Couple shares their own story to help others encounter joy of marriage
By Amy White
The Texas Catholic
What first caught Ed’s attention were Linda’s eyes. When he looked into them, he felt a soul connection, like he could see himself in them.
Now, forty years later, Eduardo “Ed” Torres and Herlinda “Linda” Torres have been married for more than 35 years, have three children together, and are looking forward to the birth of their first grandchild in August; and Ed still thinks Linda’s eyes are beautiful.
The two first met in 1984 in El Paso, Texas. Linda was living there at the time, and Ed was in town to receive military training at Fort Bliss. They remember noticing each other at a dance.
“What really attracted me was, before he asked me to dance, he had asked another young lady at another table to dance,” Linda said. “He actually walked her all the way back to the table, held her hand, and thanked her. I thought, ‘Oh my goodness. What a gentleman!’”
When Ed asked Linda to dance, the two were smitten.
“I went up to a table. There were quite a few ladies there, and I picked the most beautiful one,” Ed recalled. “The rest is history.”
The two began dating, and they continued their courtship as Ed transferred from El Paso to San Antonio to Albuquerque. In Albuquerque, Ed decided he wanted to marry Linda.
“There was an intimacy or willingness to have intimate communication… to be true to who God made you to be,” he said. “I found peace in that understanding that I could see myself with her for the rest of my life.”
So, Ed held Linda’s hand, got down on one knee, and asked her to marry him. She said no.
“I love you, I want to go on this adventure with you, but I’m scared,” Linda recalled saying.
Linda, who was born in Mexico but raised by her mother in the United States, was hesitant to leave her family in El Paso. If she married Ed, she knew his job with the military would require her to leave El Paso.
“In Mexican culture, families stay together,” Linda said.
To add to the difficulty, she had also experienced severe betrayal in a past relationship that left her nervous to say “yes” to Ed’s proposal of marriage.
“It wasn’t until my third time getting on my knee and asking her to marry me that she said yes,” he recalled, “and it was just as powerful as if it would have been the first time. I knew what that ‘yes’ meant.”
Although Linda still had some fears about marriage, she knew that Ed was a good man who loved his faith.
“Something inside of me said this is the man God put in my path,” she shared. “And dear Lord, with your help and guidance, I’m going to go for it.”
In August of 1988, the two were married in an intimate Catholic ceremony in Korea, where Ed was stationed at the time.
“The ceremony was very simple but very beautiful,” Linda remembered.
The wedding day was a joyous celebration and a major life milestone—but it was just the beginning of their romance.
Living the “I do”
After Ed and Linda were married, the couple dove deeply into service.
“I was singing in the choir. We’d go to church on Sunday, and we’d already been involved in some men’s retreats and women’s retreats,” Ed said. “We were doing good works… We did a lot of things independently.”
Ed and Linda both emphasized that word: independently.
“It was almost like we were living our Catholicism [in] parallel lines,” Linda recalled.
About six years into their marriage, Ed and Linda had the opportunity to reconnect with each other when they attended their first Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend.
Worldwide Marriage Encounter is a ministry dedicated to the enrichment of marriages through communication and connection. The ministry was established over 50 years ago and reaches approximately 100 countries around the world.
“The foundation of it is teaching a new way of communication,” Linda said, “so that [couples] can learn how to communicate effectively on all their issues: parenting, household responsibilities, lost jobs, whatever it is that’s impacting their togetherness.”
Ed and Linda attended their first Marriage Encounter weekend in Okinawa, Japan in 1994, while they were still living abroad. During their Marriage Encounter weekend, the Torreses received guidance from other married couples and a priest, and they spent time reconnecting with each other.
“Our Worldwide Marriage Encounter retreat was a life-changer for us,” Linda said. “That Saturday night, we spent the entire time talking with a Kleenex box between us. It was so much crying and so much healing. It was just beautiful.”
The Marriage Encounter weekend helped Linda and Ed reconnect as a couple and reminded them what marriage really is: a grace-filled sacrament.
Since that weekend, Ed and Linda have continued to grow in their marriage—and in their Marriage Encounter involvement. The two have since moved back to the states, first to California then to Texas, and have taken on leadership roles in the ministry.
From 2018 to 2022, the couple served as region leaders. Linda explained, “We were leaders for all the encounters in Texas and Oklahoma and Arkansas and New Mexico.”
Ed and Linda continue to be highly involved in the ministry today, presenting talks, offering guidance during Marriage Encounter weekend retreats, and accompanying other couples in their share group at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Duncanville. Their share group meets at Holy Spirit monthly to share testimonies and grow together.
“We still present… We’re working with a parish to do what’s called a non-residential weekend,” Linda said. “We’re still very much involved.”
At Marriage Encounter weekends—whether residential or non-residential—Linda and Ed give couples the kind of guidance and support that they received on their first weekend retreat in Okinawa.
“These couples are no different than we were,” Linda said. “They’re in a sacramental marriage, but they have no idea the wealth of help they have if they act on that grace of the sacrament. The strength of the grace that we see is our motivation to want to work on our marriage, to communicate in a way that is loving and moves the couple forward.”
Ed and Linda said these couples, who are often overwhelmed by busyness and lack sufficient time together, are able to rejuvenate their connection through Worldwide Marriage Encounter. Through the ministry, they gain a valuable understanding of their union as a visible sign of God’s love for His people.
“I want every couple to understand that God loves them—and loves them through their spouse,” Ed said.
As Ed and Linda help couples dive deeper into their sacramental covenant through Worldwide Marriage Encounter ministry, they continue to grow deeper in love and togetherness with each other.
“[Our marriage] is as exciting as when I got down on my knee and asked her to marry me,” Ed shared. “I find her as beautiful; I find her as intelligent; I find her just as amazing.”