“Emotions should be expressed through your facial expressions, not through an icon. Sentiments should be expressed through spoken words, not written words … It’s important to learn to use our sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell to fully connect and express ourselves.“
~ Giovanny Castro
South Florida Marriage Maestro
“I Am ME” profiles people teaching relationship and marriage education classes in their local communities. We call this series “I Am ME,” both because “ME” is an acronym for “Marriage Education” and in honor of a poem about self-esteem written by the late Virginia Satir, a pioneer in the field of marriage and relationship education.
Giovanny and Valentina Castro grew up in Colombia, moved to South Florida together in 2001, and married in 2008.
Professionally, Giovanny is an accountant and financial advisor. Valentina is a business administration entrepreneur. The couple have long shared a passion for serving young people, leading them to continue their studies in strengthening family systems. They are both working on completing Masters in Family Therapy Systems, while Giovanny also pursues a Doctorate of Arts in Liturgical Studies and Valentina finishes her Masters in Counseling Psychology.
The Castros are also actively involved in the faith-based community. Giovanny serves as an associate minister, music and youth director in a Christian non-denominational organization.
The couple’s commitment to ensuring their service in the community makes a lasting difference led them to pursue training to teach evidence-based relationship skills and marriage education classes. Today, the Castros regularly lead PAIRS classes for Spanish-speaking teens and adults throughout South Florida.
Five Questions for Marriage Maestro Giovanny Castro
1. What led you to want to teach relationship and marriage education?
I became intrigued with marriage and relationship education because it closely related to what I wanted to learn for my own life. Evidently, life doesn’t come with instructions to teach us all we need to know about how to better communicate with the people around us. PAIRS training provided me with extraordinary tools. Also, because I had only been married two years, I realized the sooner I learned to improve communication with my spouse, the healthier our marriage would be. Knowing the high rate of divorce and unhappy marriages, I was eager to learn healthy, effective ways to strengthen our ability to confide, listen, relate to each other, and appreciate every moment of life to the fullest. PAIRS dedication to providing practical, essential tools to help couples and singles improve their lives and impact generations to come fits perfectly with my quest to contribute to the world.
2. How are the challenges facing young couples today different?
One of the biggest challenges faced by young couples today is learning how to use the power of expression. When I started dating and throughout my first days of marriage, we wanted to spend all of our time together and every second away talking on the phone. Nowadays, that doesn’t exist. Instead of talking on the phone, people communicate through text messaging, a far less effective means of expression. Verbal and face-to-face communication rarely exists any longer. There is a tremendous difference between verbal and written communication. Emotions should be expressed through your facial expressions, not through an icon. Sentiments should be expressed through spoken words, not written words. My personal belief is that God created our senses for a reason. It’s important to learn to use our sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell to fully connect and express ourselves. That goes far beyond material things.
3. How has being a marriage education instructor affected your own marriage?
Being an instructor has had a tremendous impact on my marriage. My wife and I use the DTR (Daily Temperature Reading) consistently. The results are amazing! On a weekly basis, we also practice Emptying the Emotional Jug and other tools we learned from the PAIRS Essentials curriculum. Being a marriage educator has forced me to practice good listening and good verbal communication everyday. Since as Americans we are always on the go, it is especially important that we listen and speak very clearly to avoid misunderstandings.
4. What are some favorite hobbies you enjoy sharing together?
I absolutely love music and traveling. I enjoy singing for fun. When my family and I get together for birthdays or special occasions, my artistic talents bloom. We all sing, laugh and have a great time! My wife and I also enjoy traveling. We love to visit new cities, beaches, museums, and other points of interest. Our goal is to eventually travel the entire world!
5. What three qualities would you like your wife to most admire about you?
Amusing, responsible, and trustworthy.
Editor’s Note: If you’d like us to feature a Relationship and Marriage Educator in your community, please e-mail their name, contact information, and a brief statement about why you’d like to see them profiled on the FatherhoodChannel.com to firstname.lastname@example.org.