Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Students Weigh in on Marriage

My dear readers may recall that last month I posted a reflection on the significance of Father's Day in Nicaragua. Last week, it fell to me to teach my third-year Christian Formation class about the sacrament of holy matrimony. After a lively discussion about the elements of a good marriage, I put it to them to write dialogues exploring the pros and cons of getting married. I offer some of their insights here, that the reader may employ to support, question, or otherwise further develop on the ideas I put forth. Common themes include a fear of divorce, mistreatment, economic insecurity. Also a strong connection between matrimony and being a good Christian, though with so many things here it's hard to tell if that makes it desirable, unattainable, or both.

1)It's not always possible to tell from their responses if they are interested in getting married themselves. These are more their observations of the views that surround them.
2) Men are rather unrepresented, because they are a minority in the class and tend to not turn in their homework. But that's another topic entirely.

Erely and Joddy (female):
Person 1: For me, marriage is good. For me, a person from the time they're born thinks about only being with one person to love and to be sure of their love they should marry.
Person 2: I disagree because if someday one of the pair doesn't want to stay married they have to divorce and, even worse, if it's through the church it's until death do them part and I wouldn't like that...
Person 1: That's not love. Love is sharing ideas, things, and problems. I see my companion's point but I still [support marriage.]
Person 2: ...Marriage...at the beginning is lovely but later shameful things come to pass...perhaps someday I'll support marriage.
Osmelda (female):
"Because of marriage the partners are happy and through marriage they follow the church, loving each other in the Lord. They don't think bad thoughts or have eyes for others, only for that man or that woman."
"It's bad to get married because as soon as they're married, whether it's by the state or the church, the first night they're already cheating on their wives, especially the men... if they marry in the church, two days later they don't go to church, they don't love their partner, if they have children they don't show them love and kindness but only mistreatment, a week later they want to get divorced, saying "I'm bored with you, I'm tired, I can't stand you," and they go around sleeping with other women and men."

Hellen (female):
"Marriage for goodness is good because it serves to form a family, take care of each other...it's also good to be [together] in the good times and the bad, and in marriage there's happiness, sadness, and the spouse and children are there to comfort...there are some partners that don't want to have children, and some that do because a child is a blessing in the family..."


Doyly and Gino (male):

Person 2: I understand marriage to be a relation that exists between two people that love each other...I think that marriage is of little importance in life...I'm not getting married because you know I don't have money to buy clothes and celebrate wtih the family.
Person 1: I want to get married to be close to God that is on high and stay free of all evil.


Johana (female)

"Marriage is something beautiful before God and the world and for families...not everyone gets married for love, but for money and material goods...this is very bad before God... For this reason, it's better that they not marry. What's the good of a marriage that lasts one year or two and then they get divorced....and then they take away property, they threaten each other, etc."

[Note: Johana affirmed to me that she does want to get married someday.]


Karina (female)

Here, the majority of couples don't get married because they know that love isn't forever, because everything in this life ends, even love, in part because of infidelity, because both men and women are unfaithful."

Stefany and Ruth (female)

Person 1:"It's good...to get married because the force of love is the union of two people...the married life is very happy when there's love and trust between them."

Person 2: "A married person lives in hell...the husband hits her, insults her, and chides her for everything."

Jahaira (female)

Person 1:When he marries, the person accepts God and his wife...Marriage is important for life and for our future.

Person 2: Marriage is sacred, but if I get married... I don't know if that man is going to mistreat me or leave me or kill me. Because of this I'm not going to get married... I can't marry a disrespectful and irresponsible man...and when I get pregnant he's going to tell me "It's not my daughter or my son," he's going to tell me to get an abortion. That's why I don't accept marriage.


Shanelia (female)

Person 1: What happened with your marriage?
Person 2: I decided not to get married because it can be a risk.
Person 1: But how, if marriage isn't anything risky, it makes you happy.
Person 2: But I think that if I get married I might experience tragedy, my husband might mistreat me.
Person 1: No, marriage is healthy if it's about loving each other mutually, of course you have to choose the right person.
Person 2: I never thought of marriage that way.
Person 1: You should, because marriage is a blessing from God, because from it children are born along with a pure love between the two partners that lasts until death, if you choose the right person.
Person 2: Thanks for your advice, now I'm thinking well.
Person 1: No problem, I hope to see you get married someday.
Person 2: Of course!


Nesly (female)

Marriage is good because that way we can show that we love each other, we need someone to love us. It's also important because this way we can show God that we love him, that we're faithful to him, that he is important in our lives. And that we love each other, and act in a rightful and patient way because marriage means a pact that we make with God.

Some people shouldn't get married because they get married for money and when there's money, there's love...but when the money ends the love gets lost.... If someone gets married for [wordly] interest and then divorce it's because they're not faithful to God.


Sandralee (female)

Many people don't get married, and many girls that get pregnant at an early age. Maybe because the men who get them pregnant don't have the ability to marry and maintain their wife.


Sterry (male)

Person 1: [Marriage] is terrible. I don't want responsiblity, I want to have adventures and lots of women.

Person 2: Marriage is something Christian. It's for loving each other, obeying each other, and respecting each other.

Person 1: I don't want to get married because it's not interesting for my life.

