Roma was unsure about joining CatholicMatch. Her experience on other dating sites hadn’t gone well, and a few dates reminded her “that I didn’t want to date an octopus.” The 60-year-old from Virginia decided to put it in God’s hands. “If you want me to join CatholicMatch, let me know,” was her simple prayer to the Almighty. Soon after, the exact amount of money to cover a full membership appeared in her life. Point taken.
Ronnie was a part of CatholicMatch, and with his first marriage annulled over 20 years ago, his desire was very basic and rooted in Scripture. “He was looking for a woman who would do him no evil,” Roma recalled. In that, they were a matched pair, because Roma, in spite of having lived through a marriage wrought with physical abuse, is ebullient and enthusiastic, without a trace of mean-spiritedness in her.
Roma also spoke highly of the annulment process, which she found to be exceptionally renewing. “It’s the best thing I ever did, including going to school,” she said without hesitation. “It cleared my mind.” The renewing effect was so strong that she likened it to being 18 years old all over again.
After one date through CatholicMatch that didn’t pan out, Roma connected with Ronnie. He had taken a look at her profile, and when she saw the notification, decided to write back and directly asked him what he thought. He liked what he saw, and a week later they had dinner plans.
Their first date wasn’t without some humor. They planned to meet at a restaurant in the same strip mall area that Roma works, and Ronnie suggested 7:30 as a meet time. “I get off at 7pm, and the restaurant is right across the parking lot,” Roma told him bluntly. Ronnie, suitably chastened, agreed to 7pm. As it turned out, Roma got stuck working a little late for the first time she could remember and had to call Ronnie to say that yes, 7:30 would be fine.
As they began to get to know each other, Roma’s optimism and smile won Ronnie’s heart. “You have a smile that doesn’t quit,” was what he told her. Roma also has the heart of St. Francis, and at the time of their meeting she owned nine wolfhounds. One of her profile pictures showed her surrounding by her dogs and looking down at them. “I could tell by the way you looked at them that you were a loving person,” was what Ronnie told her, adding that he hoped that maybe she might love him the same way she did the dogs.
Roma did indeed love Ronnie that much, but the period just prior their engagement was a stressful one. Ronnie, knowing what his plans were starting acting very nervous and uncharacteristically off balance. He works as a nuclear engineer and had to be gone for several months in Oregon on assignment, and upon his return was continuing to act somewhat skittish. Roma was sure she saw the signs—Ronnie wanted to break up with her.
All of which made a dinner date a tense experience for her, as Ronnie asked for a table where they could be alone, and then asked to be switched twice, for more darkness and privacy. “Okay, here it comes,” Roma thought.
But what came was a card. Ronnie handed it across the table. When Roma opened it up it said simply “Roma, I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Then he gave her a ring. A shocked Roma, having traveled to opposite extremes of the emotional pendulum in a matter of seconds, said yes. Her sense of humor quickly returned, as she pointed out that only a nuclear engineer would put a marriage proposal in writing.
Ronnie and Roma were married this past August. She has pared down her pets to “just” two dogs and two cats and with each having been on their own for quite a while, they are working on getting accustomed to living daily with someone else.
It’s that aspect of married life that Roma wished would have been addressed in greater depth in pre-Cana marriage classes and something she would suggest engaged couples be aware of. Everything from dealing with your new spouse snoring, to one person moving around a lot in their sleep, to simply how you handle basics like how much time is spent together. There are countless small adjustments that add up to one big life adjustment after marriage.
Ronnie and Roma have both lived through their share of struggles, but now they have found each other and moving forward on a shared journey.