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.
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
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. :)