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When You Disapprove of Your Child's Marriage

Dos and Don'ts

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When you disapprove of who your child has chosen to marry, both your marriage and your child's marriage can be negatively impacted. Additionally, the relationship you have with your child can be severely damaged.

Here are things to do and not do in this situation.

  • If your child is a minor and is requesting you to give legal consent to marriage, say no. Even if there is a pregnancy involved, say no. Don't give in to your teen's emotional blackmail. Stay strong and be willing to be disliked. Seek family counseling to improve communication.
    Teen Marriage Articles

  • Be honest with your adult child about your concerns. Look for opportunities to get to know your child's partner better. At dinner with them, discuss childhood memories, hopes and dreams, etc.
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  • Although you may not like what your child says about his/her partner, listen with an open mind. Listening to your child does not mean that you agree with what is being said.
    Listening Tips

  • Keep conversations about relationships and marriage general. Be honest in your answers, but don't get negative or place blame on your child's partner.
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  • Realize that anything negative you say about your child's choice of a marriage partner is going to be met with strong opposition and will probably set up an "us against them" sense of unity.

  • Let your child know that it is okay to change one's mind -- even at the last minute.
    Second Thoughts

  • Trust in the relationship you have built between you and your child and keep communication open between you. If the partner choice is truly a poor one, the day may come when your child will need to turn to you for help and guidance. If this happens, don't say "I told you so ..."

  • Continue to strengthen your relationship with your child as adult to adult. Go out to lunch, go on shopping trips, see a movie together.

  • Give the gift of premarital counseling or an Engaged Encounter weekend.
    Engaged Encounter Weekends

  • If your relationship with your child's spouse does not improve after they are married, accept the boundaries they as a couple decide to have in their relationship with you. Don't let your disapproval become a wedge between you and your child.
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  • If the two of you disagree about the individual or disagree about why your child should or shouldn't get married, your own marriage may be negatively impacted. Even if you are in agreement about the situation concerning your child's spouse, the stress of the conflict with your child can hurt your marriage. Make time for one another and work on your own marriage.
    Ecourse: Ten Weeks to a Better Marriage

  • Don't let an unwillingness to get to know your child's spouse cheat yourselves out of a relationship with your child and grandchildren.
    Forgiveness Articles

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