Eamon met Paola just after he had left the monastery, having decided that it was not for him - he realised that celibacy was not something he was called to. He discussed how he found the right person to marry. He said;

“I think you have to distinguish between a natural attractiveness towards a woman and then the woman that you want to spend the rest of your life with. Finding that person is a lot more difficult”.

What was it that told me that my wife was the one for me? Firstly I was extremely attracted to her on a personal level, her personality and also we could share anything. One of the things that I had very rarely talked to anyone about was that my Dad died when I was very young. That event was buried very deep inside of me and the whole emotional turmoil that was simmering underneath only came out when I was chatting to her. To this day she is helping me to grow into the person I really am. The only thing that made sense was that I wanted to be with this woman for the rest of my life. Not spending my life with her would have been like putting me in prison because I wouldn’t have been free, free to be myself. We are constantly re- discovering who we are as people and that’s a huge journey and I wanted to make that journey with her and we are still on that journey, which is fantastic”.

Paola shared that when they decided to marry the statistics were stacked up against them even then, she was 19 and he was 21. People asked ‘how do you know you’ll feel the same about each other as you get older’. She explained, “For us it’s a bit like a young tree – it bends in the wind because it’s still supple. We were young and were able to bend with life’s experiences. Whereas, if it’s a rigid tree, one powerful gush of wind comes along and it tends to break. That’s how we viewed it, that we were young but we were open. There was always another element in our relationship. Initially I don’t think I was very aware of it, but it was God. I’d grown up in a family where my mum and dad thought that marriage was all about arguing – loved each other very dearly but they were always arguing. I vowed from the very young age of 10 that I’d never marry if this is how it is, I can do without.

When I was 16 I met Eamon and that was different. He was different because he had a dimension about him that I hadn’t encountered before. He had a strong faith, which mine wasn’t at the time. He had recently come out of the monastery and I was thinking if he is seriously thinking of a life with God who am I to compete with God? Competing against another female is hard enough but competing with God, it’s a no brainer you know!”