If there’s one thing that seems to define the relationship between Chris and Sandra from the beginning, it is their faith-centered patience.
Chris, a Florida native, first came across Sandra’s CatholicMatch profile in September 2013. “She was living in Juarez, Mexico, so I viewed it as just someone nice to talk to as I was going through an annulment, which I clearly stated in my profile. Distance was also an issue,” Chris said.
It seemed too difficult at first
For a time, they even fell out of touch after Chris changed the parameters of his CatholicMatch searches and Sandra’s profile no longer showed up.
But she had started to fall for him: “Once we started talking, the way he loves and honor God made me fall completely in love with him,” she recalled.
A month after losing touch, she reached out—catching Chris off guard. He said he was still going through the annulment process. She was willing to wait.
During that wait they both sensed they were meant for each. Both Chris and Sandra say it was the fact that they put God first that attracted each to the other.
“I was attracted to her relationship with God. She put God first. I was very impressed when she told me she prayed the rosary every day. At this point in my life I wanted a woman—if God allowed—to help me get to heaven. Someone that actually viewed marriage as a sacrament. Someone I could learn from,” Chris said.
They started informally ‘dating.’
Staying in touch via Netflix
“I came up with the idea of a Netflix date. We both had Netflix. We would sync up the same movie at the same time and we would watch it and text back and forth to each making comments about the movie,” Chris said.
Their first movie was an Italian film, “Life Is Beautiful.”
“We agreed in so many aspects of how life should be seen according to the word of God that we realized we were meant to be together,” Sandra said, in describing their experience of watching the film together.
After about five such Netflix ‘dates’ the two decided to meet in person. They planned for March 2014 during Holy Week. Sandra would fly from her home to meet Chris, his two children, and his mother at the airport.
“I still tease her about the first time I went to the airport,” Chris said.
I was so nervous that I wouldn’t leave the bathroom!
Sandra was apparently so anxious that she lingered in an airport restroom for half an hour.
“I was texting her asking her to please come out of the restroom,” Chris recalled.
Sandra eventually did come out and during the week they went on a pilgrimage to St. Augustine and attended Mass—what Chris considers their first true ‘date’ in person. But he says he knew they could not really purposefully date for marriage. “We both knew that if the annulment was not approved that we could only remain friends. But we did talk about a life together if the annulment was approved,” Chris said.
It would be yet another year before they had their answer.
God brought them together
The couple decided to get married closer to her home city, in El Paso, Texas in October 9 2015. Now they are going through the immigration process, which Chris describes as “very slow.”
It has been a long journey in many ways for them but Sandra is certain God has been with them the whole way, leading them to each other.
“I believe with all my heart that God brought us together, we faced many obstacles in our relationship and He cleared everything for us. It has been difficult to me to get used to a new place, a new home, a new everything. I left my job and family in Mexico to build a new life in Christ with the love of my life. God gave us the greatest blessing when He united us,” she said.