Posted December 14, 2016 - by Emily Woodham
“I met Victoria at a time in my life when I said I was a 'born-again Catholic,'" Victor explained.
"If I had met her at any other time, I would’ve been like, ‘Nah, this is too slow for me.’ But I met her when I had changed my ways. I was looking for a good Catholic girl." Victoria, whose father wrote the Scriptural Rosary, was just right for Victor, but not until his heart was ready for her.
Meeting in the Windy City
Victor and Victoria chat easily about their life together. Both from Chicago, they share the sharp wit that is a hallmark of the Windy City. There is nothing pretentious about them, and there is a genuine warmth in their love for each other.
Before meeting Victoria in 2009, Victor had been in the Navy. With his renewed Catholic faith, he decided to change his career and pursue a graduate's degree in education and guidance counseling. "I was in my early forties, and I thought, ‘Man, maybe God wants me to be a priest...But I don’t want to be a priest!’” Victor chuckled as he remembered the conflict he felt about pursuing a relationship so late in life.
They both had free memberships when they met. Soon, emotigrams were not enough, and they happily paid the fees, so they could message each other. Victoria recalled, "Normally I would correspond back and forth for awhile on CatholicMatch, or on the phone, but I was so consumed with everything else in life at the time. I just said, ‘Look, if you really want to meet, we’ll make the time.’"
Let's just be friends. I'm too busy to date.
"In Chicago, there's what's called Italian beef places. We met at a place my friend started 20-30 years ago. Victoria’s not much of a red meat eater, so she had a salad, but I had my Italian beef sandwich,” Victor said. “We immediately connected like good friends. She talked to me like she knew me for years. She was open. She was comfortable with me, and I felt that was nice. We got along very well."
“We were attracted each other, but I was so busy at the time. So I said to him, ‘I’m not really sure about “dating” you per se, so let’s just be friends,'" Victoria said. "We decided to meet on Sunday nights from 7-9. That’s what we did for a year and a half. Because I knew he was somebody I needed to get to know, but I didn’t know why.”
Victoria was working towards her bachelor's degree as a lactation consultant, as well as starting her own business and taking on an internship. With them both being so involved with career changes, Victor agreed that it was a good idea to just be friends.
“I lived an hour away from Victoria, but she lived just down the street from my mom. So I would go home on the weekends to visit my mom, and then I’d meet her on Sundays for ice cream," Victor remembered. "I had just wrapped up my graduate’s degree, so I was starting over again with my career. Mind you, I was 43 and she was 33.”
Romance, at last. You had me at "Whatever!"
Eventually though, Victor felt things needed to change. If Victoria wanted to stay as "just friends," he wanted to move on to find the one who would be his wife. Victor recalled, "I said, 'Look this is ridiculous. Are we going to go on a date?' She said, 'I’m not ready to date.' So I said, “OK. Have a good life.'"
Victor continued, "Then she called back an hour later, and said 'Are you going to come pick me up or not? Because I’m hungry.' I assumed it was a date, so I picked her up. We went to a nice Italian restaurant, and we didn’t say anything about it.
When I dropped her off, and she was halfway to her door, I said, 'You know we’re dating now, right?' And all she said was, 'Whatever.'"
Six months later, with a blessing from Victoria’s parents, Victor devised a plan to ask her to marry him. They had been reading Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs together in Adoration every week. He created a page with his heartfelt proposal in the same font and size as the pages in the book, and then carefully placed it near the spot where they had last left off reading. Victoria was completely blown away!
“First of all, you can’t speak in Adoration. I couldn't say anything. Then I felt very overheated!" Victoria said. She couldn't believe how flushed she felt as elation over Victor's proposal flooded her. "Because I was so excited, I forgot to say yes to him! So still to this day he says, 'Are you ever going to say yes?'"
Where are we honeymooning?
A few months later, in October 2011, they married in the church where Victoria grew up. Over 100 guests of family and friends came to their wedding. They held their elegant reception at a golf course clubhouse.
Two days later, they went on their honeymoon, which Victor kept secret. Victoria didn't know they were going to a resort in Jamaica until thirty minutes before the plane landed!
Staying strong in Phoenix
To keep their marriage strong, Victor and Victoria continue to share Adoration together every week. They also see a spiritual director as a couple. “Marrying as an older couple, you have to learn how to share your life with somebody. You really have to look at what would help the other person live the kind of life that they would want to live,” Victoria said.
Victor added, "You meld the direction someone else is going with your direction, and that can be kind of tough sometimes. She has her direction, I have my direction, and then we have our direction. We have to ask, 'How do we marry that together?'”
Victor and Victoria are delighted to now live in Phoenix, Arizona. Though far from where they grew up, it is a favorite place for family to visit. They enjoy taking walks, participating in water sports, and seeing movies. They find that sharing everyday tasks helps them to grow as a team. During the few years they lived in Tennessee, they founded a mother's milk bank—which they loved doing!
Given how busy their lives were seven years ago, they feel they wouldn’t have been able to meet except through CatholicMatch. Although Chicago is a city with lots of opportunities to meet other singles, the site made it easier to be discerning in a relationship. “It was the best bunch of money ever spent,” says Victor.