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My heart hurts every time I hear my friends, neighbors, etc. tell me that their parents still don’t approve of their spouse. It’s hard to listen to them tell me things like, “They think he isn’t good enough for me” or “They tried to break us up.” These kinds of family situations frustrate me primarily because HELLO PARENTS, IT’S AFTER-THE-FACT! THEY HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR YEARS NOW, SO PUT ASIDE YOUR OWN FEELINGS AND SUPPORT THEM INSTEAD OF DISCOURAGE THEM!

I get that parents have doubts about their new son-in-law or daughter-in-law. Sometimes there are very valid doubts, however, for the most part I think parents with doubts tend to focus on petty things. For example, they would rather have their future SIL (son-in-law) be a wealthy doctor, or their future DIL (daughter-in-law) come from a good family.  For years, parents envisioned a specific person their son or daughter would marry one day, and I think very rarely does it end up being the exact person they expected. The disappointment can be hard to handle for some parents…

Some People’s Parents

Some parents are really good about taking a step back, seeing things from their son or daughter’s perspective, which helps them accept this new person. And then there are parents who still think they know what is best for their son or daughter (even though they are fully-grown, mature, and very capable of making their own adult decisions). Sadly, their disapproval and discouragement negatively influence that relationship.

I wish I could say the transition for us into our families was smooth sailing, but it wasn’t. There were times where we went months without talking to the family members and days where I felt low on my self-worth. All of us are passed it now, we are happy to say. And though I think discouragement about your son or daughter’s spousal choice can cause unnecessary drama, in our case it has helped us better focus on each other’s good qualities :)

I actually don’t think there are many couples who can say they haven’t had any struggles with their parents or in-laws after getting married! For those families who don’t get passed the struggles, though, EVEN YEARS LATER, it can be a huge detriment to all their current family relationships, and even the future ones with grandchildren. Not only that but it can be detrimental to their son or daughter’s marital happiness, as well. Again, I get it if there are valid doubts pertaining to their son or daughter’s safety and security. But the only other way I can see their side of it is if these disapproving parents truly aren’t aware of the harm they are doing.

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How I SUGGEST HANDLING IT

If you are a disapproving parent of your son or daughter’s choice in their spouse, and you have petty reasons for it, then shame on you. Yep, I totally said it. No one is going to be perfect and you need to accept it. You might be causing your son or daughter marital problems, because they feel a tug of war constantly between you and their spouse. It’s not worth all the tugging because NEWSFLASH: probably 90% of the time they will side with their husband or wife, not you!

Get this figured out on your own doing or through a professional before these important family relationships feel irreparable. Make efforts to spend time one-on-one with your new SIL or DIL, trying to clear up some of your doubts by getting to know them better. If you can’t get over the doubts you have, then at the very least your SIL or DIL deserves respect. I guarantee you that there are qualities you have they don’t like, too, so wouldn’t you want them to still treat you respectfully?! #goldenrule people!

If you are a son or daughter, SIL or DIL, and your parents disapprove of your spouse, then I suggest giving them time to adjust. Sometimes their discouragement is an outward behavior for some other feeling they are having like dealing with the change of their child leaving the nest! So respect how they might be feeling in this transition. Also, parents are still getting to know their SIL or DIL long after the wedding is over so their feelings might subside when time has helped them see their judgments were wrong. If sufficient time has passed and nothing has changed or gotten worse, I think you should address the issue to clear anything up or at the very least, ask for more respect shown. Don’t let your parents interfere with all the potential happiness your marriage has!


For This cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;

and they shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

what therefore god hath joined together, let no man put asunder.

mark 10: 7-9

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For both parties who need a better understanding religiously, remember this scripture above. This is a great way of saying: Your son or daughter was meant to leave you to be with their spouse and to be united as one. And God doesn’t want you to divide this marriage.


