Yessenia Berrones, 26, was born in Coahuila, Mexico, and works in a clothing warehouse while studying for her GED. Her wife, Nelida Rodriguez, 30, is from Naguabo, Puerto Rico, and works at the YMCA.
They chose to get married on September 22, 2017, because it was the first day of fall. They were the first LGBTQ couple married at the Houston Municipal Courts building on Mikawa Road in southeast Houston.
“The wedding was special for us from the beginning to the end,” Berrones says. “What we liked best was when they announced us as Mrs. and Mrs. Berrones.”
The couple met in 2016, when they were both online looking for friends. They never thought they would make a love connection while looking at photos, but they liked each other’s smiles.
After several late-night phone conversations, they decided to meet.
“I desperately wanted to see her smile in person,” Rodriguez recalls.
“And I just wanted to hear her voice. I love her accent,” Berrones says.
On November 13, 2016, they met at Fonder Park, which was close to Berrones’ home. “We had a nice evening walking in the park, and a very animated conversation,” Rodriguez recalls. “The chemistry between us was so special and strong, that Yessenia asked for my permission to kiss me.”
“I always knew I was a stud lesbian,” Berrones says, “but it was hard to accept because I didn’t have my parents’ support. Because I wanted to please them, I tried to be with a guy. I got pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.”
Rodriguez had also been closeted.
“I never told anyone that I was lesbian,” Rodriguez says. “I, too, married a guy. We divorced shortly thereafter, and I moved to Houston. I never thought that I would find someone who would make me brave and love me as I deserved to be loved. Yessenia made me feel so strong and brave that I told my parents that I had fallen in love with a girl, and that I was very happy in my relationship,” Rodriguez adds.
But they still had to work at it.
“I was in a bad place, and had a lot of bad influences in my life,” Berrones says.
They learned that open and frequent conversations are the key to a healthy relationship, along with a lot of laughter.
“I just love it when Yessenia whispers in my ear,” Berrones says.
“And I adore her kisses,” Rodriguez adds.
They also keep the romance alive by surprising each other with romantic date nights, including candles and wine.
‘The most romantic thing that Nelida has done for me,” Berrones says, “was when she showed up at my job on Valentine’s Day and surprised me with a big panda bear and chocolates.”
Berrones says she realized Rodriguez was “the one” after seven months, and proposed to her in the summer of 2017.
“We went out to eat, and afterwards I took her to the park where we had our first date and kissed,” she says. “I remember saying to her, ‘Since I met you, I have become a better person. You have supported my decisions, and you have been with me when I least deserved it. Will you be my wife?’”
Rodriguez said yes through tears of joy.
The newlyweds decided to forgo a honeymoon due to their work schedules, and because they are planning to have a big wedding celebration in 2019.
They both want children. Rodriguez has a condition that makes it difficult to get pregnant, but they are confident that she will.
They also understand that marriage requires chemistry, mutual respect, and a lot of love.
“As we like to say, marriage is an adventure that both want to enjoy. It’s easier when you remember why that person is the love of your life.”
The newlyweds live in Houston.
This article appears in the September 2018 edition of OutSmart magazine.