Parents do not approve marriage -- not attending wedding


#1

Hi everybody,

I have a problem right now that I really feel is too private to share with someone other than my fiancé and his family, so I thought I would write it here and get some input.

**A bit of background **- I am 26 (Hispanic… that may actually be important in my story) and my fiancé is 28 years old (American). My fiancé and I have been dating for almost three years now and got engaged recently to be married this September. Before we started officially dating, my boyfriend asked my dad for permission to date me and he granted it to him. Afterwards, for some reason, my parents started getting really weird around me and around him to the point that they didn’t want me to spend time with him or didn’t want him to come over (I lived with my parents at the time). They told me that they didn’t like him and when I asked them why, they say that they “didn’t know”. They made me choose between them and my boyfriend and if I happened to choose the latter, I had to move out of the house. I chose to move out for many other reasons, not only that one, and two years passed without really talking to my parents, because they were verbally abusive even threatening to kill my boyfriend. Anyway, they started making up things about us (e.g. that we lived together, that I was going to get pregnant and that I paid for everything he had). Well, we are both virgins, we are old-fashioned (so we don’t live together) and no, I don’t pay for his stuff—he has a full-time job.

Two years passed and my boyfriend and I really wanted to get married, but we wanted the wounds with my parents to be healed before taking that next step. Well, I have reconciled with my parents for several months now and this past December I had told my parents that my boyfriend and I wanted to get married this summer. My dad said that we should probably wait a little longer, but that if we decided to get married this summer he would respect it. Well, we got engaged in March and asked for their blessing and they say that they wouldn’t give it, because we wanted to get married in September. They wanted us to wait a year or so more so they could get to know my fiancé. They say they can’t approve the marriage if they don’t know the person whom I’m marrying. I can totally understand this point, but at the same time, we have delayed marriage and being together and starting a family (that we want so badly) because of them and their unjust behavior towards our relationship and now they want us to wait another year? They say that my fiancé and I don’t know each other well and they don’t have any evidence for that given the fact that we didn’t talk to them over two years. They also say that they don’t know his family (they live 1000 miles away from us), so they can’t approve because of that either. They already met his dad after we got engaged, but now they say they don’t like him either, because he has different “values” than my family. Now they are making up lies about how my fiancé didn’t really graduate from college ever and that he is lying to me and he doesn’t really love me and just manipulates me, etc. Not only they want me to wait to get married, but on top of that they think it is OK to slander my future husband and his family with no basis whatsoever.

The problem - We already have a priest, church, reception hall, invitations ordered and I even have a wedding dress that I bought without my mom, because she didn’t want to come with me. My parents’ names are not on the invitation, because they asked me not to put them. In short, they are not coming to the wedding… why? Because we wouldn’t wait until next year…(When they say “next year” doesn’t mean January or anything like that… it has to be in the summer of 2009) My dad has threatened me to cut me off from the family if I get married in September. I can understand not going to a wedding if you know the fiancé was abusive or had a criminal history of some sort, but none of that applies here. All of our friends and people who know us well as a couple are extremely happy that we are getting married…

We have both prayed so much about our vocation and we feel the call to marry each other. We just can’t wait to become husband and wife and become parents as well. This is exactly what my parents don’t understand and it is why we have made the decision to get married in September regardless of my parents’ position. I understand this is going to be painful even after the wedding, but I had to make a decision for my vocation—my future husband and my future family.

Any thoughts or advice as to how to make these next few months a bit more bearable? What would you do as a parent in this situation?


#2

If you have led the kind of life you report you should be praised not criticized. I praise God for your faithfulness to God and your chastity. Examine carefully and honestly with your priest to try to discern if there may be some other reason why your parents have responded in this way. If there are no real reasons and if your priest will perform the wedding go ahead and get married. You are both adults well past being forced to get anyone’s permission.

CDL


#3

If your parents do not have anything concrete (criminal history of fiance, etc.) and it is just them being silly (which really seems to be the case), then you are doing the right thing by moving ahead and getting married. Honestly, it sounds like your parents have a control problem and are trying to exercise it again. It’s probably best if you try to minimize contact with them until after the wedding. You have lots to keep you busy and are not responsible for your parents’ bad behavior.

Congratulations and best wishes to you and your fiance! :thumbsup:


#4

There are a lot of ways that advice will be coming you way here in a while. I just wanted to chime in, give my :twocents: and that is all.

First and foremost, congratulations to you and your future husband, this is a glorious time for the both of you, don’t let anyone ruin that. Which brings me to my next point.

While in a perfect world, this would all work out and your parents would be happy for you and supportive of you and you future plans, as you can tell, things do not always go that way. Now they may turn around and decide that they want the best for their daughter and they are going to trust that she is making the right decision for her. This is not their decision, it is not for them to decide who you marry. They can have an opinion, of course, we are all entitled to that, however, they cannot make that decision for you.

