Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Rules of Engagement

Yesterday, my fiancé and I had a meeting with my soon-to-be step-daughter's lawyer. "When are you planning to marry?" she asked innocently enough. So I told her. "Next May after finals." After chewing the end of her pen for a beat, she offered, "Well why don't you just elope now? Honestly, the best thing to do would be to get married immediately and save yourselves all the hassle." I must have been a little stunned because she seemed to watch me for an eternity as I stared blankly back at her before she spoke again.
"Why are you waiting anyway? Oh, let me guess, it's your first marriage and you want the big church wedding, right?" she said cynically. "Trust me, in the end you'll end up spending so much money for a little piece of paper you'll wish you hadn't. Better to just go ahead and get it over with now – involve [step-daughter to-be] - and then have a big wedding next year when you want it."

Had she just referred to my impending vows as little more than a technicality? Was she equating my starting my life with M to nothing more than a signed document? In an instant she had whisked away all romantic notions and left me with little more than a legal strategy designed to best resolve the conflict regarding M's ex. She had also given M a better excuse to support his joking about us running off to some island and getting hitched. Now when M text messages me during the day asking me if I want to get married after work, I'll have to take his suggestions a little more seriously. (P.S. M: you don't really stand a chance!)

With all the media attention swirling on the value of the institution of marriage, the lawyer's comments did not come as that much of a surprise. For so many, marriage has lost it's appeal or relevance or value. Though her suggestions were well-intentioned, it was still a bit unsettling. But what struck me more than anything was a fear that my views on the world would too be forever reduced to that of legal technicalities and reasoning. Can law school really strip me of my values and romantic notions about life? Can the challenges of the curriculum and pressure of the Socratic method really challenge my faith and lead me to doubt?

Have you followed this blog long?! :) I wouldn't count on it! Even if I should become more argumentative, I'll still be me. And for the first time in my life I'm really OK with that.

As for the lawyer's advice, in the end I'll have to do what's right for me, M and my precious V. Needless to say, theres more than a piece of paper involved. Regardless of what others see.

I see... possibilities.

25 comments:

Ryan S. said...

Blessings to you are your fiance! May everything go smooth and according to plan.

Ryan S. said...

It's not surprising that most lawyers forget the moral dimension of the law, and they see marriage as nothing more than a legal status or trivial fiction.

Trust me! When you goto law school, as a budding conservative, you will learn to have contempt for a profession and discipline that reduces everything to sterile legalisms. Likewise, you will learn contempt for most lawyers.

Law school teaches nothing in the way of fundamentals and principles. All you learn about the Constitution is that the Constitution is whatever some sorry judge says it is. You need to have the principles well-imbued going into law school. A conservative pre-law curriculum from a conservative college is helpful and the next best alternative is reading books from the Liberty Fund, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and the Federalist Society reading list. Look 'em up!!

George Mason is a good law school. I wouldn't mind going there.

Blessings to you and your fiance as you prepare for marriage. The waiting time or courtship or whatever one might call it, can be a time for growth and preparation!

Ryan S. said...

It's not surprising that most lawyers forget the moral dimension of the law, and they see marriage as nothing more than a legal status or trivial fiction.

Trust me! When you goto law school, as a budding conservative, you will learn to have contempt for a profession and discipline that reduces everything to sterile legalisms. Likewise, you will learn contempt for most lawyers.

Law school teaches nothing in the way of fundamentals and principles. All you learn about the Constitution is that the Constitution is whatever some sorry judge says it is. You need to have the principles well-imbued going into law school. A conservative pre-law curriculum from a conservative college is helpful and the next best alternative is reading books from the Liberty Fund, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and the Federalist Society reading list. Look 'em up!!

George Mason is a good law school. I wouldn't mind going there.

Blessings to you and your fiance as you prepare for marriage. The waiting time or courtship or whatever one might call it, can be a time for growth and preparation!

pink letter law said...

NO! Law school WILL NOT strip you of anything that you do not allow it to :) I passed through it and came out unscathed, and as full of innocence, romantic notions, moral fiber and pure intention as I have ever been. In fact it was a reminder to be ever vigilant of anything that tries to remove the Me from Me...does this make any sense? it was not even difficult to remain whole either. I just was myself, participating in law school :)

Godzheart said...

God Bless you as you start another chapter of your life.

audrey` said...

Just flow with your heart, Nan :)

Abundant blessings and love to you and M.
We're so happy for you =D

Corry said...

I can't know, but I guess that lawyer has been very disappointed in her own life otherwise she would not have been that sarcastic about marriage.

You do what you know is right, girl. Even if it's not always easy and others think differently about it. It's what God thinks about it:-)

BTW, I think you would make a fine lawyer!

Have a blessed weekend, dear Nan.

God's Grace.

Damian said...

I had a good wedding and I spent alot for it and I did not regret it one bit, I wanted it to be nice and one that we both would love and remember. Make the sacrifice and do it your way - that's my take on it. I did it and my advice is to do it the way you want or else when you go to other weddings you will wish you had. God will work it out cause we didn't have enough money and we didn't know where it was coming from but God took care of it and we have no debts to pay back. I will pray for you.

forgiven said...

Hi Nan

Standing for what the Lord would want ,is so cool. The Lord will bless the marriage more than a non-beleive could ever know . Thats why they think the way that they do. You are going to be so blessed.

Law school ..if thats what you are going to do , the Lord will use that for His glory .
Just kept praying and walk with Him and your life will show it.

pink letter law said...

