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A Long Courtship Before A Happy Marriage PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alex Garcia   
Thursday, 13 February 2014 04:39

A. Garcia / SFVS

Respect is their Key

Isidro and Julia Martinez’ courtship before getting married took a little longer than usual—20 years to be exact— but the Pacoima couple says it was destiny that brought them together.

Both were born in the same rancho near the town of Sombrerito, Zacatecas, Mexico where they remember playing together as children. “We were neighbors,” said Isidro, 80. “We’ve known each other since we were kids.” As they grew up, the friendship turned into one of typical teenage boyfriend-girlfriend. “We had dances and parties in the rancho, we were really happy,” Isidro said. But as it can happen when one is young, those relationships don’t always last very long. “I dated a lot,” admitted Julia, 75.

“We would break it off (the relationship) and I would date another guy and he would date another girl and then we would get back. “I guess it was destiny that decided we would end up together,” she said. In total, they went 20 years as on-and-off boyfriend and girlfriend, even from afar. Julia eventually came to live in the United States while Isidro stayed behind in Mexico, but they continued writing to each other.

In fact, Isidro said, she was the one who invited him to come to North Hollywood where she was living, and that’s when they decided to take the next step. “We were getting old (she was 31, he was 35) and we decided to get married,” Julia said, adding that during those 20 years of on-and-off dating she realized that Isidro was “a healthy, clean and hard working man,” not like many others she had dated. In 1971, when they married, some of their friends wondered if they had waited too long to be tying the knot for the first time.

By then, most of their peers already had children. But the couple said they never thought about that, and that they were meant for each other. They returned to their native Zacatecas to get married. “It was a party like there’s never been another one in the rancho,” said Julia, proudly. “They killed like 10 goats and two cows; there was so much meat and it was such a large party.”

After the party, the couple returned to the United States to began their life as husband and wife. The first years were not easy; money was scarce and they struggled. Isidro worked at a restaurant for 16 years (where he began as dishwasher) before getting a better paying job. Julia worked as a seamstress. They had two daughters — Nury Martinez, currently the only woman representative on the Los Angeles City Council (6th Dist.), and her sister Claudia. Today, Isidro and Julia are both retired and finally enjoying life together.

Julia says they’re just getting to know each other. For most of their married life Isidro worked six days a week. There were times one worked at night and the other during the day. The only day they spent together was Sunday. And while things may not always be perfect, they credit their many years of marriage (they will celebrate their 44th anniversary later this month) to a mutual respect. “We do have arguments like everybody else, but it goes away,” Julia said.“Sometimes we spend three or four months without having any arguments.” “Above all, we have never called each other names, we’ve always been respectful of each other” as the basis of their longlasting relationship, Isidro said. “A lot of couples start arguing and right away there are bad words.

We’ve never done that. God gave man a woman to love her, respect her and never mistreat her.” Julia concurred. “For a marriage to last you have to have respect. Without it, there’s nothing,” she said. But then there’s always destiny — something that often plays a bigger role in your life.