To me, it seems like you have a great relationship with your future husband and proceeding with the wedding and building your future family is what is the highest of priorities right now. Focus on that. When you get married, 3 become 1. You, your husband and God. That is all! Your parents, his parents, you brothers, sisters, friends, none of them are a part of that union that the two of you have become through the sacrament of matrimony. While it may be sad that your parents have chose to not be a part of it, you have to focus on your future with your husband and not let them bring you down.

I know this from experience. As a future husband, my future in-laws were in the midst of a divorce/annulment and while my wife’s father had given me his blessing, my future MIL (mother in law) was not very happy to lose her first daughter to a happy marriage. DW was living at home at the time. There was jealousy and resentment, figthing and arguing, even a time that the priest was contacted to tell him that she (MIL) did not think that we were ready for marriage. Mind you, things have greatly improved since that time, but there were struggles. We got to the point that we knew that this was what we wanted and where God wanted us to be. As we look back with our 4 beautiful children, all the struggles were worth it. We knew like no one else did that we were meant to be together, to get each other to heaven and that God has brought us together for a reason. Forsaking all others, just the two of us joined with God in marriage. For better or worse.

I trust that the two of you will be stronger because of this. Take your parent’s doubts and struggles before the Lord in adoration. Offer up prayers and even fasting for them that they would come to see and love in your future husband, what you see and love in him.

God bless both of you. Stay strong.


#5

Examine carefully and honestly with your priest to try to discern if there may be some other reason why your parents have responded in this way.

This is very important and this is why I did it right away after we started dating and the problems started to arise. We have already done this with my former parish priest who knew my parents and has known me for over 9 years and he pretty much said: get married regardless of what they say.


#6

You say your fiance is American, is this to mean he is Anglo? And if so, do you think this could be the underlying problem with your parents?

You have been with this man going on 3 years, that should be time enough to know him, but yet this still does not assuage your parent’s hostility, and that makes me wonder.


#7

Yes, he is American in the sense he was born and raised in the U.S. I was born and raised in South America, but have been living here for almost 10 years now… their claim is that my fiance’s values and mine are way different, because (supposedly) Americans are more liberal than South Americans (not true–there is more secularism in South A.)… If we would have such different values, why would we be getting married to begin with?


#8

Well there’s always that part of me that would take my parents’ concern seriously, and do some extra discerning about the call to marriage…but the above statement really struck me. The reason they haven’t been able to get to know him better is because 2 years ago, they declared him not worth getting to know (or something to that effect). The amount of time you’ve been together is plenty for them to have gotten to know him, and from what you say, it sounds like you would’ve given them that chance, but they made you choose between him and them. So it is really impossible for me to take that concern seriously. Plus, it sounds like they are stalling and making up excuses - I wouldn’t be surprised if they are just set on you not marrying him for whatever reason, and no matter how much time you have, they’ll never change their mind. Whether that reason is a fair one or not, I could never judge based on just an internet post, but to me it sounds like you priest gave you good advice - your parents (based only on what I’m reading in your post) don’t seem to be giving you reason to trust their advice here, and you are well into adulthood, so it doesn’t seem that their arbitrary disapproval should hinder your wedding.


#9

I can totally understand where you are coming from. My parents were very unhappy over me marrying my fiance. My mother didn’t even come, and in retrospect, I wish my dad hadn’t come, because he sat there the whole time with a sour look on his face and said some very unpleasant things - on my WEDDING DAY. You are better off ignoring them and turning your special day into a day to remember. Don’t do as I did and try really hard to pacify your parents - they have a problem with control, but it is THEIR problem not yours.
Now a long time later, my parents love my husband and think he is wonderful, but I wish I’d stood up to them more during my engagement. It would have been much easier on me and wouldn’t have been so traumatic.


#10

Assuming you are both of the same religion, and share similar attitudes towards money, housekeeping, and children, I don’t see what the problem would be. It seems like their reactions are based on prejudice. Why did they go to the USA, if they don’t like Americans? (And who did they expect you to marry, now that you’re there?)

Yes, there are differences in culture, but you’ve been with this man for two years, and you’ve probably worked out the details around family celebrations such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.


#11

I dunno m’am. I can see your parents inital concern. There were legitmate issues in the beginning, and I can understand how they wanted to know y’alls ideas for addressing them. They asked you to put this off till they could get to know him better, and so could you.

You have done that. I don’t know what else you can do to pacify them. You are in a tough spot, and facing the possiblity of losing your parents or your fiance. It is not fair to place you in such situation. It will be a lose, lose scenario for almost everyone involved.


#12

I think most of the posters have hit the nail on the head…

It seems to me that your parents have not properly voiced their concerns and given you a concrete reason not to marry, nor have they given you and advice to think about…

Now they are stalling again…


#13

I guess it depends on how much you feel you can trust your parent’s hesitations.

If my parents acted this way about a bf, I would probably become very cautious.

