Even though she is in her early 50s, Claire had never been married until Tom found her on CatholicMatch. Claire, who had been a CatholicMatch member on and off for 12 years, says it was the stories of other members finding love, and the quality of men that she met on the site, that gave her hope to persevere. There were times in her life when she felt like giving up, but then she would read the success stories of people who met their spouses on CatholicMatch, and she was struck by a number of different circumstances. She thought, “If I kept my mind and heart open, then there was no reason it couldn’t happen to me at some point.”
During her time on CatholicMatch, she met around ten to fifteen members and had a brief relationship with several of those men. “While I did not always feel an attraction on an intellectual and or physical level, I was almost always heartened by the spirituality that the men possessed. That is what kept me pursuing the possibility of meeting my husband.”
The biggest cross
Claire always prayed for discernment, so when things didn’t work out with the men she met, she didn’t get discouraged. However, one thing that bothered her—and was her greatest cross—was that she would never have children of her own. “I lamented this; knowing that I would not have a baby was the most painful thing throughout my search for a husband.”
Tom wanted a woman who lived nearby
Tom who lives out East—also in his early 50s and never married—was looking for someone who lived nearby. Since he did not want a long-distance relationship, he limited his search to someone near his general metropolitan area.
“I read Claire's profile, and it seemed as if our interests matched to a large degree. One thing I like about CatholicMatch is that the filtering system for finding potential mates is very good. The way the profile section is laid out is also very good for discovering a person's interests,” says Tom, who lives less than an hour’s drive from Claire's home.
It started as just coffee, but quickly moved into sundae territory
Tom connected with Claire in June of 2014; in July, they met for their first date at a charming old ice cream café. I knew the date was going well because initially we had planned to just have coffee, but Tom suggested we stay and split and ice-cream sundae. “When I left, I felt strongly we would have a second date,” Claire remembers.
Tom agrees, “From the very beginning we both just ‘clicked’ in that personal way that is so hard to describe but which most people are familiar.”
By their third date, they both felt that there was a great mixture of compatibility and chemistry. Claire was excited because she couldn’t help thinking that she might actually get married.
Sooner then expected, Tom got to meet her whole family. Claire’s brother, who’s an artist, was having a one-man show of his work. Claire and Tom attended, and she ended up introducing him to all of her family who also attend. “He had no idea that he was going to meet everyone all at the same time, but he did very well. I was impressed how he handled it. It meant a lot to me that he would like my family.”
Tom and Claire would get together once a week for dates, and their relationship was going wonderfully. The only real hiccup was getting to the point where they were both ready to sacrifice their independence.
“We talked about it a lot, and this helped. Our relationship meant enough to us that we were willing to sacrifice certain things (we both sold our homes), and we were willing to start over.”
Tom adds, “We each had to give up a lot to make this work, but we were each determined, and in the end everything worked out beautifully.”
Tom follows through
One of the things Claire loves about Tom is that he always follows through—so after asking her father’s permission to marry her—he immediately asked her ring size, so she knew that he would be proposing soon.
On May 9, 2015, after a day trip to Harper’s Ferry, a historic park, they came back to Claire’s home to freshen up before going to go out to dinner. “I came downstairs, and I saw that he had a ring box by some roses,” Claire remembers.
Tom shares, “I got down on my knee in front of her and presented her with a ring. I told her she was the love of my life and asked her if she should marry me. To my great joy, she immediately said, ‘Yes!’”
Later, Claire was touched to discover that before Tom had proposed; he had gone to visit his parents’ graves to bring them flowers.
A dream realized
Claire agreed to move Tom’s small town. “I had been waiting for this life for some time, so I quit my job in education to get ready for the wedding, sell my house, and find my bearing in a new place. It was wonderful. I felt like I had the fresh start that I had been longing for. I had been used to urban living, but I discovered that I may actually be more suited to small town living.”
On December 12th, 2015, they were married in a small Catholic church in Washington, D.C. At the wedding and after, Claire kept hearing from people how beautiful the wedding was. “People were so happy for us; we felt that they were rejoicing with us after our years of searching and waiting."