Help. my sister's getting married


#1

My sister surprised the family by saying that she’s getting married within a year to a longtime male friend whom she previously denied having any relationship to. She wouldn’e even tell my Mom about it. This disappointed my mom to say the least.

Problem is that she now shares the same apartment with this friend. She was very secretive and at first didn’t mention whom she started sharing her new apartment with starting about two months. Later, she mentioned that it was her male friend but she denied that she had any serious relationship with him. Then last week she tells us she’s getting married.

My mom is disappointed in my sister. But she prefers to be hands-off on my sister at this point because of how my sister reportedly answered my Mom when she started asking about her relatioship to the guy last year. Now, I’m not sure what to tell my sister who isn’t a practicing Catholic. Neither is my mom or dad for that matter.

What advice can I give my sister? What can she read so that she can prepare for her seemingly inevitable marriage? She lives in a different state and my Mom and the rest of the family reside in a different country. I don’t know if she’s still living chastely. She doesn’t go to mass and definitely has no spiritual advisor. I’m not sure if she wants one even. I hope she can enter the sacrament of marriage for the right reasons and in the right state. Mom doesnt like the guy so much…doesn’t think he’s honest. I hardly know him at all…never once spoke to him eye to eye but he seemed rude when our paths crossed years ago and even(barely)on the phone. Mom thinks that my sis is in love with him but she worries that the guy isn’t as in love with her…that it’s the man’s family who likes my sister more. I don’t know.

Any suggestions on how I can approach this topic with my sister and advice her on how to prepare without intruding too much on her “privacy?” In the recent past, she has told fmaily members of how she would rather keep her life private and she would get angry if we intruded. So we fear doing something to make her avoid us.


#2

TELL HER: Congratulations!

TELL HER: You’ll be there for her.

ASK HER: What you can do to help.

Above all, listen to her.

Repeat after me, “No unsolicited advice.”

If you choose to remind her she’s “living in sin”, here’s what she’s NOT going to say:

“Oh, my goodness, Ben, I had no idea that was wrong. I’ll ask him to move out right away!”

Listen, listen, listen.

If you do all that, you’re gaining a brother. If not, you’re losing a sister. Trust me.

Good luck,

John


#3

It seems the previous poster would smile and cheer while his own sister happily parades into Hell. How can you condone such behavior? All to keep peace in the family? Jesus said that He comes to bring division, not peace. And if you do just sit back and pat Sis on the back, hoping not to “offend” her, it’s only a false peace anyway.

Now I’m not saying you need to call her up and argue with her, but definitely PRAY for her. And if you do talk to her, tell her lovingly what your concerns are. See if you can find some marriage prep materials that explain what the dangers of living together are, for the marriage. If you go from the perspective that living together beforehand is bad for the marriage, she’s probably more likely to listen than if you told her “it’s against Church teaching.”

At the end of the day, at least she is getting married and not just living with him indefinitely as is the trend these days. I’ll say a Hail Mary for her right now.


#4

Do you know his name? Can you do a background check on him? He does sound like a shady character but your sister is a grown woman and if she decides to marry him, there’s not much you can do.


#5

Somehow, between the first two posts of do nothing/back off/pretend happiness for a troubling situation and assuming Hell is anywhere in your sister’s future or is anything any of us are anywhere near qualified to judge…I think there might be a middle ground.

I would find it disturbing that your sister is so secretive, even deceptive and seemingly insecure, maybe embarassed about her living arrangements and life choices. She seems quite immature and ill-equipped to be taking on the life-long commitment of marriage and introducing a new member into your family.

Perhap the best thing to do would be to call her, ask her a few questions about her plans and L I S T E N. For all you know she may have gotten herself into a situation with which even she is uncomfortable and unsure about, yet doesn’t know either how to extricate herself or save face. Be gentle, not condemning. IF she asks for advice, I would at least offer that as an adult preparing for marriage she needs to be more open and honest with the family and own up to her choices–like living with her fiance before the wedding. Help her also see that disapproval from your mother is likely concern for her welfare as well as discomfort with how little all of you know about this young man (coupled with alarms that naturally go off in parents when they feel they are being misled). Encourage her to include your mother (and other family) in plans for the wedding. If they do go through with it, you all want to know this young man better. These are at least some common sense steps that have nothing to do with her being/not being Catholic that might help her start to see that this marriage is not getting off on the best foot.


#6

great answer!! always remember… God saves us by Grace and not by our works so be there for your sister as this is the most important time in her life right now…


#7

Hi Catholic Sam,

That’s exactly what I’m wondering about. What " marriage prep" materials I could send her so that she could at least be better informed tomake choices on her own. I don’t believe that our family had a good spiritual foundation growing up although we did go to Catholic school

Ben

PS. Thanks for all the replies. I’ll be back soon.


#8

Check out the review of this marriage prep book in this thread: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=129540


#9

There are plenty, I’m sure, but it is not your place to criticize her choices unless and until she asks your opinion on whether or not she was in the right to hide her relationship to her fiance while they were roommates. She is not Catholic, and she is not your underage daughter; she is her own person and deserves your respect for her ability to make her own decisions in life, whether or not you agree with them or think she’s ‘informed enough’. She and her fiance have made their choice to marry, and that’s a private decision that does not require consultation with one’s entire family.

John Higgins and Island Oak both offered extremely good advice – particularly John.


#10

First of all, if your ultimate goal sounds like it is to bring your sister back to the Catholic Church…I would say that the first order of business would be to work on a more close and loving relationship with her.

Not sure how close you two are…I am just judging from your post that you are (sadly) not very close. It sounds like most of the information you get about her is heresay from your mother, she lives in another state, and that she is not close enough to your family to even tell you she is seriously dating someone.

Try and build the relationship while modeling good Christian behavior yourself. Let her see how happy and content you are and mention frequently your prayer life. Remember that people were DRAWN to Christ when he was on earth…he did not have to pass out literature or try and solicit people. Now I know this is not the same situation, but above all I beleive we are supposed to draw people back to the Church with our LOVE. Hope this helps. Take care.


#11

thanks for your advice but you have some things wrong. She is Catholic…just not practicing. You’re also presupossing that we don’t respect her decisions and that I think of her as an “underage daughter.” I’m just concerned for her entering the sacrament of marriage in a state of grace. So thanks but no thanks for the tone of your reply.


#12

Thanks Monicad. i think you gave sound advice


#13

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