After Four Obstacles, Love Prevailed For This Couple

Constance Collins and Matthew Steuer were married at FEAST at Round Hill, an event space in Washingtonville, N.Y.Credit…Lucie B. Photography

In a beautiful story by the New York Times author Vincent M. Mallozzi , he describes two couples, Constance Collins and Matthew Steuer, who met in the Democratic Republic of Congo in August 2016, when they worked as teachers at the American School of Kinshasa.  Steuer majored in early childhood special education, while Collins earned her degree in social studies.

“We collaborated professionally on numerous projects and trusted and counted on each other,” Collins told the author. “I loved his values, his view of the world, and his love of the school children we taught.”

As time went on, the love bug hit and they knew they belonged together; while their love blossomed, they faced challenges along the way.  

Steuer eventually took a job at the International School of Uganda, while Collins was forced to accept a job at American International School in Johannesburg due to no openings where Steuer worked at the time which was two hours away; yet that didn’t stop their desire to be together.  So during school breaks, Steuer boarded a two-hour flight to see Collins when possible.

If there was something worthwhile about COVID for Collins and Steuer, it was that many schools were forced to close, which allowed the two to spend time together often. 

According to the author, life was good for Collins and Steuer until Collins suffered kidney failure; she had suffered from the illness for a considerable part of her life.  In fact, 9 years before she and  Steuer met, she had a transplant. She had emergency surgery and was placed on dialysis treatment. And by the time she and Steuer had dated seriously, her kidney failed.

The couple changed into custom outfits designed by Sello Medupe, a South African designer, for their reception.Credit…Lucie B. Photography

If that wasn’t challenging enough, the couple had to contend with the fact that Collins’ parents didn’t like Steuer was white.  “They had some strong reservations and that he was a white man,” Collins said.  Steuer added, “While it created some tension and challenging feelings, I honestly did not take it personally…I understood where they were coming from and imagined I might feel similarly were Constance, my daughter.”   

Also, her family didn’t like that he was 56 years old and she was 32 years old.   Despite age differences, health problems, disapproval of family members, and distant relationship for a while, the couple felt God brought them together.  And on July 22, Steuer married her when she was receiving dialysis in the hospital. 

Remarkably, the wedding reception was the first time that  Collins’ family met Steuer.  … “Believe it or not, it went really well,” Steuer told the author. “Once our two families sat down and talked, there was a lot of respect and warm feelings.”

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