Life After CatholicMatch: Boundless Joy, One Regret


November is filled with anniversaries in my life.

Three years ago this month I received my first CatholicMatch emotigram from Peter-153167, asking if we’d had any snow in South Carolina yet. (I don’t think Pete realized that South Carolina rarely gets snow.)

Two years ago this month, on my birthday and kneeling before a statue of the Blessed Mother in my hometown church, Peter asked me to be his bride.

One year ago this month, Pete and I broke the news to our parents and family that we were expecting our first baby.

I started writing for CatholicMatch in 2005. Back then I was a single girl with big hopes and dreams – uncertain if, when, or how the Lord would make my dreams for marriage and family life come true. Now that so much as happened in my life across three Novembers, I’m in awe of how quickly the Lord can work when His timing is right.

When I share my CatholicMatch success story, people often ask me if I have any regrets or if I’d do anything differently as I look back on my online dating experience with 20/20 clarity.

I’ve made lots of mistakes, experienced heartache, heartbreak, and all sorts of disappointments and discouragements on CatholicMatch. Yet I don’t regret any of those experiences. I truly believe the Lord uses everything on the “broken road” that Rascal Flats sings about to prepare us for our future.

In fact, I only have one regret of my single years.

I regret the huge amount of time and emotional energy I spent worrying about my future. As I watched college friends get married, attended baptism celebrations for college roommates’ children, and helped plan my younger sister’s wedding, I often wondered if God had forgotten about me, or if I’d be single forever, or if I’d have to settle for less than what I was looking for in a spouse in order to get married. Looking back now, I regret wasting so much useless time being worried and pessimistic when I now know that God had a wonderful plan in store for me.

If I could go back, I’d do my best to utilize the awesome years of being single with a better attitude and more trust in God to take care of me.

Now that I’m a stay-at-home mom of Mark, a rambunctious 5-month-old, I look back on all the freedom of my single years to do many wonderful things that you can’t do as easily – or in some cases at all – with a baby in tow. Living with reckless abandon to the will of God is the surest way to be happy in whatever state of life you are in – including (and perhaps especially) when you are single.

This November I’m looking forward to my baby’s first Thanksgiving and a road trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Pennsylvania. I’m not looking forward with as much enthusiasm to my 30th birthday, which is also this month, but somehow I’ll survive my husband’s teasing and get through it. (He seems to think I gave him a hard time on his 30th birthday two years ago). I know that whatever happens this month, though, it will be memorable.

November is just special.



  1. Meesch-691047 May 30, 2014 Reply

    I am so grateful that you shared this story. YES! Being single is a gifted time! I pray I’m using it well.

  2. Lauren-595722 November 8, 2010 Reply

    I feel God showed this article to me for a reason, Stephanie. I’m 18 and I’m so worried about my future. I’m constantly looking in my surroundings for “potential” guys, always kind of saddened that my life isn’t like the girl completely enamored by the guy holding her hand, and I see everyone around me so “happy” that it seems that God won’t have anything like that in store for me…but by reading this, you have touched me. I shouldn’t be worried about things like this, because God will bring the right guy in my life if its His will that I marry, it’s just the hard fact of waiting for God’s voice. I’m constantly worried about my life right now, scared that I’m not studying in college the things that God wants me to, scared that if I’m following only what I want, scared that it’ll be too much money if it turns out to be the wrong thing God wants for my life ( wanted to be a vet, vet school is EXPENSIVE) because now I’m having second thoughts about it…but also scared that maybe the life He’s calling me to is not letting me use my hobbies and loves included…so why would He give us gifts if we can’t use them? I’m just so confused right now, and still young, but my heart is an older, if not wiser one… I’ll use the advice you’ve given me here, definitely! I’ll start living my life the way I hope God is calling me to! …but is there anything else you can tell me to help me? I’m so…lost…lately, and “Letting Go and putting it in God’s hands” Is something that’s not easy when you’re an over-compulsive worrier by habit and you’re also a control freak to a certain extent… help?

    But besides all that, I thank God that I read your article, and I praise HIm for the graces and love He’s given you through your husband and baby! congrats! I wish the best for you all and will pray for you! God bless always!

    2 Corinthians 12:9

  3. Lindsey-598427 November 7, 2010 Reply

    This is such a sweet story! Thanks for sharing!!!

  4. Alaina-112145 November 7, 2010 Reply

    Thank you Stephanie. I needed to hear this right now. I’ve only ever wanted to be married and raise a family and it seems like I have been waiting forever. I too have attended too many friends weddings and have a hard time not crying at baptisms. But I know that Gods timing is perfect. And I know that my time spent lamenting what I don’t have yet or longing for the “dream” is less than the fullness of what God has for me right now. My constant prayer is to embrace my current state in life- embrace, live and flourish!

