Should I encourage niece to Marry?


#1

**** I will be attending an event this weekend where I will see my 18 year old niece.
My niece left home to move in with a 23 year old boyfriend.

At a previous event two months ago, I sat down with my niece and her father and he mentioned that my niece has not been coming home at night. It was revealed that she was sleeping over her boyfriend's house(sleeping with the BF). I told her that this was not a good situation for her and asked her if the boy loved her. Of course, she replied yes. I told her that this is something only married people should do and did she think she would be willing to marry the boy. She said yes. I asked her if the boy would marry her. She said yes. The conversation ended there because it was a busy event that I was hosting. I haven't had a chance to speak with her since. I have spoken to her father and when the situation continued, I advised him to tell her to either to come home at night or find some place else to live. So she left.

I still want to help my niece make the right decisions, She is a simple person and in that I mean not very savy or ambitious. Though she was raised Catholic, I don't think she understands even the most basic tenents of the Faith. Being raised in a house with little parental interest in forming her spiritually, she also has a poor moral foundation. I'm her Godmother and I want to help her. I pray for her and am doing a penance for her.
My gut tells me that a simple young lady like her would probably be very happy in a marriage to this simple young man but only in the Faith. Should I encourage her to see a priest with the intention to marry in the Church?


#2

18 is a very difficult age because if she has the guts to live with her boyfriend, chances are she won't listen. And unfortunately she is now an adult and doesn't have to.

I know it is too late but her formative years where the time to teach and since this has been lost, the only hope of her coming back to the faith is to have enough blows in life to have motivation to come back.

I would not try to convince her. I would tell her where I stand on the issue and let her make her own decisions. I would also make it clear by actions and words that certain things will not be acceptable around you. IE if she visits you she can NOT sleep in the same room as him. If she has a fight she can not tell you about it becauses you will NOT try to help a sinful situation workout etc

CM


#3

[quote="cmscms, post:2, topic:211322"]
18 is a very difficult age because if she has the guts to live with her boyfriend, chances are she won't listen. And unfortunately she is now an adult and doesn't have to.

It did take a lot of guts for her to move in with her boyfriend,:hmmm: For such a passive young lady this is very out of character, at least for the girl I thought I knew. With this in mind, I can't just chalk this up to something she just fell into out of ignorance. She certainly is taking a very strong and rebelious stand against her father.

I would not try to convince her. I would tell her where I stand on the issue and let her make her own decisions. I would also make it clear by actions and words that certain things will not be acceptable around you. IE if she visits you she can NOT sleep in the same room as him. If she has a fight she can not tell you about it becauses you will NOT try to help a sinful situation workout etc

CM

[/quote]

I have already told her that NO ONE ( I have two unmarried sons) sleeps together in my home until they are married. She seemed a little surprised to hear that- and I was surprised that she was surprised. I thought she knew me better than that.
I will never give in to condoning her current situation.

I thank you for your insights.


#4

[quote="m_crane, post:1, topic:211322"]
**** I will be attending an event this weekend where I will see my 18 year old niece.
My niece left home to move in with a 23 year old boyfriend.

At a previous event two months ago, I sat down with my niece and her father and he mentioned that my niece has not been coming home at night. It was revealed that she was sleeping over her boyfriend's house(sleeping with the BF). I told her that this was not a good situation for her and asked her if the boy loved her. Of course, she replied yes. I told her that this is something only married people should do and did she think she would be willing to marry the boy. She said yes. I asked her if the boy would marry her. She said yes. The conversation ended there because it was a busy event that I was hosting. I haven't had a chance to speak with her since. I have spoken to her father and when the situation continued, I advised him to tell her to either to come home at night or find some place else to live. Perhaps this was a bit rash... I think that maybe her father should have delved further into what is really going on here before offering her those two options. Nothing says "Okay so I am moving in with my boyfriend now!" like being told those are the only choices. What was the father and daughter relationship like before this? Is this girl going to school? If she is in college, who is paying for it? Perhaps a reminder that she needs to abide by the rules in order to go to college would have done the trick before resorting to "my way of the highway?" :shrug: If she is as simple as you say, she may not have seen any other options but the obvious, or the easy one to her.So she left.

