Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Our First Family Wedding

One of our own has gotten married.  James Israel is now a married man.  

At the beginning of the year, he was asking us questions like: how do you know if you're ready to get married?  What do you do to get ready?

We answered the questions the best we could and then we had one of our own:  "Are you trying to tell us something?"  He laughed and said 'no, he was just thinking'.   At the time we were relieved because James' girlfriend was only 16 years old.

The end of May, he came to us and said he had some news.  He was thinking about getting married. Really?  When?   "Soon" he said.  As with any parent who hears about a desire for a sudden wedding, our most logical question was, "Is she pregnant?"   James said that she was not, but they no longer wanted to wait.

We asked the question again, but this time "How soon",  he answered  'maybe next week'.   Whoa........   In my thoughts I'm thinking, let's talk about this more.  But what I said was, "Let's plan this out and do it right, have a real wedding".   When in actuality, I meant -  I need more time, I feel like I've been hit with a sledge hammer.

We have talked for years to the guys about responsibilities.  Finish your education, stabilize your finances, don't put the cart before the horse (no babies outside of marriage).   We were feeling like all the years of teaching were being ignored.

But, what do you do?  He's 21 years old, he's a legal adult who has been providing for himself for over a year.  We cannot interfere with his right to his own decisions.

The day before the wedding, we had all the boys and their girl friends gathered together one last time as family.   A time of preparation and enjoying each other company one last night.

We had one last discussion to let the others know the truth of what we felt, in case there was any more surprises to come our way.  We spoke to them what was on our hearts.
We told them that our original views did not change.  Marriage at their age was not something we agreed with.  Their backgrounds had been very challenging, their youth had been taken away from them.  We wanted them to experience life as a young adult without a lot of responsibilities.  We wanted them to finish their education, find good jobs, learn to handle finances all this before getting married.

We told everyone in the presence of James, that we did not agree with James decision; we felt it was premature.  But because we loved him and as our son, we were choosing to honor him.   We told them that our acceptance of his desire to marry was not the same as our approval.

One thing these guys are good at, they tell us what they know we want to hear - No, mom, the rest of us are not planning on getting married any time soon.

In Nicaragua the majority of the people have only a civil ceremony which is required by law.  If a couple chooses to have a Christian ceremony it is usually done a day after the civil.   In some instances, a civil ceremony and Christian are done the same day with the attorney in attendance.   In James' case, they wanted both the civil and Christian ceremonies to be on the same day.  

Nicaraguenses have a unique attitude towards time - it doesn't matter.  Regardless of what the start time is for ANY event, it's an accepted practice for guests to arrive a half hour, one hour or more after the stated time.   At the wedding, we waited for a very long time in a small, crowded, hot house used as a church for the attorney to arrive.    Finally, the decision was made to have the Christian ceremony first and follow with the civil ceremony when the attorney showed up.  James asked Preston and I if we would be his witnesses during the civil ceremony.

When I think about the alternative that James could have made, I am proud that he chose to marry.  I stated earlier that the majority of the people have only a civil ceremony, those are the people who choose to get married.   In reality, the nation is full of couples who choose not to marry at all, they want the freedom to abandon the relationship if it is not to their liking.   Many times, they give the excuse that it is too expensive to have a civil ceremony; but they manage to find the money to have cell phones, tv and cable.   Some do not have a Christian ceremony because then they would be considered married in the eyes of God.