Catholic “love story” challenge goes viral on Instagram


You won’t want to stop reading these sweet, funny, and inspiring love stories Catholic women are sharing.

We could all use a little good news most days and a Catholic writer on Instagram, Stephanie Weinert, has started a viral movement that delivers. She is encouraging women to share the stories of how they met their husbands with #fridayintroductionsourlovestory. It’s only fair to warn you: Don’t click through unless you have some free time ahead of you, because you won’t be able to stop reading these stories.

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"'Cause every time I tried to tell you The words just came out wrong So I'll have to say "I love you" in a song.." . . A rare glimpse into my relationship on St. Valentine's Day. He was the wedding photographer for a friend's Catholic wedding. I was the Made of Honor. He was searching in life & his Christian faith. I was a devout Catholic Christian, borderline cocky, & not emotionally available. He noticed me before I ever laid eyes on him. I noticed his clear, sparkly blue eyes. That was 4.5 years ago. Our friendship has transformed through the years as we grew closer to each other & most importantly God. Now we're courting & discerning marriage. . . The biggest transformation in our friendship was when he chose to enter the Catholic Church 1.5 years ago. We tend to downplay the potentiality of deep spiritual intimacy within a relationship. In many ways, this spiritual intimacy is even more intimate, vulnerable, & permeating than other types of intimacy. Once the efficacious grace of the Sacraments especially the Eucharist untied us not only as a couple but with the Communion of Saints & Body of Christ, I felt a new bond forged that permeated every aspect of our relationship. That was & is a humbling & profound transformation to witness & experience. . . St. Valentine, pray for us! #bissisterhood #projectblessed #fridayintroductionsourlovestory #valentinesday #catholic #love #faith #chronicallycatholic

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In the post that started it all, Weinert explains how she was inspired to start the challenge:

“The world needs to hear more crazy, beautiful, authentic love stories … That was my 3 a.m. thought while I was feeding my baby this morning. I love reflecting on what God has done in my life and in my relationship with Peter. And I love hearing others’ stories too. . So here’s my idea and I hope you jump on board and do it with me. Let’s share our love stories in #fridayintroductions posts this month!”

Her idea is perfectly appropriate for February, with its celebration of love, and the need for a little cheerful encouragement to get through the rest of winter (for those of us in the northern hemisphere!).

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Is joining in #fridayIntroductionsOurLoveStory on Valentine’s Day a little cheesy? Maybe. But I’ve enjoyed reading everyone else’s, so here is a bit of our story. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ This is a picture of me and John going on our first date in the fall of our freshman year (1981) at the University of Steubenville.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ The spring before going to college, while I was a senior in Stony Brook, Long Island and John was a senior at Marquette High back in Milwaukee, we both went on a Come and See weekend. On Saturday, April 25th, while waiting for the elevator in that dorm, St. Thomas More, I was introduced to a handsome young man from Wisconsin. John and I ended up spending the weekend together, going to all the activities together and spending time getting to know each other as well as the school we were visiting. The day after we headed home, April 27th, was John’s birthday and I remember praying for him.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ After a summer of no communicating (it was way before cell phones), we ran into each other again at orientation. God had led us both back to Steubenville where we would begin a friendship that would last a lifetime. We spent the next 4 years growing in our relationship with each other as well as the Lord. Shortly before graduation, we were married. Who would have expected that the boy I met in April of 1981 would become my husband fours later on his birthday–April 27th. Who said that there’s no room for romance in God’s providence!⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ #fridayIntroductions #fridayIntroductionsHowWeMet #Valentine #stvalentine #ValentinesDay #steubenville #franciscanuniversityofsteubenville #stonybrook #longisland #milwaukee #marquettehighschool #wedding #marriage #romance

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She describes how each week of the month has a special theme:

  • 2/7 – How we met
  • 2/14 – A dating story
  • 2/21 – Engagement story
  • 2/28 – Wedding story

Love stories are always fun to read, but what makes this challenge special is the focus on how God is present in each of these relationships. Women are sharing not only how God led them to meet their husbands, but how He has shaped their relationships ever since.

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Last night I asked Peter what dating story I should share for today’s theme of #fridayintroductionsourlovestory – should it be one of our hard ones? Messy ones? Nearly break up ones? Funny? “Our birthdays” he said. “My favorite ones are our birthdays.” ….. . I won girlfriend of the year props on his 30th birthday. I had a speaking engagement in Oklahoma City the day after, so Peter understood I wasn’t able to celebrate with him on the day. But I was crazy, and in love. So I flew up to D.C. on the earliest morning flight on his birthday, and rang the doorbell at his house with a tiny chocolate cake and lit candles before 9am. He stood there in shock as if I was a ghost. It was the BEST! We spent the day walking around China Town, going to mass at Old Saint Mary’s, attending the symphony at the Kennedy Center, and wrapping up at the best Italian restaurant in the City (Filomena’s btw). . I flew back home on the earliest flight the next day, drove home and switched suitcases, and headed back to the airport for my trip to Oklahoma. It was so much fun. . So when my birthday rolled around, the week before Thanksgiving, I wasn’t disappointed that Peter didn’t make a big deal about it. . I was mad. . In early November Pete told me he would be visiting his brother at Camp Pendleton for Thanksgiving – all the Weinerts were flying out to CA for the holiday. “I decided to go early and have some 1-1 time with my bro” he said. Which was – nice of him – but in the back of my mind I was thinking in my totally not selfish or self absorbed way “but my birthday is right before Thanksgiving – you’re coming to see ME first… right?” . He never mentioned my birthday except for a casual “we’ll have to plan a date weekend in early December and celebrate!” passing comment. I secretly hoped he planned to surprise me – but as his California trip loomed closer it seemed I was wishing in vain. . The day before my birthday was Peter’s flight to CA. “He’s really coming here” I told myself. My best friend called me “He’s coming. Steph I’m sure of it.” And my sister called me “There is NO WAY Peter Weinert is going to ignore your birthday!!” ……. continued in comments.

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Weinert writes,

“Your love story is not only an incredible part of who you are, it’s also a living testimony, especially to those still waiting for their love story to begin, at the power of God working in each of our lives in so many beautiful, unique, unexpected (and often crazy!) ways. Tomorrow share how you met your Boo, and each Friday in February tell us a little piece of your story. Use the hashtag #fridayintroductionsourlovestory and lets get to know each other a little better this month!”

This collection of love stories is the good news we all need, and a delight to read. Check it out, and if you’re on Instagram, consider joining the fun and sharing your love story, too. I, for one, can’t wait to read it!

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