Wednesday, 21 November 2012
Two of my close friends got married to one another in Central Park over the summer. They chose to have a small wedding so that they could save money, and therefore, their immediate families were the only people in attendance for the ceremony. The ceremony itself, I’ve been told, was very beautiful, and, like at most weddings, many of the family members cried.
For the bride’s family, they were tears of joy; for the groom’s family, they were tears of anguish.
The groom’s parents very image conscious: they were millionaires and felt that their family deserved the very best of everything just because they were rich. The family lived in a multi-million-dollar mansion with a four-car garage. They held fancy parties in other countries and only invited their richest friends and family members to join them. The mother recently got breast implants and the father shamelessly bragged about his wife’s implants to everybody in his extended family. They maintained their social status by only spending time in the company of other rich families.
The groom’s father was also extremely arrogant and acted cold and unfriendly to others that he deemed were not important – particularly those who were not rich. He felt that only hard-working people became rich, and everybody who was not rich was merely lazy; therefore, he was not too pleased when he found out that his only son was dating a girl whose family barely lived above the poverty line.
There were a lot of ups and downs in my friend and her now-husband’s relationship. Most of the downs involved dealing with his parents. His parents were against the relationship from day one just because she did not come from a well-to-do family, and they were therefore never particularly kind to my friend, especially the father. The parents thought that my friend lacked ambition because she was in college and had not made up her mind about what she wanted to do with her degree when she was done, whereas their son was going through undergrad as a means of preparing for law school. They had always made their distaste for my friend known to their son, who ignored every one of their comments. My friend made him happy, so why should he care if his parents disliked her?
Four years into their relationship, he proposed. News of the proposal brought joy her family, but utter terror to his. Their son was only in his first year of law school, and she was just about to graduate from college: why couldn’t they wait longer? His parents tried to convince them to hold off a couple of years on the wedding, hoping that the extra waiting time would somehow break them up. Ultimately, though, my friends decided that they wanted to get married right away so that they could move in together and not have a conflict with their moral beliefs and living situation, since neither of them believed in the idea of living together before marriage, but they wanted to live together to save money on rent costs.
My friends are now happily married and live a ten-hour driving distance from their families. The groom’s parents are still displeased about the marriage and still act cold towards their now-daughter-in-law, but the good news is that my friends only have to put up with their antics when they travel home for the holidays.
Does parental approval of a relationship matter? Many people argue that no, parental approval of your relationship should not make a difference. After all, it is your relationship and your life, so shouldn’t you be the one calling the shots? Your parents do not know your significant other as well as you do, so how can they really make a fair assessment of your significant other’s intentions or whether or not this relationship is in your best interest?
On the other hand, others say that parents are wiser because of their age and experience and have witnessed examples of both lasting and failed relationships among their family and friends. What if your parents see a quality in your significant other that could seriously prove to be detrimental to your relationship or dangerous to you later down the road? Would you trust your parents’ judgment?
What happens if you’re dating a person who your parents dislike? Would a parent’s disapproval of your relationship affect whether or not you remained in that relationship? Has a situation like this ever happened to you before?