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Old jgravlin
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Quote this post and reply to it Post#1 @ 04-24-04 , 05:42 AM

I'll try to make this as concise as possible while allowing for some excitement on my part ( both good and bad).

I just went through the process of speaking with my future in-laws about asking their daughter's hand in marriage. While they did say "Ok" to the idea, and did even in fact welcome me to the family they did ask for some concessions on our parts.

1.) They asked us to wait an additional year before actually getting married. Which we decided was OK with us if it would make them feel better. It's not unreasonable considering that she is 20, and emotionally if it will make it easier for them to let go, then I am personally alright with it. One year won't make me love her anyless, or her me, but it will certainly go a long way towards making everyone happy.

I thought that perhaps this would be the end of the demands (you'll understand why i use the term demands in a moment), but I was wrong.

I am not Catholic. I was Christened non-denominational and since I have not yet picked a religion, as I have serious problems with Organized Religion. I prefer to love God the way I want to, not the way one of the various churches wants me to.

My Fiancee is Catholic, and while she does not currently practice, her entire family does. In fact the future Mother & Father in-law are now demanding that we have a Catholic wedding.

Not only are they demanding this, they are laying guilt down like new pavement all over their daughter. Neither she nor I want a traditional Catholic wedding. We would both like to get married outside, and in her case (which I have no problem with), she would like to have a Catholic Priest perform the ceremonies. Being not of the Catholic religion I would imagine that this is possible because this is technically a interchurch marriage.

My problem really lies in the following area... what do I do about the In-laws? They are making my Fiancee feel horrible. A solution that I see is to tell them that under no circumstances are they going to dictate how Our wedding goes, and that nothing they say or do will sway my opinion in any way. I would imagine that this will alleviate some of the pressure on her, as it will focus their anger on me. However in the end they may rescind their approval of the marriage and then the anger transfers back to her.

I would like to make everyone happy, but I will not sacrifice my own beliefs for her parents.

Well this ran on far more than I wanted, but as I said I am excited. The ring got paid off today and oh man is it beautiful, I just can't wait to make everything official. It just stinks that something like this has to taint the happiness that should be surrounding the event.

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Quote this post and reply to it Post#2 @ 04-24-04 , 11:09 AM

I would not normally post to something like this, but, for me, this is stirring up some very similar memories as I had found myself in the same situation about 30 years ago.
The BIG question for you and your fiance is, "Who's relationship and life is this anyway?". This is one that you and her need to ask yourselves AND her parents, point blank. It is fantastic if she can maintain a close relationship with her parents throughout their lives. It is a totally different thing when parents try to dictate anything to their adult children and worse yet, when they try to use guilt or intimidation to achieve those dictates. This is one of those issues, (I hate that term!), that you and her need to face together and solve RIGHT UP FRONT or it will come back to haunt you repeatedly.
As a couple, it is your life, it is your relationship, it is your happiness and IT IS YOUR DECISION to make. It won't be the end of the world if you both give in to her parents demands. But it will set an unwelcome precedent for the future. Good luck and whatever you do stay calm, firm in your conviction and DON'T GET MAD. They will get over it.

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Quote this post and reply to it Post#3 @ 04-24-04 , 12:03 PM

What he said.

Also, I think it's a great idea for you guys to wait another year before getting married. I have several reasons for this and they all center around her age.

No, I'm not saying she's too young to know her own mind or too young to make the decision to get married. I'm saying she's at a period in her life where she'll be going through a lot of emotional developments. I was 20 not so very long ago (5 years), and the difference between me then and me now is *huge*

By waiting a year, you'll be giving her some time to develop further, which in turn I feel will probably help ensure the success of your marriage.

Perhaps the most important thing is that by waiting a year, that's another whole year for her to learn her own mind and to possibly realize that she doesn't have to live the life Mom and Dad want her to. At her age, she's probably still too new to her adulthood to realize fully that she is her own person and that she has the right to chart the path she follows through life.

I remember quite a bit from that age and remember discovering with amazement that my life was my own to do with what I wish. It was pretty heady stuff, I might add.

Okay, enough with the lecture. My point is, that by waiting another year (or more!) you'll be giving her the opportunity to discover for herself what she thinks of her parent's behavior. If you get too involved with her opinion of her parents and push her over to your point of view you run the risk of her resenting you for any future problems with her parents that you two may have.

She may be extremely mature for her age, but I bet unless she's truly exceptional she's still kind of unsteady in some of her convictions about her own life.

Okay-I have to break this off for now, but I think I said the basics of what I wanted to say. My in-laws are coming over.

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Quote this post and reply to it Post#4 @ 04-24-04 , 01:10 PM

I agree with both of the above posts. If you two are going to be together for the rest of your lives, together you two need to run your lives, not your in laws. If they are dictating all this now, imagine how it will be later on if they know they have this kind of power over you both. Also, 20 is very young to get married. I know, I was 20. Married at 20, first child (although planned) at 22, second at 26 and divorced at 32. We just didn't grow in the same direction. I'm not saying that will happen with you and I hope that it doesn't and if you take care to make sure you both keep growing as a couple, it probably won't but there is so much more to learn about life and yourself that taking a little extra time now may lead to a marriage that will stand up to time. By the way, I didn't see how old you are. You may have already went thru alot of things she hasn't. If that is not the case then it's good that you will go thru them together. To sum it up, don't let yourself be pushed around and don't rush. Good luck with whatever you do. If you love each other, things will work out how they should.

