With These Papers, I Thee Wed

At first, I really didn’t understand why Billy told me about his immigration situation so early in our relationship. I knew being undocumented was not the ideal way to be working in the U.S., but since I also assumed he could adjust his status with a little bit of attention to detail and form filling-out, I really didn’t see how it involved me in any way.

But I could tell by the way Billy kept bringing it up, that there was a message I was not receiving.

One evening he finally explained it to me in words I could understand: “The only possible option for me to get legal status in the States is to marry a US citizen.”

Oh. Now I get it.

Is it awkward to talk about the legal ramifications of your potential future marriage when you’ve been dating for about two months? Yes.

But Billy wanted me to understand the implications up front. He assured me over and over that he was not dating me “for papers,” or legalized status. He was quick to inform me that if I believed that’s why he was interested in me that we should immediately stop seeing each other.

My husband is very emotional, so while he’s practically breaking up with me, I’m still processing all the information he’s sharing. Of course I don’t think that’s why you’re dating me… I didn’t even know a social security card was a dynamic in our relationship until about five minutes ago.

He warned me that other people might try to tell me that he was only in our relationship for the papers. He wanted me to move forward soberly, knowing that I could handle potential accusations that might come our way. I felt like I was being prepped for battle, but I didn’t even know who was fighting.

Did I ever wonder about Billy’s motives?

Maybe. But I don’t think it was any different than how anyone analyzes a serious relationship. Does he really love me? Is he as into me and as I am into him? Will this work out? Will he stay committed in the long run? Everything I was learning about Billy told me yes to these questions.

I prayed a lot about our relationship as it became more serious, and God gave me such deep and joyful peace about Billy. (Later I would flip out about marriage itself, but I always felt peace about Billy.)

Now I recognize how grateful I am that he was open from the very beginning. I don’t know how our relationship would’ve been affected if I had learned about our situation from a third party or another source. He trusted me with the delicate details, and I am glad that he prepared me. Immigration would turn out to be ever present in our dating and marriage experience, sometimes in the most unexpected ways.

Oh, but first, I need to tell you how Billy came to the US in the first place.

Next time…

If you want to read more of our story, you can begin with How I Met My Husband or check out the post where he first told me he was undocumented. You can also continue in the series to find out How My Husband Came to the States.


  1. I don't even think I, the sister in law, know how Billy came to the US in the first place!

  2. What a crazy conversation that must have been! Talking about marriage is already a huge and sometimes complicated conversation in serious relationships, but then you guys had the added dynamic of immigration status! Wow! Can't wait for the next installment. :)


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