"A dating site for Catholics? Are you kidding me?" That was Allison's reaction in the summer of 2011 when she and her friends saw the CatholicMatch ad in the parish bulletin.
Brian didn't laugh off online dating, but it would be mistake to say he was optimistic when he joined CatholicMatch. "I had done the online dating thing before," he said. "Failed attempts and wasted subscription money." A long-distance relationship had ended after six months. He also saw the CatholicMatch ad in the church bulletin, and figured one more try wouldn't hurt, but there were strict limits. "One six-month subscription and then you're done," was what he told himself.
Allison might have laughed at the idea of Catholic online dating, but it was an idea that never left her mind. "It was as if God was begging me to sign up," she recalled. By the fall, she went ahead and put her profile online, and then took it to prayer. "I prayed my next relationship would be more successful than my previous one," she said. "It was very rocky, especially after he left the Church.
Brian's six-month timeframe was a motivator to dive right in. "I checked out all my recommended matches and searched on my own. I answered questionnaires, sent off smiley faces and introductory hellos, and even struck up a few conversations. But nothing seemed to have staying power." Or so he thought.
One of the personal interviews Brian filled out was for Allison. She read his reply and decided to send him a message. It didn't take long for both to realize the other was different than anyone they had connected with in the past.
"Anyone who knows me well will tell you I don't 'get' sarcasm," Allison said. "And Brian loves sarcasm." But instead of this being a wall, Allison somehow "got it" with Brian. "I could hardly wait to check my email to see if I had a message from Brian," she said. "As our conversations got longer, I found myself wanting to meet this guy in person."
Brian also noticed how different Allison was from anyone else he had met. "She had things to talk about and seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say," he said. He too, noticed that she got his sense of humor, whereas previously it hadn't translated well in the two-dimensional world of online communication.
There was still the distance gap to deal with. Allison, originally from Seattle, was going to school in Montana. Brian lived in Denver. To those of us who don't live in the Mountain States, that might not seem like a big deal. Those who do, or have at least driven through, know that's a lot of terrain to cover.
"Coffee just wasn't happening," was how Brian put it, so their first meeting was a Skype date. The fact Brian's last relationship had been long-distance was something that loomed over him.
Brian and Allison were soon talking three hours every day, and through Skype they decided to commit to seeing if this long-distance relationship could work. They weren't sure, but the excitement was real. "If my roommate hadn't been sleeping at the time (that Brian asked Allison to be his girl) I would have been jumping up and down and screaming with delight... once again I felt God pushing me from behind and I realized I needed to trust Him."
January 2012 was when this relationship was put "on the ground", so to speak, as Brian flew to Montana. Allison was returning home from Christmas break, and was apprehensive, as her family had told her "horror stories of people being murdered by dates they had met online." Even so, she was excited for the opportunity to meet Brian."
The drive from the airport helped them settle into the normal conversational flow they had developed on Skype. "But I was still nervous," Allison admitted. "I couldn't stop pacing the living room once we got home. Brian patiently let me prattle on like a Chatty Cathy. He kept scooting closer and closer to me on the couch before he leaned over, gently pushed my chin towards him and kissed me."
"It turned out to a pretty good weekend," Brian said. "No one got murdered, right? It was really tough going back to Skype after that." Tough or not, they never missed a day of connecting on Skype and Allison came to Denver for her spring break.
Allison graduated in the spring of 2012, and Brian brought his parents along for the ride up to see her graduate. "It was going to be a good opportunity for the families to meet each other. Plus, Allison was going to be moving to Denver after graduating and a couple extra hands never hurt during the moving process."
The move to Denver helped Allison look for work and to have the chance to see Brian every day. "We went on lots of day trips and adventures," she recalled. "He showed me around my new home and every day was the best day of my life. However, I could have never known what he was planning."
Brian's plans had begun to formulate on Easter Sunday, we began to pray a Rosary novena, one that would take 72 days, for guidance in the relationship. It took him less time than that to make up his mind.
One of Allison's hobbies is scrapbooking and around Memorial Day weekend, she was busy at it. "Poor Brian was bored," she said. "It is not a quick hobby. The following night, after some cheap margaritas and lousy Mexican food, Brian brought up scrapbooking. He asked me if I could make a mental scrapbook of our relationship, what pages would I have." Allison thought it over, and brought up several events she would include.
"He then created his own mental pages for me and in doing so he professed his love" she continued. "Then he asked me to create another page. I was confused--about what?" It was then Brian got down on one knee and asked Allison to marry him. Though she was completely shocked, she had also prayed about it, and was ready with her answer--yes.
And thus, in the summer of 2013, Brian and Allison were married.