When your parents disapprove of who you choose to marry, both your marriage and your parents' marriage can be negatively impacted. Additionally, the relationship you have with your parents can be severely damaged.
Here are things to do and not do in this situation.
- Be honest with your parents when you share the reasons you love your partner. Look for opportunities for your parents and your partner to get to know one another better. At dinner with your parents and partner, discuss childhood memories, dreams and goals, etc.
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- Although you may not like what your parents are saying about the person you love, listen to them. Listening to your parents does not mean that you agree with what they say.
- If you are a minor, you need to accept that your parents do not have to give legal consent to you getting married. Even if there is a pregnancy involved, they may say no. Don't try to use emotional blackmail on your parents. Try to understand their willingness to be disliked by you is a sign of their love for you. Be willing to go to family counseling with your parents. Realize that if you and your partner are truly in love, waiting a few years to get married will not destroy your love for one another.
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- Consider attending premarital counseling or an Engaged Encounter weekend. This may help alleviate your parents' fears that you are marrying too quickly, marrying for the wrong reasons, marrying too young, or marrying the wrong person.
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- If you are having second thoughts about your relationship, postpone your wedding until you are sure about your relationship. Realize that it is less traumatic to call off a wedding than it is to get a divorce.
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- If your parents continue to dislike your spouse after your marriage, talk about the boundaries you both need to set in your relationship with your parents so that their disapproval doesn't become a wedge between you and your spouse.
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- Decide together whether or not your spouse will attend your family gatherings or visit your parents with you, but don't allow your spouse to distance you from your parents. Realize that isolating you from friends and family is a red flag in your marriage.
Warning signs of a Troubled Marriage
- Studies show that parental disapproval of a spouse can create distrust, criticism, and conflict in a marriage. If this happens, please consider seeing a marriage counselor.
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Help for Troubled Marriages
- Don't allow the conflict to escalate to the point of destroying your relationship with your parents. Consider the consequences of a long-term estrangement from your parents and possibly your grandparents, siblings, and other extended family. Realize that holding grudges and anger can harm your own health.