled. “I remember hearing in my heart, something to the effect of ‘give him a chance.’”
But before Annie could give Joe a chance, she wanted to give a fair chance to the man she was in correspondence with. While this communication was not at the status of a “relationship,” Annie preferred to focus on one person at a time, and told Joe she wanted to allow that correspondence to run its course. As Christmas 2008 drew near, it was apparent to Annie that the previous man and she would not make a good match. As luck would have it, Joe touched base with her the next day and asked if they could chat.
“That night we chatted for three or four hours,” Annie recalled. “Although it only seemed like a couple minutes. The next morning we were both up early and happily found one another to resume the conversation. Joe asked for my phone number and I happily gave it to him.”
Joe was a school teacher and on Christmas break, while Annie was just out of religious life, so they had time during the day. They used it wisely, coming to know each other better and reaching the conclusion that they’d met the person God intended them to marry. He was living in Michigan, while Annie was in Illinois and her family was in Tennessee. The distance was manageable and they knew they needed to meet and find out if their growing conviction about each other would hold up in person.
They went to Tennessee together, so he could meet her family before Christmas break was over. Annie’s father found a lot to like about Joe. “By the end of a conversation with my dad, my dad told Joe he needed to marry me,” Annie said.
Joe and Annie were sure that marriage was where they were called, but they continued to test the call. She moved to Michigan to be closer to Joe and his family. “My spiritual director was very much behind the move,” Annie told CatholicMatch. “After all, he wanted to be sure I really knew this guy.”
What Annie saw up close only affirmed her conviction. In June of 2009, she and Joe were married. It concluded the first part of an unlikely journey for Annie, who found online dating to be well past her comfort zone—so much so that she enlisted a friend to help write her profile.
The second part of Joe and Annie’s journey as husband and wife has produced a series of events that would put their faith to the test. Three miscarriages and a failed adoption attempt were heartbreaking, but Joe continued to lead their family in exactly the manner Annie hoped when she first put out her profile call for a man who would strive to be holy.
After the darkness of suffering came the light—they now have a baby boy who will soon celebrate his first birthday. Joe, Annie and their son are walking the path of faith together and striving to be holy.