Time for a talk with ones you love
Q. MY family hates my partner. They say he’s not good enough for me and whenever we visit my parents’ house, they make it really uncomfortable. They grill him and they make their disapproval obvious. They don’t see the support and love he gives me, and instead measure everything on the fact that he didn’t go to uni and he has tattoos. They are afraid we’re going to get married and while I wasn’t thinking along those lines before, the more they hate him, the closer it brings my boyfriend and me together. But I don’t think I could marry someone my family didn’t like and go through this stress and angst for the rest of my life. What should I do?
A. IT SOUNDS like you are worrying about things that may or may not happen in the future and you don't need to be spending your thoughts or energy on stresses that haven't even happened yet.
You need to focus on the situation you're in now and work on improving that and then, who knows, your worst fears may never be realised.
Marriage is a very big deal.
I know some may argue that with a nearly 50 per cent divorce rate it may not seem like it, but a relationship transforms to a very different commitment level through marriage, so put any thought of marrying someone out of a reaction to – or rebellion against – your parents and family out of your head.
If you marry simply to assert your independence and prove your family wrong about your partner choice, you will in almost all likelihood be in the 50pc of couples who divorce.
You need to marry for love and because in your heart it's what you (and only you) want; you know it feels right; and you choose this man to be with for the rest of your life.
Anything less than, or other than, that and from the beginning your marriage will be in trouble.
So while it's a somewhat natural reaction to feel pushed closer to your partner the more your parents criticise him, do not make that the reason you run down the aisle. It's only inviting more problems for you.
It's time to take a step back from the drama and maturely suggest a meeting and talk.
You can do this with the four of you – you and your partner and your parents, or with just you and your parents.
For the air to be cleared between you all, everyone must have a turn to talk – and also feel heard.
Listening does not mean interrupting and continuing to put your own view across to them.
Listening means with your ears, not your mouth, and really hearing what their disapprovals and concerns are.
They are your parents – they love you.
They want what is best for you.
Yes, you may feel they have judged your partner unfairly, and you will get to say that to them, and he (or you) will get the chance to elaborate on all his wonderful qualities and why you've chosen to be with him, as well as why your relationship works.
But be open to the possibility that they may have some legitimate concerns that haven't occurred to you.
When you all feel heard, the hurt feelings will lessen and you'll be in a better position to discuss together the ways you can move forward to a healthier relationship in which you don't feel that every get-together is marred by negative comments, feelings and thoughts.
If you open your heart and take a mature approach, your relationship with all of them can only improve.
And then you won't have to worry about your stressful future, because you will have taken care of it now.