"Big Four" Highlights


 

Profiles in Faith

Six suggestions for Catholic online dating

By Ashley Kepper

This month marks the five-year anniversary of the most significant meeting of my life. My future husband and I met for the first time in the Honolulu Airport following more than two months of online courtship. The Holy Spirit utilized a Catholic online dating service as a means to introduce two people seeking a common goal, who lived almost 4,500 miles and six times zones apart. “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

Online dating isn’t easy. It takes courage to create a profile, post the most flattering photos and communicate with total strangers. It takes money to join and travel, particularly if a potential spouse lives out of state. It takes openness, but it also requires maintaining caution to protect the heart. It also takes patience, for some individuals aren’t comfortable talking over the phone or meeting in person as quickly as others. All told, online relationships demand time, energy and a lot of prayer.

Before I made the step, I prayed and sought the counsel of my spiritual director. I was active in the young adult archdiocesan community and working for a Catholic communications company. I was frequently around large groups of young Catholic men, but the relationships never lasted. To be honest, at the time my future spouse and I were both frustrated after years of dating. We know now, though, that God was using that time to help us grow in holiness and prepare for one another. It was as if he was holding each of our hands and, when we were both truly ready, joining them together.

I remember reading the profile of my new “online friend,” and being struck by the conviction in his words and his love of Christ and his Church. I grew to know his heart by reading his daily emails to me. After he called me for the first time, we spent hours talking over the phone. It was so natural, as if we had known one another for years. He was different from anyone else I had met. Before even meeting one another in person, I believe that God knit our hearts together. I am blessed to say that I “have found the one whom my soul loves” (Song of Songs 3:4).

Today’s culture provides a number of unique challenges for those in the dating world. For one, we live in a transient society, which makes it more challenging to maintain stable, authentic relationships. Secondly, we live in a secular culture that glorifies immorality. Recent studies suggest that cohabitation is the new norm for young adults. While it is easy to meet people who call themselves Catholic, it is much more difficult to find those who actually live according to the teachings of the Church. Lastly, so many of us feel the need to advance professionally prior to settling down. But there is no perfect time to get married and then have children. We can always have more money, a better job, a bigger house and car or more places to travel. What we can never buy, however, is more time.

Here are some tips for setting up a Catholic dating website profile, from a happily married mother who found her love online:

Research: Keep in mind that while all Catholic online dating services target Catholics, the user demographics are different.

Honesty: The best way to attract someone compatible is to be as honest as possible. Put your best image forward but do not lie, fabricate or exaggerate.

Thoroughness: Take time to fill out the entire profile with thoughtful answers.

Photos: It is critical that they be realistic and recent. It isn’t fair to post pictures that aren’t accurate representations of the real you. Profiles without photos will typically be passed over. We are embodied beings, and physical attraction is necessary for a successful relationship.

Proofreading: Copy and paste your profile and any emails into a program before you post and send it. Serious spelling and grammatical mistakes can be a turn-off.

Prayer: God should always remain central throughout the process! Invoke the Holy Spirit when writing a profile and sending emails to members.

Is Catholic online dating for you? I can only say that it worked for me and my husband, and I would recommend it to anyone who is seeking a faithful Catholic spouse.

Ashley Kepper and her husband, Jimmy, live in St. Marys, Ga., with their 2-year-old daughter.