Steve had been a bachelor for so long that he thought he would never change. “He told me when we were dating that he would never alter his ways and that I should know that up front,” his wife Che says. The couple met on CatholicMatch in 2009 and were married in 2012 (to read their story click here). Nearly two years later, Steve surprised himself by willingly changing some of his habits.
One of those changes was to stop swearing–something that he was sure that he wouldn’t be able to give up. In 2013, Che gave him a motivation that was far stronger than his swearing habit; she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl whom they named Tessa. “He didn’t believe that he could change, but now he catches and corrects himself because of our daughter.”
Steve also does something he never thought he would do. He watches the children’s television show, Barney with Tessa. “I used to hate Barney and now I am watching it with my daughter, and I even enjoy myself,” laughs Steve.
Che says, “I never doubted that Steve would be a good parent because he was a good son. He took care of his parents when they were sick and dying.”
Culturally, the couple says that they mesh well despite that Che is from the Philippines. Steve has Hispanic roots and Che says that the two cultures are quite compatible. However, sometimes problems have arisen in their marriage because of their different cultural expectations.
“Steve has been a bachelor for so long that when he is hungry he makes himself something to eat without asking me if I want something. In Philippine culture, a person doesn’t eat without first offering food to others,” explained Che. Although Che thinks this difference has more to do with the couple getting married in their early 40s rather than cultural differences.
One thing that has surprised Che about marriage was how big an issue money matters can be. Che has been struggling to get a job since she came to Texas. This has made her appreciate Steve more for his loving support, which includes driving Che to her job interviews, taking care of their baby during interviews, and taking up extra jobs on his days off to help support his family.
The couple has discovered that married life has many ups and downs. During one of the downs, Che wondered to herself if she had made the right decision leaving her entire family to get married. She prayed for a sign to affirm that she made the right choice. She asked God to send her flowers. At midday, Steve came home unexpectedly with a bouquet of flowers.
He Always Knows
Where Che is concerned, Steve seems to have a sixth sense. “He is very clued in to when I am feeling down or when I need him.”
Shortly before Che’s due date, she discovered at a prenatal appointment that she had developed preeclampsia, a dangerous condition that causes high blood pressure and swelling. The doctor told her that he would be admitting her to the hospital that day. Scared, Che called Steve at work to leave a message on his cell phone, but he was already at the hospital lobby when she called him. “Somehow he knew that something was wrong and he left work and drove straight to the hospital,” she says. Steve can’t explain how he knew. He says, “I just sensed that she needed me.”
Che told me that in the Philippines she and her family attend Mass everyday and that the Filipino people are very religious. When she met Steve, he was only going to Mass about once a month. Now that they are married, he never misses his Sunday obligation.
When asked how marriage has changed Che, Steve jokes, “Marriage didn’t change Che for the better–she was already perfect.”
“Seriously though, marriage has helped me overcome my perfectionist and ‘always-in-control’ ways,'” Che says. “It had brought me closer to God too. I have learned to accept my limitations and ask God and others for help. For example, there are times when I am really tired and have to leave the dirty dishes in the sink, or Tessa would be so fussy that I am unable to cook supper, or Steve would sometimes spend outside the budget. Things like that used to drive me up the wall when I was still single. Now I’ve learned to accept that a perfectly run household doesn’t necessarily mean a perfectly happy marriage… and it is the latter that I want.”