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In case you’re not a reader, the gist of Anthony and Victoria’s story is this:

it is a non-traditional arranged marriage. 


The Arrangement

Anthony and Victoria met four years ago for five minutes at a pastor’s kids conference (both of their fathers are ministers.) They talked briefly, became friends online, and that was the small interaction they shared.

Fast forward four years later and it is now their parents who had their paths cross also at a conference in Florida. The parents had never met each other, and they had no idea Anthony and Victoria had met four years prior.

The moms started to talk about their families (because that’s what mothers do when bored at a conference.) As they were talking, they noticed many similarities between their son and daughter. The more they talked, the more they realized how the idea of arranging Anthony and Victoria’s marriage should become a reality.

Jokingly (but somewhat serious) they said they would arrange the marriage. They took a picture together and then each mother worked on convincing their child that they had found their future spouse.

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So, the mothers did their part, now the ball was in Anthony and Victoria’s court.


The Acceptance

Anthony:

To be honest, when I received that text message from my mom, I didn’t respond. It actually took five messages from my mom for me to simply say, “yes mom, I know who she is…”

What’s weird is I had always told my parents to arrange my marriage growing up. I just didn’t know they were actually listening.

Victoria:

Mom texted me and said she was arranging my marriage to Anthony Santiago. My first thought was that’s too good to be true so I responded, “I give my full blessing.”

She then sent me a picture of her and his mom together and my heart stopped. It was hard to believe that the man who had made such an impression on me four years ago, could possibly come into my life for more than just the five minutes we first shared.

~~~

Once both parties received the messages from their mothers, Victoria waited patiently for Anthony to make the first move. After thinking, praying and consulting with some friends about it, Anthony messaged her on Instagram.

(During this time Anthony was studying in Brussels, Belgium while Victoria was working in Jacksonville, Florida.)

They began to message each other on the gram for a while, which led to text messages, which then led to FaceTime calls.

By the second FaceTime call, Anthony asked Victoria to be his girlfriend. It was November 2nd, which they remember well, because it was the same day the Cubs won the World Series in an unforgettable fashion.

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The curse for the cubs was broken, and so was the curse of singleness for both of them. (That is sarcasm by the way; their seasons of singleness were very beneficial.)

Victoria responded to Anthony’s request with: “por supuesto”, which means “Of course! You’re so amazing and good looking! How could I say no?” Actually, it just means “of course.”

November 2nd they were officially boyfriend & girlfriend.


The Trip

Things progressed better than they could have imagined, despite the ocean between them. They were finding more and more things in common and felt a genuine connection with the other. Anthony wanted to be sure that what he was feeling and thinking about the relationship was actually real, so he booked a flight to see Victoria in person.

Now, keep in mind that they have not seen each other in over four years. The moms just arranged for them to talk, and they became a couple over their second FaceTime call. So, when dating long distance, there’s no telling really how tall or short the person is or whether or not they have a metal foot, because all you see is their face (inside joke).

Anthony arrived on November 25th. While sitting in the plane he knew one of two things was going to happen the moment he saw Victoria. Either there would be confirmation that she was the one to marry; or the confidence of being with her would immediately leave.

Full of joy, he was happy to experience the former.

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They spent that week together and knew by the third day that this was going to lead to marriage.

Though this timeline may appear rushed, nothing could be further from the truth. It was fast, but not rushed. Both were at peace with each other and with God as to how their relationship was progressing.

By the end of this trip, when they both had zero doubts and 100% confidence, Anthony asked to meet with Victoria’s father to ask for her hand in marriage.

Victoria’s dad had Anthony preach at his church on a Wednesday night, and right after preaching, Anthony met with Pastor Ted in his office. About two hours later, Pastor Ted gave the blessing and said they could get married.

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The Engagement

At this time Anthony was still studying in Brussels, Belgium and Victoria was working in Jacksonville, Florida. So the long-distance relationship continued.

During the Christmas break they met in Spain where Victoria met Anthony’s family, church, and city. She loved every moment. It quickly became a home away from home.

On the 3rd of January, Anthony took her to the highest room in the tallest tower of Segovia’s Alcazar (a castle resembling that of Disney’s.) On one knee he asked the question that would change the rest of their lives, “Will you marry me?” Without hesitation, full of joy and confidence, Victoria responded, “Yes.”

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The Waiting

That is just the beginning of their story. The next major chapter will be getting married on June 16th. From that point, the couple will move back to Belgium to study at Continental Theological Seminary with the purpose of returning to Spain to serve at the International Church of Madrid.

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