Carlos and Almudena got married just over six months ago. However, they have been sharing with people everything they know and are learning in the adventure of being a young Catholic couple for much longer. To reach even more people, they have opened an Instagram account called "A full risk yes". They already have more than a thousand followers.
In this interview, they explain the process they each followed to seek God's will at every moment, as well as some of the ideas that have helped them the most during their relationship, engagement and marriage.
Why did you decide to open your Instagram account, "Un sí a todo riesgo"?
- [Carlos]: I have always had the desire to accompany people. When I started dating Almu, I saw that she was like me and had the same desire. As soon as we got married, we both knew we had a mission to help people in marriage. A friend of mine who has a Catholic content account interviewed us to tell our testimony on her podcast. The episode was so successful that she asked us for a second part. Later, while we were in Italy, already married and on vacation, the idea for our Instagram account was confirmed. We were in Rome visiting some parishes and in every sagrario we set an intention for our marriage. There I had a light to start with "Un sí a todo riesgo". I told Almu about it and she signed up on the spot.
- [Almudena]: We not only want to help, we also want to reach out to people. We are aware that the fruitfulness of a marriage is not only seen in the children you have, but in all the fruits you bear.
Why did you specifically name the account that way?
- [Almudena]: When you say yes you know there are going to be all kinds of risks in your future that you can't prepare for. It can also be interpreted in another way. For example, when you put a car at all risks, it doesn't matter what could happen to it, because it is safeguarded. It is a way of saying that we have given our yes and we have put it at all risks by placing it in front of the Lord.
Carlos, at what point do you realize that you are in front of the woman of your life and decide to ask her to marry you?
- [Carlos]: You have to explain that we had been dating for a year, broke up and then came back in December. The following February I already knew that I wanted to marry her. I had planned to propose on March 19, the feast of St. Joseph. But in the spiritual accompaniment I saw that my heart needed to wait a little longer. Almu also wanted to get married very much and I told her that God would let me know when the time was right. In May I knew it was time, but I could not say exactly what it feels like to know this. It is a kind of certainty, you are no longer determined, but it is God who is determined that you take the step. In May the desire belonged to both of us, to God and to me.
Almudena, how did you experience this whole process?
- [Almudena]: Just so you can imagine the situation, I bought my wedding dress a month and a half before Carlos asked me for my hand. I knew for sure that we were going to get married, but I didn't know when. When we got engaged, Carlos was 27 years old but I was only 22 years old. However, we have to point out that we need some external conditions to take the step that we have taken, you can't just do it on the spur of the moment. It takes a minimum. But I always emphasize that every engagement has its times and God does things the way he wants.
It is also true that in our courtship we have been through a lot and the moment of the breakup helped us both to understand what had happened, what we wanted and that it was not worth fighting if it was not to be with each other. When we got back together, the relationship had changed radically. To begin with, because there was a totally different degree of seriousness than before. We chose each other knowing perfectly well what was there.
I was throwing little pullitas to Carlos talking about getting married and it made me suffer a lot that he gave me a lot of trouble. In the end it was him who got down on his knees. I wanted to get down on my knees and propose, but Carlos said he would say no. I was angry, why did I have to wait? It made me angry, why did I have to wait? I will also say that I needed Carlos to get on his knees in front of me. I needed him as a woman to show me how much I was worth to him in that way.
- [Carlos]: The woman's process is complicated, because she has to wait for the man to take the step. It is a process for both, but she has to wait and trust the man's decision. But not because she depends on him, but because the man also has to make a decision. That process is healing and helps the other person.
We talk a lot about the courtship and marriage stage, but we often forget about the engagement stage. What practical advice can you give to people who are at that stage?
- [Carlos]: I was given very clear advice. The moment you put a ring on your girlfriend's finger, the discernment is over. At that instant, you are already thinking about the wedding and the conversations are not the same. Your head has already taken a leap. I think it's important to stop and question whether you're ready to get married, which it's true you never are. But there are basic questions, one of which is knowing yourself and knowing the other person. You also have to know that marriage without God is impossible, and so is commitment. I see Almu in a completely different way every time I stand in front of the tabernacle. The more time passes in our marriage, the more I am aware that this is only possible with God.
To make things concrete, I would say that the first thing is to know oneself. Secondly, you have to know the other person in depth. And finally, be aware of what marriage is. Don't just get married for the sake of getting married. It is something for life and you have to be aware that you are marrying someone who is not you. You have to adapt to the language of the other, you are going to have to humble yourself and give up things. You have to be aware that it's worth giving things up for the other person and you have to make sense of it all. Marry to get to Heaven, because God is bent on it too. Marry because you want to learn to love, because you want to make the other person happy.
- [Almudena]: I am very clear that the first thing I would do when I meet a couple who just got engaged is to give them encouragement. It's a very hard stage. When you get engaged you are in a kind of limbo. It is a bit complicated to put your future husband or wife in the place that corresponds to him or her, because the easiest thing is to think that he or she is already your husband or wife and the reality is that he or she is not yet your husband or wife. It is a stage in which all issues take on a very high seriousness.
It's also important to say that during the engagement it seems like the wedding is everything, but really the wedding is the first day. Throughout this stage you put the focus on absurd things that then don't matter so much. The most important part, when you are saying the vows, which is the God part, is very simple. Why do we make it so complicated for ourselves?
As a practical tip, we had a conversation about the unwaivable principles before we got married. We talked about those things we had to get to before the wedding. There were elements that could not be missing before taking the plunge and, in our case, it was healing our wounds. Soon after we discovered that this was utopian, because we will always be wounded. We then decided to promise ourselves that we would never stop working on our wounds and we got down to work.
What things have you learned now that you are married that you didn't expect?
- [Almudena]: The first thing for me is that I already loved Carlos very much, but I was not aware of how much I can love him. On the other hand, God often gives me the gift of seeing that we are one. All this seemed impossible to me. Especially considering that at the beginning of our marriage, when we started living together, we got along terribly. Now, however, I love it.
I have learned that there is nothing better than laughing with Carlos. There are days when we simply need to enjoy ourselves again, as if we were children, as friends. We have to have quality moments where that is the priority.
I also believe that marriage is a path of great humility. I am a very arrogant person, it is very difficult for me to bow my head, but now it turns out that I do it every day. But I am aware that my marriage comes first. Carlos comes first for me.
- [Carlos]: I have learned that if you seek to have the other person's gift, it will only lead to pride and competition. The moment you are aware that you are complementary, I promise you that you relax and begin to live in peace. You cannot strive to be better than the other person.
I have also learned to think less about myself, which is something I have had to work on a lot. Today I can say that instead of thinking about the affection I receive, I think about their happiness first.
In marriage there is a fusion between two people and that hurts a lot at first, because you have to adapt and the first shock hurts a lot. But as time goes by, the pain is less and you realize that you have become one. But at the beginning you are two, you have to go through the process of adaptation little by little.
We also, who have a very big wound with pride, make a great effort to always ask for forgiveness and to ask for help. We are willing to do whatever it takes for the other, so, despite our pride, we know that we love each other very much and we know that this is worth more than anything else.