  5. Monika-206146 November 3, 2010 Reply

    This is a great story and teaches us many important things- including patience, hope and trust in God’s plan for us. This is a wonderful article, no matter what your age is. Perhaps those women above 40 feel like they have missed out, but CM is no guarantee you will meet a partner, fall in love, get married, have children or even stay married. It is just another means of meeting people. It obviously worked so far for this family which is great.

    But I do know the success of CM cannot be measured by counting the number of couples who got married or even who started relationships. What about our own personal experience with others and with God? Our growth in faith, understanding ourselves and understanding others? How does one measure that? Surely that is a success too- that can be directly contributed to the services CM provides.

    Perhaps the older women missed out on their opportunities when they were younger, or perhaps God meant you never to get married? We don’t know. You could have had a family by adopting or providing foster care for children. Maybe you should have thought about lowering your standards when you were younger or taking a leap of faith with someone you would not usually date. Marriage has its fair share of problems too, and the Lord knew you would not be able to handle those situations, so He blessed you with single life instead; a life where you have probably accomplished many great things. Also, maybe God only needs you to be a grandparent to some children who need YOU out of everyone in the world. I say, keep an open mind!

    For me, an almost 24 year old, this article is important to keep me grounded. It is also important to the thousands of other men and women on CM approaching 35 who feel like they will miss the boat for family life. They probably question their own subscriptions like we all do. Sure I am young, and may find a partner before I am 30, but maybe I won’t? In the end, who am I to question God’s plans for me. I say, go with the flow, trust in God and listen to your surroundings. Be grateful for what you have and never give up hope =) After all, we may not all be called to religious life or family life, but we are all definitely called to be with Christ for eternity.

    Blessings to all! ~Monika

    • Tanya-63933 November 6, 2010 Reply

      I would be interested in knowing exactly who this “you” is that Monika helpfully critiques in her post. God bless and keep you, as well, Monika. I pray that you never have a dark night of the soul if you are ever, as you so astutely intimate that it is, continuously blessed with a single state beyond the youth of which you revel in now. Many saints cannot even make the claim to have never experienced such moments. Thank you and Mrs. Wood Weinert for offering your all encompassing comments to those whose road you haven’t yet walked.

      • Monika-206146 November 6, 2010 Reply

        Thank you for the kind thoughts Tanya. In my post, when I used “you”, it was more a general you for women who are over child baring years on CM who may share some of the views or questions in your post and Kathy’s post. I had no one particularly in mind at the time. The CM audience is so diverse so whoever reads it may use it however they like.

        I base my views on the kind of people I see around me. In my own friendship groups (which are also very diverse), I find that some men and women are not willing or confident enough to put themselves out there. They often think things will just work out, without them having to do any (or minimal) work. I am sure there could be people like this on CM (I would not know personally). For people who live like this, the years slip away. This can either cause faith to strenthen or weaken.

        The point of my post was not to criticise; but rather, perhaps inspire single women out there who may think marriage is the only way to have a family or the “be all and end all” of life. Maybe a single woman in her mid 30s will stop trying to find Mr Right and adopt a child who may have never had the oppurtunity to know God? Obviously, not all posts or articles will please everybody but I think we can appreciate that they all have the ability to bring someone closer to God. Hopefully this is where the Holy Spirit does His work =)


  6. Tanya-63933 November 3, 2010 Reply

    I don’t understand. You were engaged, married, and a mother all before you were 30 years old. Are you offering this advice and these sentiments to people who are in their 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond? Are you offering this advice and these sentiments to people who will never experience these things? Would you still write an article like this if you were 40 years old or older? If you were past the age to give birth to such a beautiful baby? If you were past the age to attract such a handsome young man? Why are you not looking forward to your 30th birthday? I am assuming that the photograph posted is you and your family? Did you not get all that you were hoping for and more? I am sorry, Mrs. Wood Weinert, if this sounds negative, but I am not certain why you would write something like this instead of just writing about how thankful you are to have all that you have? May God bless you and your lovely family.

  7. Kathy-555815 November 2, 2010 Reply

    Stephanie, what do you think about a 54 year old woman who has never been married? Should she stay with CM, should she settle for less, do you think she should just forget it. I am the 54 year old woman. I let my 6 month subscription expire, then after a couple of months I recently signed up for another 6 months. I don’t know, but 54 years is a long time to wait. I’m very happy for you and your family.

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