Then again, it sounds as if you have reason to suspect your parents and not the bf. If you are confident in this, then by all means you need to make sure your bf is on the same page and both of you should present a solid front to them.

I feel for you about the lies. My inlaws did that for awhile and it can be hurtful. I found the best thing is not to even argue about it. Perhaps they are trying to bait you. I think that was my situation.


#14

Hi Augustinian–congrats to you and your fiance!

I do agree with your priest. I don’t think that the timeline is what is truly ailing your parents. Perhaps, they are afraid of losing you to your husband…and that is their own fear, nothing that you could ever do to change that–even if you changed who you were marrying, they probably would feel that way. But, that might not be the case, and maybe they see something that they truly don’t like, and they are using the timeline as an excuse.

Either way, it will be sad to not have your parents at one of the most beautiful and blessed days of your life. I went through a nearly identical thing, where my sister (my parents are deceased) did not think I should get married so young (I was 22), I shouldn’t marry a man 10 yrs older than me, etc…etc…I got the sense that she wouldn’t attend, and so my dh and I eloped, and years later had our marriage blessed by the RCC. I applaud your courage for not buckling under their pressure, because I wish I had gone through with the wedding plans we had planned–we even went through precana classes.:frowning: But, over the years my sister has grown to be a great ‘fan’ of my husband’s…and they both get along beautifully. So, people change. I am leaning towards the fact that they’re fearful of losing you…maybe if you discuss that with them, you might get to the heart of the matter. I wish you a blessed future, and I pray your wedding goes smoothly.:slight_smile:


#15

Wow! Marry that man!

It’s not like you are a baby, you are a 26 year old woman! Virgin! You and your boyfriend have really, really discerned the call to Matrimony!

I guess that is is possible that your mom and dad now regret having left your life for two years and not got to know your boyfriend…but really, to put your marriage on hold just because of that.

I would definitely heed your priest’s advice…get married regardless of what they say…sounds like great advice. :thumbsup:

Congratulations!


#16

Smartest thing my dad ever said to me, when I announced at the tender age of twenty that I was getting married–
“I guess if you’re not mature enough to buck your parents on something like this, you’re not mature enough to get married.” :wink:
And he was right. Thankfully it was purely hypothetical in my case, since I didn’t have to “buck” anybody (excepting some pressure from my mom who wanted me to put it off two or three years, graduate, work for a few years, etc… No way!)

Seriously-- I think the advice you’ve gotten here is quite sound. You’re a grown up, you’ve made a thoughtful decision. End of story. Go ahead as planned and don’t apologize. Put the ball squarely back in your parents’ court-- they can go, or not go, to their daughter’s wedding.

Good luck, and kudos to you and your df for persevering in chastity.

Margaret


#17

Do you have any siblings? What do they think? If your priest says he thinks your spouse to be is okay and things are as you say they are, then you are right to go ahead and marry. Something tells me they will come around when the grandchildren start coming along.

I’d keep trying to include mom and dad in dinners with fiance and getting them to the point they can come to the wedding and pretend to be happy.

For them to step out of the way for 2 years and now realize the train left the station without them and want the train to stop is not fair.

Have you all gone to church together? Have they seen what a prayerful man fiance is? What has HE done to convince them he is worthy of their daughter?

It isn’t too late for everyone to just decide to “fake it till you make it.”


#18

Maybe for your own peace of mind it might be helpful to seek some counseling, so you can understand the family dynamic and how to respond in a faithful, virtuous way. You are a grown up, though, and need to follow what your Heavenly Father calls you to do. Our families do not equal God.

Engagements and weddings have a way of making family issues come to a head. I had a lot of trouble surrounding my marriage too. This was because of a long history of distrust between my parents and me. I never felt safe sharing my life with them, and so I withheld everything. (Our personalities and way of thinking are hugely different, plus there was some violence in my house growing up, which really shut me down.) When my DH asked them for permission, they said yes, but weren’t happy. I cried and cried over my engagement because they were so unsupportive. But I knew that God brought DH into my life, and that this was right. Eventually my parents turned around. They were very happy during the wedding and are very loving toward my hubby. I only wish that I had been farther along in the healing process to be firm and at peace, and able to forgive more quickly.

Hope that helps.


#19

you are 26, why are your parents calling the shots, and why would you even, if you are mature enough to get married, even be influenced anymore by emotional blackmail, abuse and threats? healing cannot be unitlateral, altho forgiveness can. forgive and move on with your life, as long as your choices and actions are otherwise moral and in your best interests spiritually and every other way.

yes, I know about Hispanic family values, but that cannot be used as an excuse to justify what you describe as abuse. in my admittedly limited (10 yrs exp. here working with largely families of Mexican heritage) describing wrong behavior as somehow inevitable to a certain ethnic group is a mistake and an untruth.


#20

Sounds like good advice to me.

CDL


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