Adriana & Rick

How long have you guys been married:

Adriana: We’ve been married for 21 years.

What have been some lessons you could share with other couples? 

Adriana: In 21 years we have had so many life lessons, but to focus on one I would have to say the ongoing lesson of being parents to 6 children of which one is of extraordinary special needs. I thought I planned on having 3 kids but God had bigger plans for us. Marriage requires constant care and attention and having 6 children that also require constant care and attention can take a toll on your marriage. Although statistics show that the divorce rate for parents with a child of special needs is significantly higher, I gotta say this heartbreaking diagnosis has strengthened our marriage. We know that it’s Him and I that ultimately care for our Rianna. The medical trials, the sleepless nights and constant care, we lean and depend on one another. Rick has always been a loving and caring Dad but seeing him care for Rianna, I can’t help but fall in love with him all over again. After Rianna which is our 4th child, we were blessed with Ricardo and two years later Izabella. Which makes our household a party of 8! Our life is totally different than what it was 10 yrs ago, we often look at each and say, who would have thought we’d have 6 children! We were the type of family that would get up and go, Friday night dinners out, weekend getaways, our yearly vacations, now just a family night or day out is influenced by how stable Rianna is. Through all this we make it a point to make time for each other, to still date each other. We make time for date night and at least every two to three months we make it an overnight or weekend date! We know that Happy parents mean Happy children, so in reality, we do it for them too. We have become each other’s best friend. We realize that we understand each other like nobody can possibly ever get us and nobody can possibly love our children the way we do! Going into our marriage 21yrs ago we never imagined we would be living the life we are living today, but we wouldn’t change our party of 8 for anything in the world.

What were maybe the biggest surprises after marriage, a time maybe where you two were on different pages?

Rick: I was 27 and she was 20 at the time we got married. Needless to say, I was pretty much set in my ways but I was in love with her and in love with the idea of being married. Although we both came from a Catholic Mexican family, our upbringing was a bit different, she was what I would call a "Pocha" a Mexican American and I'm what she would call a hardcore Mexican! Our two worlds collided and we were in love. In the first few years of our marriage, since we didn't have mutual friends, I would hang out with who I thought were my friends and recognize now that I put her and our marriage through unnecessary struggles. You can say that one of the biggest surprises was that in my wife I have found a best friend, a business partner, someone I love to hang out with, laugh with, which was something that I would look for in my friends yet I had that all along in her!  I guess in my upbringing and who I surrounded myself with when we first got married, it was just unusual to have a best friend in your wife.  I can honestly say I have the best time when I'm with her, I still hang out with my brother and some of the guys occasionally, but she is my go to when I need a drink or out for a good time! 

Any advice for newly married couples?

Adriana: I would say after 21 years of marriage I still choose to love my husband. In other words, unlike what I thought 22 years ago that love was a beautiful feeling and loved the way he made me feel, love is a choice we make day in and day out. If we were to base our love on a feeling or emotion, we wouldn't be married today. Love is also a sacrifice. Sacrificing your happiness for the one you love is true love! I choose to love him even on the days I don't like him. Love is a decision we make on a daily basis.

Rick:  Never stop dating your wife!! Married for 21 years and 6 children later, I gotta say we are more in love now than ever! Yes we have our struggles and our challenges, every marriage does, but I still surprise her with gifts, flowers, date nights and unexpected weekend getaways. It's important to remind your wife that she's beautiful, that your thinking about her. I still tell her she's "Hot" because in my eyes she is (this makes our kids crazy, they say, "Don't say mom's hot, that's gross!" LOL) and of course even though I think she knows it I always remind her how much I love her!