Congratulations for sticking to your guns and not eloping or guing the way of the town hall! I, too am insisting upon a real wedding, (not engaged yet but waiting ever so patiently because I know it will happen). It is wonderful that some of us, myself included still feel that it is important to gather friends and family and exchange vows with God as a witness to celebrate and announce the depth of commitment that you have for each other.
It is sometimes hard to express to others who question me why I want to be engaged and have a real wedding exactly why it is so very important because they have already reduced marriage in their mind to something that could be defined by a piece of paper. That attitude could be why so many marriages these days fail! Best of luck planning a wonderful celebration of the love that you and M share and know that there are others of us out there who believe in love that lasts a lifetime, for better or for worse :)

Nunzia said...

thank you, you guys. your insights and encouragement are always invaluable to me!

p.s. ryan: one of those places you mentioned in your comment was the 1st place I ever interned at in Washington D.C.! I work for one that is even more well known than any of those you listed to (but I cant say which lol) so... I hopefully will not be forgetting what I've had ingrained in my mind for years!

so... i'm guessing no one here recommends eloping? LOL

just kidding! :)

God's Grace <3

McSwain said...

Weddings should be a time when your community of family and friends come together with you to recognize and support you as you become a family, and to promise to support you in your life together. Marriage goes so far beyond a peace of paper! Good for you for recognizing that. Becoming a lawyer might make you see some things differently--heck, life experience does that no matter what path you take. But you will always be you, and if you continue to place your trust in God, that you will be the woman He'd have you be.

Tim Rice said...

While the advice your lawyer gave does not totally surprize me, I think it would throw me off the loop for at least a moment, too, just to hear that suggestion made. Stand firm to your core beliefs. You won't regret it.

Pia said...

nan, no matter what, marriage is not just a piece of paper. it's a commitment. follow what God tells you to do. and i'm sure you'll be a good lawyer. take care, sis.

Kitty Cheng said...

Nan, the verses Proverbs 3:5-6 keep coming to my mind as I read your post. May you be blessed as you follow the Lord in all that you do! You are in my prayers.

Nightcrawler said...

I agree with Ryan... Lawyers just look at the legal side of things, they tend to detach themselves from many "moral" thoughts unless they think it'll sway a judge or a jury.

My advice... do it the way that feels right for YOU. Do it right the first time and you don't have to worry about a second.

Jen said...

It is more than a piece of paper. It's an awesome symbol of Christ and the Church. I pray God's blessings on your future marriage.

Flex J! said...

Greetings Nan!

Blessings on the new path you're planning!

Just always put Jesus in-between the relationship and it'll be a great one!

:)

Libbet said...

IF it'll solve the custody battle, I'd say go with getting the piece of paper, and do the religious stuff later. Historically, the two aren't particularly connected. That's why you have to get a marriage liscence for a church wedding to be legally binding.

But then, I appear to be the only athiest who still (occasionally) reads this, so I don't expect that opinion to be popular.

Nunzia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nunzia said...

sorry... typo in my last comment so i'm trying again...

Libb, your comments are always welcome here. I really don't want you to feel alienated and I'm really glad that you commented. Honestly, I can see the arguments on both sides, but in the end it has to be the right choice for everyone involved.

I don't think it would be any less of a marriage if it didn't take place in a church but I want it to all be at the right time and I guess I'm a bit of a girly-girl in that I really want a nice wedding and to be able to celebrate with my family and friends without feeling that it's all pretend (because I'll have already been married a year). I dunno.

Godwyn Lim said...

Hey Sister Nan,

I haven't been actively blogging or surfing for the past few weeks as well, was busy & just fell really sick...I am down with gastric flu & ulcers in the throat that boils me down with fever & pain...

Yet, I know I am healed in Jesus name, not trying to be...manage to wrote a new entry just on my blog after a long fiasco...pray for me the Devil is trying to deceive me with the pain...

Thank you for your concern, really appreciate your thoughts!

May the Lord keep you & bless you!

Tänia said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog today!

All that matters in the end is what made you happy. My sweet hubby and I were married at the JP with two sets of parents that said we weren't ready, friends who said we were not meant to be together, a sis-in-law that said we were doomed from the start... but we were right where WE wanted to be... and we did things the way WE wanted... and we also know that WE included me, him and God. And that was really the glue that held everything in place. Now, 25 years later, we look back on our wedding and giggle because we knew something that so many did not. And we did not let anyone or anything hinder us because we knew what was right.

That's what holds you together and makes that piece of paper a sacred document that is a testament of a joining of two hearts that become one before God.

If you want the big church wedding, GO FOR IT! If you want to have a civil ceremony... then DO IT! And one day, what this lawyer had to say will be the giggle you both share. :)

Ryan S. said...

"I work for one that is even more well known than any of those you listed to (but I cant say which lol)"

In other words, you worked either for the Heritage Foundation? Why didn't you just say so? ;-)

That reminds me: what's the difference between a flounder and a lawyer? One is a bottom-dwelling scum-sucking scavenger, and the other is a fish.

The first thing I learned to do when aspiring to law is HATE those other lying, thieving good for nothing trial lawyers. You should hate 'em too. Besides, hating the rest of those sorry son-of-guns would give you an edge right? ;-)



Disclaimer: Not much of what I ever say need be taken seriously.

audrey` said...

Hi Nan
All the very best to your sis.
God is in control.
In God we trust :)