I met the love of my life in person on July 19, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. and exactly one year later on July 19th, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. I walked down the aisle to become his wife. This is the start of Ethan and I’s love story.
You Have A Message From Ethan
In April of 2013, I rejoined Catholic Match after a break. I had been on and off it for a few years. I never thought I’d actually find a spouse online, but I knew other couples who had, so it was always there deep in my heart to not abandon it. (Right now I can count 11 other very happily married couples I personally know who met online).
This time I rejoined at the suggestion of my mom to see if a guy whom I had written with a bit in the past was active on the site again.
He wasn’t, but Ethan, a Catholic schoolteacher from Ohio, was. He messaged me for the first time a couple days after I rejoined. He recognized my church in a photo I shared in my profile, and wrote that he had been there while visiting someone in my area once.
This icebreaker e-mail and our subsequent messages were so different than other initial contact I had experienced on CM. Instead of this dry, oft-repeated back and forth of your history (Hi, I’m X, I do X for a living, how about you? How many siblings do you have etc.), we had a natural rapport and dove right in to a fun and easy conversation.
Before bed that night he sent one last email with a photo of his gorgeous parish, and I sent it on to my mom who said I ought to marry that one, his church was too beautiful not to have a wedding in.
Awkward Phone Calls
While our conversations flowed easily via email, when Ethan called me for the first time a couple of weeks later, my enthusiasm died. Talking just wasn’t easy. Things felt stiff and awkward on the phone, and just when I would think we were hitting our groove in a conversation, Ethan would end it after 1 hour exactly. (It turns out he thought I was so busy that I would find a longer conversation an inconvenience, so he was trying to be courteous of my time and say goodnight after an hour.)
At the end of these phone calls, Ethan would always ask if he could call again, and I would always say yes, though inside it was very half-hearted. I felt that our awkward conversations, while edifying and sometimes interesting, would never get any more comfortable.
After a month or so of talking, he asked if he could come meet me in person. I told him that I was open to it, but due to a bad experience on Catholic Match in the past, I wanted to Skype so we could see each other face to face.
In all of his photos, Ethan never really smiled. He seemed so serious and stiff; I wondered if there was a jovial or happy side to this guy.
Skype Saved It
If I had just gone off of our phone conversations, I probably wouldn’t be Mrs. Ethan today. I don’t think I would have taken the time to meet this guy two thousand miles away who I didn’t have easy phone conversations with… But talking face to face on the computer changed everything.
We could relax. Ethan had a wonderful smile, he was super funny with a great sense of humor, and conversation flowed so easily. Those stiff phone calls (and one hour time limit) were forgotten. Soon we were eating dinner together and praying the Rosary via Skype each night, and I couldn’t wait to arrange an in-person visit.
We decided to meet in Seattle, as he had family living there at the time. I figured if things didn’t work out, at least he would have seen them and it wouldn’t be a wasted visit. (And I could avoid the embarrassment of awkward introductions with people I knew around town and at church if things were crashing and burning.)
He flew to Seattle, I drove, and I met him in front of his relative’s house at 1:00. When I got out of the car and hugged him, I just couldn’t believe he was real.
That weekend was one of the most memorable of my life. We went to Masses, we prayed the Rosary at church at the base of the Space Needle (an organist was practicing the wedding march which Ethan loves to recount), we ate good food, did fun touristy things, and finally took our Scrabble games offline and played them on a real board together in the park.
A month later Ethan flew out to see me again, and we drove to Montana so he could meet my parents.
After an eternity of two months, I flew to visit him in October. It was during this visit that our previous plans flew out the window. We had talked about waiting another year for him to get more of his teaching license done and maybe him moving to Idaho. Perhaps his program could be finished online? Never mind. I started making plans to move across the country.
A Confirmation From God
I lived a few hours from my parents, and so I often went to my parish priests about big life stuff. One of them hesitated about this move and said I should be prudent and not go before I had a job waiting for me there. I worried how this would work – getting office or nannying work from across the country without being physically present for an interview seemed impossible. Father said if this whole thing was God’s will, He would send me a job.
One of the parents at Ethan’s school had a child that was very far behind in her homeschooling. She needed to hire someone to be one on one and help her to catch up. This mother had met me briefly during the October visit and liked me so much that she contacted Ethan out of the blue. She gave him the details of the job to pass on to me if I ever wanted to move to the area.
We had one more visit in November, me flying out to Ohio again, and then came a flurry of preparing to move.
This was very hard for me. I loved my parents and siblings in Montana so much, and now they wouldn’t be an afternoon’s drive away from me. And my parish and job? I was very attached to them and all of the wonderful people I worked with and went to Mass with. I had to say goodbye to my friends who had become like family, but as difficult as all of this was, I knew the move was the right one.
On New Years Eve, I arrived at my new apartment in Ohio, just a couple miles from Ethan’s.
We knew we were going to get married, and even did a little engagement ring shopping together. I wondered if Valentines Day would be the night. We had such a special evening out at a nice restaurant, but I won’t lie and say I wasn’t a touch disappointed it didn’t end with a proposal.
The next morning we went to the Abbey where the priest who offers our diocesan Latin Masses lives. Ethan had always wanted to take me to his tiny little chapel where he offered Low Mass on Saturday mornings with a few old men who were “regulars”. When Father came to get us all he told the others that, “The kids are going to have a Holy Hour after Mass while we go for breakfast.”
Ethan and I looked at each other confused. We didn’t ask for a Holy Hour. Father must have been mistaken and thought thats why we came.
After the little Low Mass in his chapel, Father exposed the Blessed Sacrament in a gorgeous monstrance and left with his confrers for their breakfast.
For a quick moment I thought, “oh I wish he had thought to propose here. It would be perfect, just us and Jesus.” But, he didn’t. Ethan settled in with his prayer book.
After about ten minutes of prayer, suddenly Ethan turned to me, us both kneeling, and he asked me the fateful question. I knew this would be coming soon, but it somehow still completely shocked me and I burst into tears. I couldn’t believe I went from being so lonely to being so loved and engaged in less than a year. Father returned a few minutes later, gave us Benediction, and he blessed my beautiful ring.
We made arrangements with my priests back home to be married, doing our wonderful marriage-prep sessions on the phone with them every week. We had just over 5 months to prepare for the big day.
One Year Later
Exactly one year later down to the minute from when we met, Ethan and I were married in the church I had prayed for my future spouse in almost daily since I had moved there at 18 years old.
Our wedding day was perfect. The choir I had sung with every week for years rang out with a triumphant “Exultate Justi” as I came around the corner. (I didn’t want to walk down to just organ music. This song is one of my favorites to sing and to listen to; it just is pure exaltation of God and joy!)
We had a beautiful Nuptial High Mass. Both of our families were there (with the exception of Ethan’s poor sister who so kindly flew across the country for us but fell very ill the day before the wedding) and many friends. We knelt before everyone, conferring the sacrament on each other.
God’s goodness in bringing us together never fails to amaze me. I never thought Catholic Match would ever actually be “it” for me, but it was. Despite Ethan and I both being on and off there for years and meeting many people that it never worked out with, God had wonderful plans for us in His own time.
This is just the beginning of a love story that has now seen three and a half years of marriage, two little girls added to our family, and will continue for the rest of our lives. I hope it is a love that leads us to Heaven so we can there spend eternity with our forever Love, God. He was so gracious in bringing us together down here, so we could cooperare with His grace and work together to get up there.