Of Courting … Online? – Pt. 1

This subject warrants a few posts about it, since the story is a long one.  I wanted to talk about how I met my husband, Max.  We met online on Catholic Match, in April of 2019. 

Dating apps like Tinder have been very popular within the last several years.  But traditional Catholics like myself aren’t likely to find the spouse they’re looking for on apps that depend more on superficiality and the pleasure of trivial encounters with the opposite sex.  However, sometimes the internet is where young Catholics have to turn, in order to find a spouse.

Personally, I was very skeptical of online dating in general, at first.  I knew of one friend who had found love over the internet, but others I knew had been unsuccessful and I’d heard enough horror stories on the internet to be concerned about who might be on such a website.

But in early 2018, I was graduating with my Bachelor’s degree and our local community had no prospects for me, in terms of a spouse.  When I say nearly all our young men were either married already or entering seminary on the path to the priesthood, I’m not really exaggerating.  

By April of 2018, I was also set to be leaving my home for two years in order to attend graduate school. Truthfully, I didn’t want to take the chance of marrying someone from so far away from my own home. (Little did I know, since my husband’s home is literally halfway across the country).

Despite my doubts – and admittedly somewhat at my mother’s prompting – I joined Catholic Match. I was on it for a few months with no real luck. I had a few short conversations with guys who always turned out to be not quite the right fit for some reason. Many of them were genuinely good men, but who I simply didn’t have a connection with, though sometimes the conversations would end because of differences of opinion.

It wasn’t until early 2019, sometime in March, when I decided I would no longer look through the website and initiate contact with any of the men. I decided I would wait for God to send my spouse to me. I began a novena in hope of this, that my spouse would find me and make contact first and that I wouldn’t have to search any longer.

There were several reasons for this decision, none of which being that I believe a woman can never make the first move to begin a relationship with a man. Firstly, I decided I needed to trust in God’s Providence to send my spouse to me. Secondly, I was becoming a little too superficial when it came to searching the site, paying a bit more attention to physical beauty than I should. Thirdly, I was tired and becoming discouraged. I decided to give my troubles and my search to God (and my favorite and adopted patron saint, Edmund Campion to whom I entrusted my future spouse and courtship many years previously).

It wasn’t even two weeks later that my now-husband sent me a message. We hit it off almost immediately, even though all we knew were those few pictures of each other and all the texts we’d sent. We talked for a little over a month before finally doing a Face-Time call to see each other’s faces. I admit I knew even before I’d heard his voice that if he felt the same, I wanted to marry him. It only took us about three Face-Time calls to officially decide we were beginning our courtship, our road to marriage.

We had no concept at the time of how long that would take, since we were both still in school and lived so far away from each other. I laugh a little as I remember this, since at first we thought we might have to wait until 2021 to get married, but here we are now, just over a month into our marriage.

In other words, sometimes online dating can be a frightening disaster. Other times, it can lead you to find the love of your life. Much like dating in real life. In all cases, I advice discernment of God’s will and your own heart. Don’t depend too heavily on looks (yours or theirs) and don’t make too many assumptions about what sort of person you want to marry. Max’s personality was a surprise to me in many ways, as I’m sure mine was to him. It’s with God’s help and guidance that we found each other and made it to marriage.

If you’re about to embark on a similar search (online or otherwise) I wish you as much happiness as I’ve achieved in my marriage.