Tony and Tam lived across the country from each other, he in Massachusetts and she in Arizona. But they shared common roots--she is originally from the Bay State, and those common roots brought them together in a relationship that has been undergirded by faith and family right from the outset.
41-year-old Tam joined CatholicMatch on Christmas Eve of 2011 hoping to find a good Catholic man. Tony was also looking for someone of faith, and he had a strong belief that if it was meant to be, this is the kind of venue where it would happen.
The chat rooms is where were they found each other. "We exchanged a few words about our similarities of growing up," Tam said. Soon afterward, another CatholicMatch member helped connect them again and soon online communication had given way to phone calls.
"It was clear we wanted to share our faith in God with each other," Tam said. In one of those early conversations she told Tony about a prayer group outside of Boston, near where he lives that Tam had found on her last visit to see her parents.
Tony decided to check out the prayer group, and upon attending ended up meeting Tam's mother before he'd ever met her. He made quite an impression. "My mother called me after 10:30 pm that night," Tam said. "She told me I better fly home quick." Within two weeks, Tam was back in Massachusetts and meeting Tony in person in March of 2012.
Tony picked her up from the airport and by day's end, she had met his parents and Tony met the rest of her family. "It became clear we were a match," she said. "A Catholic match!"
As Tony and Tam continued to get to know each other, she admired his kindness and gentle manner. As they shared their faith together, they each noticed a deepening of their individual prayer lives. "That ultimately gave us a strong bond that brought us closer together," she said.
Their shared faith and strong prayer life gave them the foundation, but there was still the practical question of the distance between Arizona and Boston. They met for long weekends in both May and June, and otherwise relied on regular communication to keep the relationship growing.
"We would talk on the phone and send each other text messages every day," Tam recalled. They also used email for longer messages that allowed them to share in more detail. "We didn't let a day go by without hearing each other's voice, even if it was a quick hello." They also share a common interest in Christian music, and Tony regularly sent Tam links to YouTube videos he would find.
In July of 2012, Tam was back in Massachusetts and she and Tony went on a fishing trip that included a stop at Cuttyhunk Island. They walked by themselves to the hill that was on top of the island. Tony handed her a paperweight, roughly the size of a softball and said he'd gotten her something at the gift shop.
"Go ahead shake it up," Tony encouraged Tam, as she held the paperweight. It was half-filled with sand and seashells, and when Tam shook it a beautiful diamond engagement ring came to the top. Tony went on one knee to propose marriage and Tam accepted.
This past July they were married in Massachusetts. Tam has moved back East, where Tony runs a landscaping business with his brother. Faith remains at the foundation of their young marriage. "One of our favorite things to do together is to attend Adoration on Friday nights," she said. "Sharing our love with each other as well as our faith is something we are truly thankful for."