I still want to help my niece make the right decisions, She is a simple person and in that I mean not very savy or ambitious. Perhaps you could meet with her and just talk. See what is going on in her life that would cause her to think running away every night to stay at her boyfriends was a good choice to begin with. What was her home life like to begin with? Though she was raised Catholic, I don't think she understands even the most basic tenents of the Faith. Being raised in a house with little parental interest in forming her spiritually, she also has a poor moral foundation.It is not too late to "remind her" of what Catholics believe... As her Godmother you can still be a positive Catholic influence on her even if she never was told at home. It is not too late. I'm her Godmother and I want to help her. I pray for her and am doing a penance for her.
My gut tells me that a simple young lady like her would probably be very happy in a marriage to this simple young man but only in the Faith. Should I encourage her to see a priest with the intention to marry in the Church? I think this may be jumping the gun a bit. Have you met this young man? Do you know him at all? What does he want? And regardless of what they want to do down the road, what they are doing now is the problem. If you haven't already, please check out the chastity link at the top of the page and read some of what Jason Evert writes. Encourage your niece to read some it too because he has a way of speaking to young people that is clear, and easy to understand, but definitely Catholic.

May God bless you and guide you as you try to help your niece.

[/quote]


#5

I don't know if I would recommend marriage. I think I would need to know more about their relationship and how they interact with each other. Recommending marriage based on the fact that they live together may not be a wise choice because it may be a very immature relationship to begin with. I would continue to talk to her about pre-marital sex though and how damaging it can be to both her health and psyche. She may think she's mature enough to live with her boyfriend and be sexually active, but its all together different to be actually ready for marriage and all that it brings.


#6

Please don’t take this the wrong way. But she’s 18- you might not know her as well as you think. Not because you haven’t been paying attention but children and teenagers tend to know what is and is not acceptable behavior with their families.

I know my behavior changed almost overnight when I turned 18 and moved out of my parents house. The reason was because I understood while I was dependent on them I had to abide by their rules even if I disagreed with them. Once I was on my own…not so much. I had to find my own way and sometimes I learned things the hard way.

You’ve made it clear you don’t agree with her situation with her boyfriend nor do you agree with it. You’ve made it clear what the Church teaches. I’d be more subtle in your approach with her next. See if she’s willing to talk to you about the relationship- where does she think it is going? what does she want out of it? is she happy? are they worried they are too young? etc.

But I’d respect her privacy if she doesn’t want to talk about it. Pushing her isn’t going to work, that was the point she made by moving out.


#7

It is wonderful that you are trying to help your niece. But at the same time it is sad that you have to help her. It does not sound like her parents/father are all that concerned. I am praying for you, her and them.


#8

I don't think I would recommend marriage - but I would recommend confession, adult formation classes, not partaking in the Eucharist, and a good reading of theology of the Body. Encouraging marriage at this point could be a recipe for divorce, anullment, and resentment against you for pressuring her into morals that she did not understand. I would like I said really try to get her into adult formation classes - and see if the boyfriend will join her.


#9

[quote="dconklin, post:7, topic:211322"]
It is wonderful that you are trying to help your niece. But at the same time it is sad that you have to help her. It does not sound like her parents/father are all that concerned. I am praying for you, her and them.

[/quote]

Thank you, I am grateful for your prayers.


#10

To answer Irishmom2's good questions.

Her home life isn't the best, (single parent who doesn't practice his faith but expects the kids to) but there is nothing abusive going on. The parenting is not exactly the greatest but she is cared for, educated in Catholic High School and up until now was planning for community college.

Her father did give her options, 1) to come home at night or 2) to go and live with her mother or some place else, actually the 3rd was her own choice. I guess living with her mother and being an hour away from the boyfriend was not what she wanted. Dad gave her time to make the decision(he said she had to leave by September) but she left immediately . Having two other teens in the house that she was giving poor example to, I felt that dad was the one who had limited options.

