Hultner Estrada & Dave Stienstra
Las Peñitas Beach is a picturesque place. In this bay of tranquil waters, river currents meet the tides at the Padre Ramos Estuary, one of the wildlife parks in the department of León.
Very close to this beautiful place lives Jaime Pastor Orozco, a friendly local fisherman in his thirties, who is dedicated to the discipleship of youth in his costal neighborhood.
One day, while chating about the cultural differences between Anglo-Americans and Nicaraguans, Jaime Pastor made a comment that I have never forgotten. “North American youth, at 18 years old, are already looking for a way to leave the nest and live on their own. We Nicaraguans, at age 18, are looking for ways to bring a woman into our homes.”
Jaime Pastor’s commentary has made me think much about the reality of thousands of young couples that are living with their in-laws.
Why have so many of the young people who have married decided to live in the home of their in-laws?
The reasons are economic, but also cultural. They lack a stable income, earning less than $250 per month, and are unable to qualify for a home loan. Much less are they capable of paying the sizable down payment and associated fees. But they have not cut the “familial umbilical cord”, which would allow the young couple to establish their own home.
In our culture, a “good son” is a thankful son who remains close to his parents. As a result, abandoning the parents’ home is understood as a gesture of rejection towards those who raised him. In many cases, when a son or daughter leaves, it means one less income for the family budget, which is the reason that parents prefer to build an addition onto the house for the newlyweds; it is a strategy for protecting their mutual finances.
“After thirty years of marriage, I had never broken this umbilical cord!” shares Estanislao Ramírez, who, along with his wife, recently completed the marriage course Restoring the Original Model, offered by the Nehemiah Center in the city of Estelí.
“I had never thought about the commandment in the Bible that says, ‘For that reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,’ and that cord was still firmly attached for me,” Estanislao adds. His wife interrupts, “From the moment that he made some changes in the relationship with his
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family, our communication and relationship has improved enormously. In this way the course has helped us greatly.”
Cutting the familial umbilical cord is a challenge for young couples, but also for other couples who have years of independence. This is a challenging process if we consider that our culture gives a greater respect and regard for the mother or the father than your own spouse.
Fortunately, many Christians in Estelí and in the coastal area of Leon and other cities are embracing the biblical principles for a married life according to God’s design.
“Husbands love your wives … and the wife must respect her husband.”