Matthew is a 23-year-old Navy man, and he and his shipmates live by the motto of “Ship, shipmate, self,” in that order. But he has two other words that precede it, and those are God and family. It was that desire that brought him to CatholicMatch at the suggestion of his priest.
Allison found a strong drive to be an attractive quality in a man and was receptive when Matthew reached out to her. “We had so much in common,” Matthew told CatholicMatch. “When she described what she was looking for I just thought it could be me.”
Keeping up his optimism wasn’t easy for Matthew. Even though he confidently described himself as an officer, a gentleman and a scholar in his profile—and lived a life to back it all up—he also admitted to being more of an introvert and he’d spent two years on CatholicMatch before he met Allison.
“I’d check (my messages) every day, hopeful that maybe today was the day I’d first meet the love of my life,” he recalled. “I met some wonderful people and found great encouragement through the message boards, but still received very few responses.”
Perhaps it was that discouragement that led him to roll the dice on his initiative toward Allison. “I can’t even remember exactly what I said,” he told CatholicMatch. “But it was a crazy message…something about me being a fun-loving music man (Allison had in her profile that a love for music was a must).” Lo and behold, crazy worked. Allison thought the message was funny and sent him a reply.
The couple got to know each other online, exchanged phone numbers and skyped on occasion. The day after 23-year-old Allison graduated college, she took charge on setting up their first face-to-face date. She lives in the central part of Florida, on the Atlantic side, while Matthew is from Pensacola, on the Gulf side, tucked in towards Alabama. “She drove four hours across the state just to meet me,” Matthew said with amazement.
Matthew and Allison’s first date was an all-day event and ended with Mass, celebrated by the same priest who advised Matthew to take his chances with online dating. Allison returned later in the week for a music audition and this time Matthew took the initiative. “I knew the school she was auditioning at, so I headed over there and left a rose and car on her windshield,” he recalled.
The ensuing year saw them continue to work at growing their relationship, building on the common bonds of faith and their shared admiration for the other’s unique talents and passion for what they did. Matthew knew where he wanted this to go and he had bought an engagement ring. Pulling off a proposal in a memorable and appropriate way wouldn’t be easy.
“Allison has an uncanny ability to sniff out surprises if she catches even a hint of something out of place,” he said. “I had been playing around with different ideas, but somehow the idea would be blown before it even got off the ground.”
Matthew didn’t make it in the Navy by being unable to think up a covert operation though. He was visiting at her apartment, and she left for work, thinking that he would make the drive back home. It left him a four-hour window on a Sunday evening to execute a plan he’d come up with on the spot. He moved quickly, buying up the ingredients for a dinner she’d taught him to cook along with a dozen roses. “While I was out, I left one on her windshield again to surprise her,” he said.
As it turns out, Allison got off work early and caught Matthew right in the middle of making dinner. He didn’t give away the game, but after dinner, he set up a camera and made the final move. “I hope she didn’t see it coming before then,” he told CatholicMatch. “But she said yes!”
Matthew and Allison ask for the prayers of the CatholicMatch community, as the challenges of being a military couple have already set in. “As a naval officer, it’s sometimes difficult to get leave, even for my own wedding day,” he said. The wedding plans have been in the works for a year and they hope to marry at the end of May, but even that’s not a guarantee.
Matthew said, “It’s in God’s hands, as it always has been.”