Chris Anthony Lujan knew that Jose Zertuche was the man he wanted to marry the very moment Jose said “Te amo.”
“It was about eight months into our relationship. We would say “te quiero” instead of “te amo” because it has a lighter meaning, and we weren’t sure if we wanted to say it yet. Not because we didn’t know if we [loved each other], but because once you do, it makes it real and we didn’t want to jinx anything,” Chris explains. “We were at a party one night and I was a few drinks in, but still very aware. I was completely in awe of him, and without even thinking I said, ‘Te amo.’ We both froze and ran upstairs and actually had the conversation. And yes, he did say it back!”
For Jose, falling in love was almost immediate. “I think I always kind of knew he’s the one I wanted to spend my life with. Throughout our relationship, it’s always been so much fun being with him and learning new things from him. But if I have to think of a specific time, it was one night when I got dropped off at his apartment after my friend’s birthday party. It was really late, and he asked if I was hungry. He started cooking a meal for me—I’m sure it was eggs, potatoes, and bacon. I was just sitting there looking at him cooking for me, and I felt something I’ve never felt before. It just felt right and perfect. I knew it was love, and that I wanted to be with him forever.”
Chris, 24, from Galveston, and Jose, 21, from Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico, are both bartenders and servers at the Pointe West Beach Club in Galveston. They actually met in 2018, a year before they began dating, when a friend introduced them. “Beginning in the summer of 2019, we both secretly sought each other out through that same friend, and met up on a night out,” Jose explains. Before long, there was no doubt that they were headed to the altar. In fact, Chris says, “We were planning the wedding way before the official engagement.”
When it came to proposing, it was Chris who got down on one knee on July 6, 2021. Jose had known that Chris was going to propose, but he had no idea when or how. “I took him back to the spot on the beach where I had asked him out [during] a beach picnic. I set up Tiki torches and timed it perfectly with the sunset. I was so nervous because it was a rainy and gloomy day, but it ended up being the most perfect one.”
Despite knowing that it was coming, Jose says he was still completely taken aback. “I was still very surprised, and I was extremely happy that it was at the same place he had asked me out. He even used the same blanket. I was very nervous. But as soon as I talked to him and hugged him, I felt so much happiness and all the nerves went away,” Jose recalls.
Chris doesn’t even remember what he said to Jose when he proposed. “I’m sure it was along the lines of spending the rest of our lives together, and I know I called him “baby boy” because that’s what I’ve always called him.” And as sure as he was that Jose would say yes, he still was nervous about what the reply would be.
The couple was married on February 12, 2022, in Houston, and one of Chris’ best friends, Melissa Villalobos, officiated. “She’s been a friend for years, and having her really made the moment so much more special because we had a friend there, which was amazing and felt so good,” Chris says.
The whole affair went just as the couple had hoped, and the most moving moment of the night for Chris was simply seeing Jose walk into the room. “He just looked so handsome, and I was completely just happy. I broke.”
For Jose, the best part came after the ceremony. “I think my favorite part of the wedding was dinner—having a nice meal and having a conversation with my handsome husband was amazing,” Jose says. “All the nerves were long gone, and I was enjoying the moment. I was ready to party with my husband.”
The couple now lives in Texas City and could not be happier—which Chris attributes to “how much of an amazing man Jose is, from his kind heart to everything in between. I’m truly so happy and honored that I snagged him before anyone else could.”
For Jose, it’s all about the happiness that Chris brings along wherever he goes. “[People should know] what a free spirit Chris is, and how much happiness he brings to the world. Especially to my world!”
This article appears in the July 2022 edition of OutSmart magazine.