As for encouraging her to marry I think you are right. I don't really know this boy and for that matter, maybe I don't know her too well anymore either. I will try to see if there is anything I can do to get her to move out of this boys house and get back on track with her schooling. And I will try to get to know her better but this will be hard because she has always been very affectionate(she usually just sits on my lap and hugs me when I see her) but she not very communicative like some of the other nieces are.

Thanks much for your input:)


#11

[quote="Kat127, post:6, topic:211322"]
Please don't take this the wrong way. But she's 18- you might not know her as well as you think. Not because you haven't been paying attention but children and teenagers tend to know what is and is not acceptable behavior with their families.

[/quote]

I totally get what you are saying and I will try to get to know her better. I hope I can deal with this new relationship. She's not my little innocent niece anymore.
Thanks!


#12

[quote="PatriceA, post:5, topic:211322"]
I don't know if I would recommend marriage. I think I would need to know more about their relationship and how they interact with each other. Recommending marriage based on the fact that they live together may not be a wise choice because it may be a very immature relationship to begin with. I would continue to talk to her about pre-marital sex though and how damaging it can be to both her health and psyche. She may think she's mature enough to live with her boyfriend and be sexually active, but its all together different to be actually ready for marriage and all that it brings.

[/quote]

Good advice. Thanks Patrice.


#13

[quote="joandarc2008, post:8, topic:211322"]
I don't think I would recommend marriage - but I would recommend confession, adult formation classes, not partaking in the Eucharist, and a good reading of theology of the Body. Encouraging marriage at this point could be a recipe for divorce, anullment, and resentment against you for pressuring her into morals that she did not understand. I would like I said really try to get her into adult formation classes - and see if the boyfriend will join her.

[/quote]

Also very wise holy advice. Thank you very much.


#14

Hi OP,

Let me just explain where I am 99% sure she is coming from (not to judge but to perhaps better position you to be able to help her)

If you are shocked because this very passive young lady out of the blue moved in with her boyfriend that tells me 1 thing…All those years she was passive she kept stuffing the pain down and the pot of hot water boiled over. She just can’t take being silent anymore so she is screaming as loud as she can ie living with her boyfriend equates screaming at the top of her lungs.

She is affectionate but doesn’t talk… Obviously a BIG whole in her heart always wanted to be filled. If she is 18 (and by the sounds of it up until very recently) will sit on your lap…Definite neon sign saying 'I missed out on a lot of my childhood needs.

Now for the heart breaking part. Even though she feels safe sitting on your lap… there is a definite line in her mind she will NEVER cross. She will never verbalize to her aunt how she really feels. Mainly because from her perspective it is just ICKY to talk to your aunt about certain things.

I am 40 and I would NEVER tell my aunts anything bad my mom did. They would just jump to my mother side. And I still am affected by the childhood message ‘Be polite in front of your aunt and don’t mention what really goes on’

You really need to be gentle in your approach

CM


#15

It’s absolutely heart breaking for me to hear your empathic perspective on my nieces troubles.

I come from a very disfunctional family with 2 brothers(1 is her dad) and a sister. ALL of my siblings have major problems because of the crazy and neglectful parenting we received. My hope was that the problems would not continue into the next generation.

This niece has always been her dad’s favorite because she has given him the least trouble but maybe the burdens he has put on her are so heavy that she ran away.

I can see(with your perspective) that the burdens of a bitter, depressed parent have been too much for her to bear.

God Bless you for your insights- Thank you so much!


#16

Sadly and actually kind of mind baffling, kids from the same family are affected different ways. I am guessing you are probably the one who made the most effort to turn things around and your siblngs didn't. It is also normal for you who tried to move above your past to be baffled that your nieces father didn't.

Keep the faith, when the day comes your niece wants to turn her life around, she will have seen years of a good example from you

CM

PS glad I could help


#17

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