By Robbie Pangilinan
Vancouver - He knew from the start that he wanted to travel the world with her. It was her whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.
Jeffrey J. Seitz and Mary O Sea met in a bar in Calgary, Alberta in 2003. A mutual friend, who was Jeffrey’s massage therapist at the time and had a crush on him, brought Mary with her that night.
“It worked out great for me as I met Mary! Didn’t work out so well for the friend that had a crush on me, lol. But the friend was part of our wedding party, so there were no bad feelings,” laughs Jeffrey, currently Vice President of D-MARK Biosciences, Canada’s premier provider of advanced solutions for genomics and molecular biology.
It was love at first sight for Jeffrey, who remember perfectly well the night they met when he thought of Mary as a beautiful, sweet, and genuine person. Jeffrey says they were attracted to each other very quickly because of their core beliefs, mainly the importance of family, and being genuine or authentic.
Jeffrey and Mary hit it off quickly. They were both mature and in their thirties, had previous relationships, both were already successful independently, and knew what they wanted in life.
One of the first things they did together, within two weeks of meeting each other, was travel to Singapore to spend time with Mary’s eldest sister and experience part of Asia. Jeff and Mary love traveling. They went on a number of road trips in Canada and went backpacking in Europe together when their son Jonah was just 8 months old.
“Mary and I both love the outdoors, but also like the city life. We look for a balance of the two things when we go traveling,” shares Jeff.
Of course, their favorite vacation place is the Philippines, Mary’s home. Recently, they went to Caramoan and Siargao. Both have been to many beautiful beaches around the world, and love the beaches in the Philippines the most.
Because they love travelling, Jeff planned to surprise Mary with a proposal in Quebec City, one of the most romantic cities on earth.
“When we arrived, it was my intention to find a horse-drawn carriage, take a tour around the city, and then propose to her when our tour ended. It certainly didn’t turn out that way. We arrived mid-afternoon on a Sunday and the carriages shut down early on Sundays. We walked around for several hours looking for a carriage but to no avail. I had it set in my mind that “TODAY IS THE DAY” and I was going to propose no matter what. I remember Mary telling me that her feet were really tired and that she just wanted to go back to the hotel to relax. I was determined to make it happen. There was no carriage, so on our way home, we stopped in a back alley near our hotel. It was a totally unattractive place, but there was a small picnic table where we could sit down together. We took a break from walking and I nervously completed the task. Mary said yes without hesitation!” recalls Jeff.
The couple went back to Quebec City on their 10th anniversary and this time, Jeff made sure to get a horse-drawn carriage! They had a beautiful tour of the amazing city and when it ended, he gave her a beautiful ring for their anniversary.
Jeff and Mary got married twice so they could accommodate family and friends on both sides of the world. The first one was in Calgary, Canada, and the second in Boracay, Philippines. Jeff shares that the Calgary wedding was pretty relaxed, while the Boracay wedding was extravagant.
“In Calgary, we went to the Church and had a very nice sermon and then celebrated at our home for the get-together with family and friends. In Boracay, we had an amazing beach wedding, with elegant sand castles built for us, an amazing hotel (Pearl of the Pacific) with amazing service, food and drinks. Mary arranged to have the local high-school dancers do many cultural dances for us. The dancing was a real highlight, the dancers were amazing. We celebrated long into the night, dancing and having an amazing memorable experience with close family and a few friends,” Jeff remembers fondly.
What keeps their marriage strong are their values, dreams, and confidence in one another.
“We both both have very strong family values. We both come from strong families. There are no broken marriages on either side of our families, a total of 6 siblings all in strong marriages. We are both Christians, I am Catholic and Jeff is Lutheran, both raised with strong Christian values. And we both wanted children,” says Mary, who hails from Iriga. Jeff and Mary have three children –Jonah, 11; Elan, 8; and Hans, 5).
Jeff continues, “Both Mary and I are go-getters, we are dreamers, and are constantly going after bigger goals. We keep dreaming and keep pushing to fulfill our own goals and to build for a strong future for our children. I think you could say we are near a perfect match! Nothing is perfect in life but Mary and I have complete confidence in one another. If there is a rock in our lives, it is our marriage, and from that foundation we can do anything together.”
Jeff and Mary admit that there is a very low-stress relationship. Like any couple, they disagree every now and then, but they never fight. As Jeff says, “Life is too short to fight with your spouse.” Jeff also says that because Mary is very emotionally stable, they never argue or raise their voices to one another. They always speak with respect for one another and consider their tandem as a team.
Of course, challenges are part of married life. The biggest challenges that Jeff and Mary have faced are almost always related to business. But they say that these challenges are what makes them good at doing business. All the experiences and challenges that they faced have made them seasoned professionals, stronger persons, and have allowed them to grow together.
“We simply tell ourselves, this is another bump in road, we’ll get through it together. If we experienced a serious hardship, we always say that time will pass and we will overcome this one too. We leave in the hands of God to guide us and believe everything happens for a reason. God has a plan for us,” Mary says.
A daily routine that Jeff and Mary enjoy is their time together in the mornings, before the kids wake up and their demanding day starts.
“We sit down in our sun room and share a hot drink. I have tea and Jeff has coffee. We talk about our kids and the accomplishments of the previous day or what is ahead. We support each other 100% in all of our business endeavors. We share the good and the bad and always encourage one another,” says Mary.
They treasure precious times of being able to have a date. They usually dine out, watch a movie, or occasionally get away for a weekend alone. Mary join Jeff sometimes on his business trips. They also treasure the time with their kids, so they rarely exclude them and take them on their dates!
When Jeff and Mary are both old and gray, they just want to be together on the beach, probably in their own classy bed-and-breakfast resort that serves amazing coffee and mango shakes. Until then, Jeff and Mary are ready to travel the world, as long as they are together.