Marital status in the D.R.

According to a recent article in DR1 31.4% of the Dominican population "lives together", 18.5% of the population is married (by law or by the Catholic church), 1.5% is divorced, 5.2% is widowed,12% are separated, and 31.4% are single.  The statistics show that 2,155,144 people are living as couples without being married and that the percentage of married couples has declined since 2005 (20.9% were married and 30.6% were living together).

“Living together” here is a little different than in the states, in that most everyone refers to the couple as husband and wife not just boyfriend and girlfriend or partners. Also, typically a couple only moves in together once they are planning to stay together forever, they’re not just trying things out to see if one day they’ll “get married for real”. This raises a lot of questions for Christians here in the barrio though. Being in a poor area where roughly only 20% of all couples have been married by the law, it’s sometimes hard to know what’s right and wrong. Some think all Christians must get married by the law or else they have fallen into sin, while others feel certain that they should be devoted to one person their entire life and don’t understand the big fuss about getting married by the law. What do you think the most biblical thing is to do?


A little too late

"El Dominicano no compra candado hasta que le roban".
”A Dominican doesn’t buy a lock until after they’ve been robbed”.

This very common Dominican expression is a good description of me and my neighbors. It wasn’t until our water pump was stolen last Friday night that we decided we should buy a lock and put it in a more secure spot. Fortunately, three days after our loss, we purchased a new water pump for a good price and our friend The Welder made an almost thief proof place to store it!


The New Man of the House

It was heartbreaking listening to Idekel yesterday share about how he stood up to his mom’s boyfriend and kicked him out of their house. The boyfriend had been defiantly unfaithful to Idekel’s mom, was no longer helping pay for all the food, and was fighting with everyone in the house. His mom had only stayed with him so long because she couldn’t provide for her family on her own, but Idekel let her know he would support her and his three siblings. The very next day he started working full time.
It’s so hard watching a fifteen year old take on these types of responsibilities and part of me wants to rescue him from this situation. Yet thanks to good books like When Helping DSC_0192 Hurts by Corbett & Fikkert I’m reminded that my good intentions of giving out handouts or trying to take Idekel out of the situation could actually do more harm than good. So what should I do? I’m not exactly sure, I haven’t finished the book yet (hahaha), but I do know that being in a relationship with the whole family is very important. I’m praying for wisdom as to how I can best help the entire family long term, that God will give Idekel strength through this tough time and use it to make him stronger in the Lord, and that God would become more real to each family member as they learn to depend on Him more.