Parents and (their role in) choosing your life partner

Just because they brought you into this world, can your parents have a word in your choice of a life partner? What can be done? Do you ask for their advice, take it into consideration or do you present it as a done deal, introducing them to your future spouse and that’s that?

In general, children who find reasons to criticize their family, reject their parents’ involvement in their choices regarding a future partner, while those who look up to their parents will welcome their opinions. I would be glad if you belonged to the second category and you asked for their opinion. And even if they haven’t been the best role models for you in this respect, start from the premise that they only want what’s best for you and that their life experiences can help you. The moment you take the initiative on a discussion like this with your parents, you will create relationship bridges, which can repair what wasn’t so perfect up to that moment. Maybe you didn’t have the best relationship with your parents, especially when you were a teenager, but when you are at the point of making a decision for your future, don’t ignore them.

However, what do you do when you ask for their advice and the answer is not really what you wished for? What if your parents tell you not to rush with marriage finding reasons such as: “he/she’s not good for you”, “couldn’t you find a better one?”, “he’s good friends-material, but to marry him/her?”, “we have invested so much into you and now you’re compromising your future?”, “can’t you see what family he/she comes from?”, “he/she doesn’t have a job” or “he/she is not a serious boy/girl”?

What do you do then?

First of all, the key to solving this situation is to continue communicating. Don’t get stuck, don’t reject any idea from their side and don’t make a decision, yet.

Remember that regardless of whom you marry, your mother and father will still be your parents. They will still love you, even though they may not agree with your decision or they might get upset and disappointed. Maybe they don’t always know how to show it, but their love will remain unchanged.

So, show them that you can listen to their arguments and even weigh carefully every opinion. Ask questions, require clarifications. Maybe you “think with your hormones” and you could use a more detached opinion. If your parents’ arguments are also your questions or doubts, then you should evaluate them. You have enough life experience, but you don’t know everything.

Do not start to complain to your partner about your parents’ disapproval. Rather tell your lover on a calm tone about their doubts and listen to his/her counter-arguments. Tell him/her that you’d be more at peace if he/she solved these shortcomings and try to win your parents trust.

Use your skills to create contexts in which your parents can get to know your partner. If he/she fails, and your parents don’t like him right away, there’s even more reason for you to reconsider. Don’t close your eyes and if needed, don’t be afraid or ashamed to admit in front of your parents that they were right.

However don’t forget that, in the end, the decision belongs to you. You have the right to choose who you want to marry, but sometimes, this right can be used wrongly. Make a decision which would satisfy you, but which will not affect negatively your relationship with your parents. A choice that will satisfy you now as well as tomorrow. You don’t know how things will be then, but you may anticipate some aspects. If the differences between you two, in terms of social status, education, values, expectations are too big now, they will seriously erode your life as a couple. Consider the morality, character, compatibility criteria that your parents might invoke. The fact that he is too short, too fat or his hair color, are not arguments that you have to consider. Not even those related to financial differences, although these aspects are not completely to be ignored.

Try to understand your parents: for them it is also a breakpoint moment. Maybe they are afraid that they might lose you. Show them love, respect, prove to them that your relationship makes you a better person.

There is someone else who can advise you on marriage - God. If you are really in doubt and don’t know what decision to make, ask God. Take time to pray and wait for His answer.

Ellen White writes cautiously about making the right choice before marriage: “This step taken unwisely is one of the most effective means of ruining the usefulness of young men and women. Life becomes a burden, a curse. (...) I wish I could make the youth see and feel their danger, especially the danger of making unhappy marriages. (...)

The family tie is the closest, the most tender and sacred, of any on earth. It was designed to be a blessing to mankind. And it is a blessing wherever the marriage covenant is entered into intelligently, in the fear of God, and with due consideration for its responsibilities. Every home should be a place of love, a place where the angels of God abide, working with softening, subduing influence upon the hearts of parents and children.”

Fulton J. Sheen concludes: “It takes three to make love, not two: you, your spouse, and God. Without God people only succeed in bringing out the worst in one another. Lovers who have nothing else to do but love each other soon find there is nothing else. Without a central loyalty life is unfinished.”

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