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Quote this post and reply to it Post#5 @ 04-24-04 , 03:57 PM

Good advice was given here. I have a question; I was just asking my husband about it last night, and neither of us know the answer (I was raised Jewish & he was raised Soutern Baptist). So, this question is for the Catholics among us.
Is it true that religious Catholics only recognize marriages which are performed within the Catholic Church? Are marriages outside of the church considered not 'true marriages?'
I thought that I heard that this was true, but I might be all wrong.
If this is true, it may be a large factor as to why your fiancee's parents are upset.

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Quote this post and reply to it Post#6 @ 04-24-04 , 07:32 PM

I have a problem with the word "religion".

My pastor doesn't like this term either.
The only important part is that you are a Christian meaning:
1. That you believe in Jesus Christ
2. You believe he was the son of God and through his blood, you shall be forgiven for your sins.

I hate to say this but, Catholics seem to be very judgemental.
Where does it say in the bible that you have to tell your sins to a "man"?
Where does it say that you have to say blah blah number of hail Mary's,etc to be forgiven?

Remind your fiancee that it's your wedding, not the in-laws or parents.
This is going to be the first of many choices for her to make on her own, as an adult. Sometimes, the parents don't like it, but it's their problem.
Your fiancee is going to have to step out as an adult now and put her foot down. It's hard, but you have to do it or next, they'll be controlling all aspects of your marriage and we all know where that will lead to!

Good luck

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Quote this post and reply to it Post#7 @ 04-24-04 , 08:46 PM

Hi jgravlin, I just wanted to wish you good luck, and I hope you and your fiancee have *your* dream wedding. I agree with all of the advice given above. I think it's important to show a "united front" in front of the in-laws so that they don't feel you're coercing their daughter. I think you've got the right idea about confronting them directly, might as well get it out in the open. You've got a year to talk them into it though, I hope they come around.

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Hmmmm....very personal topic
Quote this post and reply to it Post#8 @ 05-08-04 , 06:00 PM

I really hope you guys can get by and through this together. It's a tough one. I myself am not RC, but my hubby is. I am a non-denom, who went to an evangelical church for several years, long story...but I don't like any organized religion that "enforces" any rules of who is/isn't going to heaven, whatever. I think a more ecumenical/inclusionist philosophy is more my personal frame of mind. That said, I know having parents or in-laws with a very strong religious bent can be very damaging to a relationship, I know this from first-hand experience. My suggestion is totally ignore what any parents/in-laws want. It's YOUR life, YOUR marriage, and YOUR relationship that counts, you are not (presumably) going to live in their pockets, or house, right? You two have to live with Each Other, for the rest of your lives. Discuss this now, and find a way to cope as this problem, will not Go Away, but remain with you , and yes, it's going to cause some problems. A very religious and dominant person or persons, who think they are RIGHT, WILL interfere in your lives, esp, if they are starting to make noises right now, and are making their views known. It's pretty rotten, but it's the truth. My only advice, from personal experience, is this: it's your life and your Sig other's life, find your own road, and if you guys can't follow the biblical advice to "leave your parents house and "cleave" unto each other" (not an exact quote, but you know what I mean), if you let parent's/inlaws *outlaws!* interfere and influence what you do/how you view your spouse-to-be you are SUNK.

just my own humble opinion. Religion is destructive when one views the world through whatever flavour glasses you wear, just look at the world today and what is happening....

good luck to you both, you will need it!

ps. Personally, I wouldn't bother trying to "talk" to them, or change their minds about anything, that will never happen IMHO. From my experience, the best thing to do is present a "united" front, and not argue about it with them, no one ever wins these arguements! It just makes all persons angry. You can't change the world, or how people think, but you can change how you personally deal with it, I think.

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Quote this post and reply to it Post#9 @ 05-08-04 , 11:07 PM

I have to disagree in part. Ignoring the issue will not make it go away. You (You and FW) need to reach an agreement as to how to address this issue (religion). If you think this is a problem now, just wait till the kids come. You will also need to discuss this with the FILs. While you should not just fall down for the inlaws, to alienate them now, over the wedding could impact your relationship with your FW, particularly if she is close to her family.

Good luck with this difficult issue

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Best of wishes !!
Quote this post and reply to it Post#10 @ 05-09-04 , 10:33 AM

Wow. What a difficult situation. And an awful lot of good advice so far!! I'll just add two bits for thought.

My BEST friend in the whole world was raised RC. While I myself could never join, I do think that for those that are married in the RC Church, the whole idea of the pre-marital counseling, or get away the couples do, is a great idea. I think it's a series of talks with the priest about if the two of you are right for each other, discussing family goals and values. Just an FYI. Also, I believe that if you are married by a RC priest, the children MUST be raised RC. I'd look into that and verify for yourself.

I also have a couple of Jewish friends. There is this ONE part of the Jewish ceremony I feel every one should be aware of. This is the way my one Jewish friends wedding was, others could be different, but she wrote in their program about what they did and why. Both the parents of the Groom bring him to the altar, then both parents of the bride bring her to the alter. (the Hoopa? sp??) Both parents brought them to where they are in life AT THAT POINT. The hoopa (sp??) represents the couples NEW HOME TOGETHER. Both parents then LEAVE THEM up there together in front of everyone, symbolizing that this is now THEIR life together. The bride and groom are now each other's top priority in life now.

OK. I'm sure I paraphrased that a bit, but you get the idea. SO SHOULD MANY PARENTS IMHO. My brothers are in their late 40's, early 50's, and my Mom still tries to have too much influence over how my brothers and their wives raise their own children. I'm SURE it started with their weddings.

You and your girlfriend should find IF you can be a "united" front. You may be at that point already, if so, GREAT. If not, she needs to do this herself. It may be totally wrong of her parents, but if you force her to sever herself from them, in the end you will be the bad guy. Don't let that happen.

Best of wishes, there is an awful lot of good advise given above.

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