If you have been a regular reader of my Blog, you know that I have been recanting the story of how my lovely wife and I met, got engaged and eventually married. If you have been reading you also know that it all happened really fast. Our journey began 20 years ago. My previous posts on how this all came about are available here PV. 18:22.
One problem with a whirlwind romance, engagement and marriage is that certain events happened really quickly. Sometimes they happen so fast that you might be distracted by the cares of the world and then end up missing an important event such as your own wedding. Letting the cares of a vacation and work make you late for your own wedding would be a big mistake.
The good news is that I was not late for my first wedding day. But I am late in writing about it. Our first 20th wedding anniversary was yesterday, August 25th. I am a day late in writing about it. I hope after all this time my wife will forgive me. Note: I was not late in realizing or recognizing the date, just writing about it.
Saturday, August 25, 1990 I married my wife for the first time. It was the culmination of an eight day courtship and a 7 week engagement. If you have been reading the posts you know that we had a bit of a rollercoaster ride during those eight weeks.
We decided that we should get married before my wife returned to Guatemala to get ready for the wedding in front of the family at the family farm. We had been mistakenly been told it would help with immigration concerns down the road. But sometimes bad advice can have good consequences (for my teenage children I have to say – rarely does bad advice have good consequences, but it did have a good outcome this time).
We were married in a very simple ceremony in my mother’s living room. There were only about a dozen people present. My former YFC director and friend performed the ceremony. My good friend Pete served as the best man. My wife’s brother was there to give her away and ensure that the family was well represented. My mother attended. The guilty party that connected my wife and I was also present with your husband and family. It was a nice small affair.
During the ceremony, Lisy shared these verses which seemed so appropriate for our unique cross cultural international union:
Ruth 1:16-17 (New International Version)
16 But Ruth replied, "Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me."
The ceremony was done following a simple Christian ceremony. We shared vows, kissed and signed the official county certificate. All done in a matter of minutes. Remember, we had planned to have a real, full, family fueled event in December at my wife’s family farm in Guatemala. That wedding will not be a simple affair with a dozen people in attendance. That story will appear on December 15th.
It was odd to think that I was getting married; especially to someone as special as Lisy was and especially so quickly. What made the event even stranger was that we were just completing a legal requirement of the state to recognize the union. Even stranger still, was the fact that in 48 hours my wife would be returning to her family in Guatemala for three months to plan and prepare for the next wedding. In three months I met a girl, fell in love, got engaged, married and now she was going to leave me for three and 1/2 months.
Admittedly, our engagement and marriage appeared to be irrational, unwise and destined to fail. Today I have to admit that the gap from the first wedding in August to the wedding we were going to recognize in December felt like an escape valve. Kind of like a 3 month buyer’s remorse clause in a car purchase agreement. If I had post wedding doubts I could still get out of it in the next few months. All I would have to do is not fly down to Guatemala in December. Instead of abandoning the bride at the alter, I could let her slip silently away 1500 miles away in another country.
If I am honest about the way I looked upon the gap between the ceremonies I would have to be honest to admit that there was also a chance that my wife execute the same escape valve. She very easily could have gotten back home in the safety of her family and friends and been convinced that it had all been a big mistake and that it needed to end. All she had to do was to place a call or write a letter and tell me she was sorry and to forget the whole thing. Was I really going to chase her down in a country I had never known?
Of course either escape never happened. I did get on that plane in December 1990 to go down to Guatemala and have the wedding that we would recognize for the rest of our lives as our real wedding. Lisy never called me up to tell me it was all a big mistake. Sure according to the State of Illinois and Cook County we were married on August 15, 1990, but in our eyes, the real marriage happened December 15, 1990.
20 years later we are still married happily with two great children. Not only did Lisy follow me from her homeland of Guatemala to the USA, but 17 years later she followed me again to another country – Netherlands. Who knows where she will follow me to next.