Angel and Nicole have been married for over 20 years and have five lovely daughters – ages 17, 14, 9, 8 and 1. Angel has been a Chaplain since 2007, when they started on their journey with the military. Since then they have lived in South Carolina, Texas, South Korea and Tennessee. Nicole is a stay at home mom whose has been homeschooling their daughters for the last 12 years. She enjoys reading, saving money and helping other women become better mothers, daughters, sisters and wives.
How did you first meet?
Nicole’s version – We met in college. I transferred to the school after Christmas break and started there as a new student in January. Another girl in my dorm who was across the hall, came in as a new student at the same time. Her cousin already attended the school. She introduced him to me when her family was in the dorm helping her move in.
Angel’s version – We met in college. I was standing behind Nicole in the lunch line at the cafeteria and struck up a conversation with her.
What was your first date and what encouraged you to keep dating?
Our first spur of the moment date was Dairy Queen but the “real” date that was planned out was to Joy Tsin Lau in Philly. I think a couple of Angel’s friends had already taken their girlfriend there and recommended it to him. (*** side note from Steve: Chrissy and I were some of those friends and we had just had our first date there! How cool is that!?!) We walked along the water and watched a cruise ship in port. I will always remember this date because Angel got a parking ticket. I think what encouraged us to keep dating was that we were both at a time in our lives where we were not going to play the dating game and were looking for someone to spend the rest of our lives with. We saw things in each other that we liked and pursued a relationship.
What was your most memorable date and what made it so memorable?
While we have had some very memorable dates, I would say our 10th Anniversary weekend was the best. Angel took the time to surprise me and plan out the entire weekend to include childcare for our two girls, a scavenger hunt, afternoon tea, dinner at a fancy restaurant, an overnight at a hotel and a beautiful piece of jewelry.
How do people describe you as a couple?
I Love Lucy (Lucy and Ricky). He’s Hispanic and I’m a red head . On the serious side, we are stable, secure, and committed.
Angel has been a military chaplain for just over seven years. What’s the biggest challenge military couples face? How would you encourage couples that may be facing this challenge?
One of the biggest challenges military couples face is being able to spend quality time with their spouse investing in their marriage. This is due to the high demands of the job. With frequent long hours, training exercises that take the soldier away from him family from a week to months at a time and deployments which can range from six months to fifteen months at a time. A military couple needs to be proactive and intentional when it comes to their marriage. While the military offers marriage retreats, it is not a long term solution and really only allows the couple to get away for one to three days to talk and learn about how to invest in their marriage. The couple needs to go beyond these retreats and put the time and energy in to their marriage if it’s going to survive.
What are some of the best marriage resources that have helped you build a better marriage?
There are so many resources that we could recommend but we’ll just name a few authors and websites that we like and recommend. Gary Chapman, Greg and Gary Smalley, Les and Leslie Parrot, Dr. Kevin Leman, Willard Harley, Timothy Keller, Focus on the Family and FamilyLife .
Tell us about an “Aha!” moment that you have had in your marriage and how that has helped you become a better spouse.
The first year of our marriage was eye opening. Blending our two different backgrounds was way different than I imagined. He was a New York City Puerto Rican and I was a white girl from the suburbs (more country like though). We had very different ways of handling conflict and it came to a head one night. I wanted to ignore the issue, go to sleep and deal with it later while he wanted it resolved immediately. Our little issue became a big issue because we both wanted to take care of the problem our own way and that didn’t mesh with other person. We have learned that there are different ways to deal with the issues life throws your way and sometimes we have to get outside the box we are used to and find a compromise when it comes to finding a resolution.
When you think about your future together, what are you most excited about?
When we don’t have to hire a sitter and can go and do things whenever we want to. Also, we would love to travel the world together. We’ve already been to Germany, Austria and South Korea. Hoping to add more countries to this list.
What is your idea of the ideal date?
Any date that is by ourselves and we have time to talk and share with each other. The other week we had planned a date and the baby was so fussy, I dared not leave her with anyone. So we either had to cancel or take her along. I didn’t want to miss out, so I thought it would have been better to at least get out with only her…next time we cancel or do something later or after she is in bed.
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