When you see true love, it's the sweetest, most lovely vision to behold. Over the past four years, I have regularly observed Josh and Jennifer at Mass. I didn't know them, but I always noticed them because they typically sat near us and because they gave off this true love vibe. I always thought how sweet it was that he would hold her hand during Mass. Our family dubbed them the "cute couple" since we didn't know their names.
Recently, one Sunday after Mass, I was introduced to Jennifer. Shortly afterwards, I learned from her that she and Josh met on CatholicMatch. I had the honor of sharing a meal with them and hearing their love story.
This adorable couple almost didn't meet because Josh didn't have a profile photo. In 2008, Jennifer, 29, connected with Josh, 28, on the last day of her membership. Josh had attempted to talk to Jennifer earlier, but since he didn't have a picture up on the CatholicMatch, she hadn't paid much attention. On the last night of her membership, Jennifer couldn't sleep, so she was on CatholicMatch. Josh started chatting with her, and Jennifer noticed that he had put photos up with his profile--and he was attractive.
The conversation was good and at the end of the chat, Jennifer told Josh: "I really enjoyed talking to you, but my subscription is ending today, and I don't plan on renewing it."[Jennifer had been discouraged because she had gone on some dates with members that didn't turn out well for her.]
Josh answered by asking, "Will you give me your phone number because I'd like to call you."
Jennifer says she really made it difficult for him. I told him, "I don't give me phone number out to strangers."
Not to be discouraged, Josh said, "Okay, I'll give you my phone number and if you want, you can call me."
The Value of Long Distance Communication
Jennifer called him the next day on his lunch hour, and for the next two months, they talked incessantly over email and the phone. Josh says because he lived in Idaho and Jennifer lived in Texas, the distance made them have to talk about serious matters. "The interesting thing is if we had lived in the same town and dated, we would have gone out to the movies and hung out with other people. But only having a phone or email to communicate through--it forced us to talk about something other than the weather or what we did today. We talked about heavier things--like having kids and budgeting finances--which we probably wouldn't have broached until further along in our relationship, or maybe not until a marriage prep course."
In their heartfelt conversations, they discovered that each had made the decision not to casually date anymore; they wanted something better for themselves--something special. "Literally a week apart, we both had separate life events that were painful and we both said to ourselves, 'No, more! This is not what God wants for us.'" Shortly afterwards, they met on CatholicMatch.
But this meeting might not have happened because Josh almost passed over Jennifer. Even though he thought that she was "smokin' hot," he noticed on her profile that her Mass attendance was only once a month, so Josh almost dismissed Jennifer as a potential spouse. Then he started to think, "She has answered 'yes' to all the seven important question. She's almost there."
She Didn't Want Him to Leave
That first meeting in person, Josh flew to Texas to see Jennifer. "I was nervous to meet him. This was crazier than skydiving, which I have done," Jennifer says. "I felt so sick. I kept worrying that he's going to be here for five days! What if it doesn't go well?"
When Jennifer dropped Josh off at the airport, she was sobbing. "I was heartbroken because I felt like there was this possibility that I would not see him again, even though he reassured me. This was finally the man I was looking for and waiting for, and I might lose him."
Six months after they meet online, Josh proposed to Jennifer after morning Mass. Josh recalls how his patience was tried on that day. "There was a substitute priest that blathered on in his homily, and somehow he started talking about global warming. I'm thinking, "I don't care." I wanted Mass to be fast, because I was excited to propose to Jenny. Then afterwards, I was waiting for church to clear out because I didn't want an audience. Everyone had left except for this one holy lady. She just wasn't leaving. I was willing her to leave."
Jennifer remembers being impressed by how engrossed Josh was in prayer, but actually he was praying, "Please leave. Please leave."
"I was also thinking that I would need to go to Confession," Josh says.
This time when Jennifer flew home, she felt at peace and there were no tears. The engagement ring was a comforting promise of commitment.
In June of 2009, the couple was married at Jennifer's parish. This was only the sixth time that they had been together in the same room. They wouldn't recommend this kind of craziness for younger couples, but it worked for them. Perhaps because they had had enough life experiences, so each knew exactly what they wanted in a spouse, explains Josh.
After the Wedding
After five years of marriage, the love and respect they feel for one another is still going strong. We discussed the initial challenges that they faced in the beginning of their marriage. Josh explains that the biggest challenge was dealing with each others idiosyncrasies.
They recall that they had their first little argument over what kind of hot dogs they should buy. "Our first realization that we really didn't know each other that well was grocery shopping at Walmart," says Jennifer.
Josh threw a cheap package of hotdogs in the cart. "Growing up in a family of 10 kids, you pick the cheapest hot dogs on the market," Josh says.
Aghast, Jennifer looked in the shopping cart when she saw the chicken part hot dogs. "I was like, 'What is that in our grocery basket?'" Jennifer didn't plan on eating any hot dog that wasn't all-beef.
Jennifer says there were a lot of things that were difficult about marrying Josh especially leaving her family in Texas. "But I knew that this was right. Everything was providential that way we meet. I felt like the Holy Spirit was guiding us. I never doubted what we were doing, but there were some very difficult aspects."