Being in love and being able to see the person all the time is wonderful; most take it for granted. Being in love and having the other person live far away from you, whether it is a 4 hour drive to a 4 hour flight (or more), is a very difficult way of life. Some relationships can withstand the strain of distance and this story is to celebrate that!
Juan & Angie (you may remember Angie from a previous post, “5 Years Left To Live”) are the cutest Colombian couple I have met. We have been friends for a couple of years and I love spending time with them. I met with them over a coffee and asked them about their amazing, unique love story! Below I will transcribe their conversation with me! I hope you simply enjoy the story of their love.
Me: Tell me about your journey to finding love.
Juan: When I was young, around 13 years old, I was the guy that thought a little bit ahead. Maybe too much ahead! Sometimes I forgot to enjoy the moments. Back then I was already thinking about marriage, at 13! I hope my kids aren’t like that! I was always keeping an eye out. What I wanted in a girl was: she had to love Jesus, she would enjoy the moment more than I did, she would teach me to enjoy life and enjoy the simple things in life, like having a coffee or going for a walk, someone very happy and an extrovert. I also wanted a dreamer because I am a big dreamer. I didn’t want someone to hold me back, but someone that could push me forward. I wanted someone beautiful. I got a good combo!
Me: Juan, did you date a lot?
Juan: No I didn’t date a lot. I grew up with the whole idea of waiting for the right one, these days I don’t know if that is actually what you should do. I feel that you should date a bit; I think it’s healthy. That’s the way you find the right one.
Me: Angie, your journey?
Angie: I didn’t grow up a Christian so my story is a bit different. My mom always encouraged me to have boyfriends so I could meet the right guy. I dated a lot but I didn’t have high expectations in guys. I did know I wanted a guy that would love me, make me laugh every day, protect me. I had a lot of guys break my heart but when I married Juan I felt like redemption happened, I felt pride because Juan loved me so much.
Me: Did you know what you wanted in a guy?
Angie: I remember going to a retreat for ladies after I became a Christian and they encouraged us to make a list of what we wanted in a guy. I drew my right hand on a piece of paper and on that hand I wrote: he has to be a gentleman, passion for kids and people, a missionaries heart, makes me laugh and likes to travel.
The First Meeting
They both lived in Bogota, Colombia. Juan’s church had a music school, which was open to all the other churches in the city. Angie came with her church to attend this school.
Juan: I saw her coming through the doors, she had…
Angie: I had purple hair!
Juan: She had perfect jeans; perfect blue jeans. She was wearing converse, with purple flowers on them. She had a ponytail and a t-shirt. In that moment, ya, my world just collapsed.
Me: How old were you?
Juan: 14 years old!
Angie: I was 16.
Me: Guys like older girls!
Juan: Ya! I was very skinny, long hair, punk kid. I knew there was no chance she was falling for me. I forgot who introduced us but we ended up talking. She was taking bass guitar lessons! I found that attractive! We started talking, becoming friends and I started to like her right away. I thought she was beautiful and her smile was incredible. I never had the courage to tell her I liked her.
They stayed friends over the next few years, hanging out here and there. Juan wanted those times to be dates; Angie just thought they were just friends! Juan eventually moved to Canada when he was 17 years old and they kept in touch through email once a year. However, the distance was a big change for Juan and he slowly moved on in his heart from Angie.
They Meet Again
Juan: About 4 years ago I went through heartbreak here in Canada. So I thought to myself, ‘Maybe this love thing isn’t for me’. During this time music started to happen for me and I started touring with a band. I was in Australia and I saw a comment from Angie on one of my pictures that I posted on Instagram of me playing. “I’m glad you are doing what you always loved. I hope you are doing great.”
Angie: The last time I saw him was at a concert and the guy he was playing with was a big deal in Colombia. He was introducing the musicians and when he came to Juan he said that Juan would be going to the Nations… So when I saw him on Instagram I remembered what that guy had said about Juan. I was happy for him.
