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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

Mesa, Arizona.

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

to love.

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.



By Fernando Pinal


amily matters

the story of a husband