y wife’s name, Amparo, means
“protection,” which is appropri-
ate. She’s a protector of the faith
in our home and, as such, a protector of
our family. We were married 39 years
ago in Chihuahua, Mexico, a place we left
12 years ago to seek better opportunities
in the United States.
Through our nearly four decades of
marriage, we have found that, through
life’s difficulties, praying is sometimes a
little easier than hoping. It is through
our prayers that Amparo and I have lasted these
near 40 years.
Our marriage has had equal parts of joy and hardship.
In 1985, after nine years of trying to conceive, Amparo
and I were devastated when we lost our twin baby girls
two days after they were born. It was the most painful
experience of our lives. After that, Amparo asked me to
start going to Mass with her. I was raised Catholic, but
I had fallen away from the Church. Eager to make her
happy and to become closer to God, I agreed. It was the
best decision I’ve ever made.
At this time, while still in Mexico, she became interest-
ed in pottery. I was eager to make Amparo happy again,
so I built her a studio. To our surprise, I took an interest
in pottery and ceramics as well. Today, we share both a
passion for art and an art business itself.
Three years after starting our business, Amparo gave
birth to our first son, who was followed by two more
sons a few years apart. We raised our sons in Mexico
for a time, but I began to worry about how the perva-
sive chaos there would affect my family. Through my
work, I was familiar with the U.S. and, envisioning a
better life for us, I decided to start a new business in
By and large, our family adapted well to the move and
has assimilated into U.S. culture. But life has not always
been easy. When we moved here, we got caught in the
middle of a political storm. New, stricter immigration
laws fueled an anti-immigrant sentiment. As entrepre-
neurs, we didn’t have any trouble with our business,
but as persons, we were not always welcome. The rare
occasions when we would slide into speaking our native
Spanish were sometimes met with negative reactions
— as if the listener had been stung by a bee. Today, we
hear the disparagement of Mexican immigrants, partic-
ularly in the political realm and, yes, it’s heartbreaking.
We are not
strangers to harassment and
bigotry. But when we are faced with it, we remember
we rely on the Lord and each other.
We have been blessed with three clever, talented,
and independent sons, all of whom we love and thank
God for. As time passes and our family grows, we have
more and more that we are grateful for. We recently
became grandparents. But as it is with all families, life
is not perfect. We struggle. When our sons need us,
Amparo and I don’t always agree on how to help them.
Sometimes we argue. But at the end of the day, we pray
together before we fall asleep and remember that we’re
in this together.
Amparo is a wife in the best sense of the word. She
is a wife in the sense of wisdom, as we understand the
wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit. Like the Holy
Spirit, she keeps me focused on the truth — the real-
ity that God is present in our lives. And I am always
amazed by her readiness to forgive and her willingness
Amparo and I were raised in a traditional society
where we were expected to get married and stay mar-
ried. But society’s view of matrimony has changed.
We’ve noticed it as well in the northern part of Mexico,
closer to the border — young people aren’t getting mar-
ried and couples are separating or getting divorced. If I
could give advice to married couples it is this: As hard
as it can be to hope, look to each other and to God. Pray
together for each other’s happiness. We are witnesses
to the fact that, without God’s help, we would be in the
dark. But with it, we can overcome the difficulties that
life brings, strengthening both our bond with each other
and our relationship with God, our Protector.
Fernando Pinal lives in Mesa, Arizona.
PRAY FOR EACH
By Fernando Pinal
the story of a husband