Juan: I didn’t want anything, so I didn’t reply for two weeks. Then I thought I should be polite and I reply.
That started a back and forth conversation between the two of them in which Juan found out Angie was moving to New York City for the summer to go to University. Juan knew that he would be in New York City that summer to play a couple gigs. They started dialoging about a trip before Juan was scheduled to be in NYC.
Angie: I said to him, “You should come for a visit”.
Juan: My response, “Ya sure, I’ll come, we can grab a coffee or something!”
Angie: You know when you invite people to your house to be polite? I just said that to be polite; “You should come”. Then he said, “I’m booking my flight!” I was like, “WHAT?”
Juan: Then we started talking every day, texting etc. I was going to visit her to see if it was worth working on or I should just leave it. Tour ended and I went to NYC. When I landed in NYC, I freaked out. I thought I was crazy. Was I crazy? I just flew across the country to see a girl I hadn’t seen in 6 years! I had to go to the bathroom and look in the mirror and talk to myself, “Hey, this is just 3 days with a friend, no expectations, take it easy!” I walked out and there she was waiting for me. I hadn’t seen her in 6 years! When I saw her I thought, “Forget about just friends!” We hugged.
Angie: I had moved to NYC after a bad breakup, my heart had been broken. So when all this was happening I was a bit unsure. So he was there for the 3 days; we were just friends and we talked a lot. He wasn’t there to “conquer my heart”; he wanted to be my friend. Every time he talked I cried! I could feel God when he talked. I felt so much peace around him.
Juan: We had 3 beautiful days. I took her to Central Park. We caught up, talked about what God had done in our lives, where we were going. It felt very natural. I didn’t have to try; I was just me. It all felt so real, so perfect.
Juan: I eventually told her what I wanted. I wanted to be more than friends. I wanted to figure it out before I had to fly home the next day. So I asked her if she wanted the same as me.
Angie: I said, “No.”
Juan: She went on to explain that she had just left a bad relationship and wasn’t ready and needed time. I forgot about it 5 minutes later. We were sitting on a beautiful rock looking at Manhattan and I thought to myself, “We are in NYC, Central Park and I have the girl of my dreams in front of me and if I don’t kiss her God is going to be mad at me!” I went for a kiss on the cheek, then I kissed her on the corner of her lips, then I kissed her!!
Angie: I was like, “Ok!” Then I said, “Remember I needed time?”
Juan: Ya, I gave you 5 minutes.
The relationship would have to be long-distance. They started, texting, video chatting, emailing etc. Angie moved back to Colombia after the summer was over.
Juan: This is the thing that made me realize she was it! I was falling in love with her. My grandpa and I were very close. He was like my dad growing up as my actual dad lived in Canada. My grandpa got sick; he had cancer. It was hard for me to be far away from him. One day Angie calls me, “Hey, I want you to talk to someone that is special to you.” You have to understand that my grandpa lived 4 hours away from her. She passed the phone and it was my grandpa on the other end. That was my last conversation with my grandpa. A week later he passed. I was able to tell my grandpa I loved him and that he was like a dad to me. This girl had found my heart. I knew I wanted to marry her.
Long Distance – Calgary to Colombia
They saw each other almost every month for a year.
Me: From one girl who has done long distance, how hard was it for you?
Angie: It was really hard. I am very dependent on people. I broke up with him 3 times!! (Pretend break ups) I just felt like I didn’t have a boyfriend. One day he told me he felt overwhelmed with our relationship.
Juan: I was a very independent guy. She was very dependent.
Angie: I would say, “You didn’t call me today, and he would say, ‘I called you yesterday.’” I was like, “WHAT?” I was way more dependent. One day Juan was going to a cabin with his friends and he said to me, “I need 3 days to be by myself.” I said, “Are you breaking up with me?” and he said, “No, I just need 3 days.” We didn’t talk for 3 days. I was going crazy. I was crying, I felt like he didn’t want to be with me anymore. I thought to myself, “What if we get married and then he needs a 3 day break from our marriage?” So I waited for day 3 and I texted him a long text challenging him on some things regarding our relationship. I was very mad.