When an adult gets married, the relationship with their parent has to change. Parents need to understand they have less of a hand in their son or daughter’s decision-making now. Parents may not agree with all of the decisions their children make, and they aren’t expected to. However, both parents and children should still treat each other with respect. :)

 

Keepin' marriage fresh,
Amy

6 Comments

  • Several months after I separated from my husband I started seeing someone that I have been work friends with (JUST friends) for 12 years. A few months later my parents suspected I was and approached me with a 9 page letter. A little back story- my ex wouldn’t move out of out home so I took our 1 year daughter and moved in with my parents for 9 months. So I’m presented with a 9 page letter about their disapproval with my actions and how I’m having an affair and going against God and the Bible and everything I’ve been taught to believe. And this relationship is a mistake, where could it possibly go, he lives hours away, is 14 years older, has an adult child. They even went as far as to call him a piraña, saying he was probably preying on my vulnerable state post split and taking advantage of me. They even said how do see holidays with our family and this man? Only 6 months in at that point and not even in love with him I didn’t see anything beyond us just dating and figuring it out. Fast forward, he met my daughter after 10 months of dating and they are best buddies and he is absolutely the best sudo dad. We love each other very much and this relationship is stronger with deeper connections than any I’ve ever had. We’ve been together 21 months and our life together is amazing. Due to custody I cannot move (yet) but we work together so we see each other almost weekly and have 4 days together with my daughter every month. She and I have met his his whole family, extended, and friends. My parents still won’t meet him, they don’t speak about him, don’t want to know anything. They even dropped off my Mother’s Day present they helped my daughter with then called my and asked to speak to her (she’s 3) to tell her my gift was outside. My middle brother got married during COVID so no one was able to be there. My parents are having a big party at their home in September. My little brother gets a plus 1 and he doesn’t even have a girlfriend but my invite is just me and my daughter. They have gone as far as to tell me they didn’t want him coming to see us in our town til I was divorced 6 months, didn’t want me telling anyone about it, and that I am NOT to post pictures on social media. I’m almost 36 years old, a mother, with a fabulous career. I just navigated a lengthy, awful divorce completely alone. Moved me and my daughter on my own. Have worked my way out of the divorce debt alone. They help with my daughter maximum 1 day a week and they are absolutely her favorite people. I don’t ever want her to loose them, they’re probably her favorite people. But I also won’t have them put a strain on he and I. It hasn’t yet thank god. But the longer it continues like this the worse it will be. He can’t come to her birthday party in August, he can’t be my date for my brothers wedding reception, he pry won’t be at her first dance recital this fall. We may have to do Christmas via FaceTime again.

  • I have a fiance and we have courted for more than a year now and we planned on getting married in April next year but unfortunately his father and elder sister still thinks its too early for us to get married and insisted that we should court some more. Like seriously I am so confused right now

    • This is so tough to go through, yet so many couples find themselves in the same situation; feeling pressure from family members who question a couples’ timeline. It’s not for them to decide, though. It’s for you and your significant other to decide what is, and when is best for you. That’s something unfortunately, that many family members don’t understand, and instead they choose to inflict their own opinions (and a lot of times their own fears) believing they are in the right.

  • Thanks for this refresher. As a mother in law that constantly interjects and knows what is best for my son, which is not to have his daughter in law in his life or ours, I feel you have hit the nail on the coffin. Constantly I interfer and tell him I will not accept her as the family and I continue to ignore and belittle her calling her terrible names and outcaste her like a black sheep to everyone I know. I have even screamed down her stairs in her home in front of my son: divorce her. I wont apologize for my actions because I know I am right for treating another human this way. I have chose to try to fully divide his marriage to hurt her especially. It hurts me he married her. I do not care that I have done wrong by God, who told me to let my son marry and treat him as the adult he is, accept and love others and the pastor that married them who told me to forever hold my peace and yet, I won’t change my ways. My own jealousy all along is fueled by the Devil’s will. I have probably hurt my son more than anyone.

    • I’m sorry you have such strong feelings against your daughter-in-law. I hope that you will consider the deeply-seeded feelings on why you feel this way towards her and get it worked out with a professional and possibly include her and your song so you can all move forward with better relations. Unfortunately, if you do continue behavior like this, even if you feel it’s warranted, you will most likely ruin your relationship with your son. That’s why in the article I do encourage everyone to check their thoughts and really figure out where the ill-feelings are coming from. Because i’m sure you don’t want to feel this way for the rest of your lives, and i’m sure they don’t either. good luck on your journey.

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