Person 2: But marriage is God's law.

Person 1: Of course...don't... say it [ellipsis original]

Person 2: You're joking, you could marry the woman you love.

Person 1: Don't sermonize!

Person 2: It's advice, not a sermon.

Person 1: Fine, I'll get married.

Noemi and Jolaina (female)

Person 1: I think marriage is a bad idea because...if the man is a drinker and machista, you have to tolerate his yelling and hitting. But if it's a religous marriage there's no divorce, it's until death.

Person 1: Marriage is nothing bad. When someone gets married they should love each other mutually, the man just like the woman. The woman shouldn't permit her husband to yell at her or lay a hand on her.

Person 1: But this can happen in any marriage because when a woman gets married she doesn't know what the man is like. At the beginning, he's all sentimental, but at the end he's bitter.

Solution: Because of this, there's dating so the partners can get to know each other well. When the man starts to talk rudely, better to end the relationship because it doesn't lead to anything. We women should defend our rights.


Helen (female)

"I think people don't get married very much because most of the population is very young and doesn't have marriage prospects. Most people get married when they have a stable economic condition."


Vicky (female)

Person 1: I want to get married.
Person 2: Why? You're really young.
Person 1: But I'm old enough.
Person 2: But why can't you be like me? I have my boyfriend.
Person 1: That's you. I'm me and you don't even want to have kids.
Person 2: Why should I care about kids?
Person 1: Yes, you have no heart.
Person 2: Why don't I have a heart?
Person 1: Because you don't even want to have one child.
Person 2: But a child costs too much.
Person 1: But a child is everything!
Person 2: How is it everything?
Person 1: Of course it's everything. A child is love, kindness.


Onier (male)

Joselin (fictional? woman): Are you going to marry me?
Onier: I can do you the favor, but the truth is I'm not ready.
Joselin: But I want to marry you.
Onier: We're young and I don't want to marry now.
Joselin: But I can't stand this anymore.
Onier: You know I don't work and I have my lackings.
Joselin: Tell me the truth. You don't want me.
Onier: It's not that. It's like I said, I'm not old enough to get married.
Joselin: You have someone else. That's why you don't want to marry me.
Onier: I can't do this anymore. I see that you want something serious with me and I can't see you anymore.


Iris and Meybi (female)

Person 1: I think marriage is good because it's where you unite your lives for your whole life.
Person 2: I disagree because you have to enjoy life and besides often there's infidelity.
Person 1: That's when they don't really love each other.
Person 2: I had a boyfriend and he cheated on me. Since then, I'm completely convinced that two people can't get married.
Person 1: You're wrong. If God's love is present, those people can understand each other.
Person 2: There's no love of God in people, only the devil's love.
Person 1: That's not true, because the devil's love doesn't exist in God nor in people.
Person 2: Ha ha ha, you're a genius. Marriage isn't for people.
Person 1: You don't believe the one that has to convince you. Open your damn eyes, blind girl!
Person 2: Reality is reality. Marriage doesn't exist.
Person 1: Of course it exists, you just don't accept it.
Person 2: It's fine, I'll get married or follow your advice. Thanks for your advice.


Margarita (female) and Kevin (male)

Margarita: I think marriage is sacred, serious, it isn't a game. It's when two people unite and give themselves to God...when you get married you have to be mature and aware of what you're going to do. It's necessary to have time to think and decide what you really want.

Kevin: Marriage is good for those people who want to form a good, dignified family with much love and kindness.

Margarita: I'm not going to get married, because you don't know what your husband is going to be like. At the beginning he treats you well, but later he mistreats you. That's why I don't want to get married, don't even think about getting married.

Kevin: I want to get married to live with my family and have lots of love together and live in harmony with God, my children, and my wife.


Esmelda (female)

For me the sacrament of marriage is important because it's good that someday we can follow a good path. Marriage is a promise that one makes with God to have faith in God and mutually act like a Christian. But for some people, they don't want to receive this gift or this sacrament. It's not important for them because they don't believe in God.

For others, they get married, but they leave each other again because one mistreats the other or the man wants to be with another woman, he doesn't love his wife or his children, abandons them and his children mistreat other people. Sometimes women part with their husbands. They run away when the man is at work, and the woman is happy with another man in the house.

..I don't know if I'm going to get married. I say I want to get married, but it may not be the gift God has given me.


Tayron and Kent (male)

Tayron: I think that marriage is a big responsibility for two partners, in which there must be: trust, kindness, care, and above all love. These things are vital in a marriage!!!! It's okay that a man or a woman gets married, but first they should choose that person well... ok!!!!!!

Kent: I think it's good to get married to have a family because through children you have a lot of help, because when they grow up they help us and also we have company through them, but also parents should be responsible in raising them so that their children grow up well.


Juan (male)

Person 1: A lovely marriage is that they feel a pure love between them and at the same time feel the love of our God and when they feel the pure love of God it's that they love each other and have an eternal marriage.

Person 2: I think it's a bad idea because if in less than ten years they separate they have to divide their material goods. When the love ends they live a war, they'll be unfaithful. Differences in opinion can come from having other children, economic issues.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, they seem pretty realistic for young teenagers--sad that they have seen so much of the down side of marriage--no room for fantasy when you're poor?