Juan: I regret that. It was wrong. What she said is true. You can’t take time off from a relationship. You have to be in it for the good and the bad.
They worked it out that day. They had many other challenges to navigate through their long distance relationship. The feelings of insecurity for Angie when Juan would hang out with his friends and there might be girls there that Angie hadn’t met or knew little about. (All us girls can relate!) Juan would have these feelings as well with Angie being far away. Long distance was very hard for Angie mentally.
Juan knew he wanted to propose to Angie in Central Park, in NYC, on Valentine’s Day. (Because he is a hopeless romantic!). They both met up in NYC and stayed with her family for the week. Juan wanted to record the engagement and enlisted the help of her family. Juan called Angie’s dad, asked his blessing and her dad emotionally gave it!
Juan took Angie to a bridge in Central Park. He set up the moment saying he wanted to give her a Valentine’s present.
Angie: We walked to the bridge. I remember he was shaking. I didn’t think it was a proposal or anything. He told me to cover my eyes. Then I could hear that his voice wasn’t at the same level as me anymore. He told me to open my eyes, and I said, “Nooooo!!!” But I did and he said to me, “Will you marry me?” I started laughing. I was so nervous.
Juan: She said yes! And we kissed! People had gathered and were clapping around us on the bridge.
(See the video below)
They were married 6 months later in Colombia. It was a beautiful wedding.
They went on their honeymoon: Bahamas, Orlando, and then the Colombian Coast. They decided to do a longer honeymoon because Juan would have to go back to Canada.
Long Distance Marriage
They were newly weds who were having to do their marriage long distance as Angie didn’t have paper work to live in Canada. (Juan was a Canadian Citizen) They lasted 4 months. Juan knew that she was now first in his life and he would have to make adjustments to reflect this. He had to put Angie above his music. Juan decided to move back to Colombia. They were in Colombia for 4 months when her papers came through and they both decided to move back to Canada! (Glad they did!) So they set up home in Calgary and they have loved every moment of it!
Juan: If I can close with this, I kind of understood the idea of why God said it was not good for man to be alone. I now know being married really pushes you to be a better person. It’s someone being with you 24-7 and they see what you do right, what you do wrong and your good & bad days. I feel like Angie wants me to be a better man. It’s not that I have to be, it’s that I want to give her my best! I want to make her happy. I feel like a marriage can succeed if the main purpose of each other is making the other person happy. We want to keep God in the center of our marriage.
Angie: I want to say 2 things. Marriage has it’s up and downs but it is so rewarding. The second thing, for me the whole reason why I like our marriage is because it is a story of redemption. I have so many girlfriends that feel they don’t deserve to have a good guy; they don’t feel like they are worth it. I felt like I didn’t deserve Juan’s heart because he had saved his heart for me but I hadn’t done the same. I love the way Juan loves me because it is the way God loves me. I remember telling Juan about all the guys I dated and he was silent for a few minutes. Those minutes were so painful because I thought he wouldn’t take me because of my past. But then he said, “Ok! God doesn’t judge you, why should I?” It reminds me of Jesus. People need to forgive their past. God has second chances and endless chances for everyone.
Me: How long have you been married now?
Angie: 2 years and 2 months!
Juan: 2 years and 2 months!
They have endured the distance. They have endured the insecurities that the distance created. They have purposed in their hearts to make their relationship work no matter the obstacles in the way. They choose each other each day of their relationship; they chose love and continue to choose love because they see the promise in each other. They know sacrificial love. They have sacrificed for each other; they put the other first and that is why their relationship lasted the distance. Such beauty. Beauty worth celebrating!
Song in video by Coldplay – Ghost Stories / Engagement video used with permission from Juan & Angie Rodriguez
All pictures used with permission from Juan & Angie Rodriguez