The predicament – your parents aren't into your fiance. It’s been written about ad nauseam through centuries of romantic novels, Hollywood has gone to that well oft too many movies regarding the age-old dilemma, but what happens when it becomes a real-life scenario? A prickly pickle indeed, as any man yearns for the approval of his parents.
The thing is, even as adults, full-blown adults that have made lives for themselves, those that are no longer on the parent's payroll, we fall victim to the authoritative outlook of the parents. It’s nature, it’s sewn into us. We want mom and dad to be proud of us. That said, love can sometimes be irrational, it doesn’t run off a script. Often enough, we don’t pick the standard copy woman that our parents dream of(usually a clone of mom). It’s happenstance, it’s random and it’s that beating organ that is making a lot of the decisions. As long as that formula leads to happiness(hopefully long-term), it’s often what matters most and something our parents have a hard time empathizing to.
Listen, as important as your parent's input is, they’re not in a position to ground you or take away your allowance on this one. You don’t have to eat your veggies if you don’t want to anymore. There are a variety of factors that one must face in relieving themselves of the guilt of moving on this one without a full red stamp from mom and dad. One clear point is the generational disconnect. While your parents might think they know what’s best, often they are still living in a baby boomer mentality where dad went to go work for Johnson Inc. for 25 years carrying his lunch pale and clocking in a fine 8 hour day on the way to a fabulous pension. Darling sits at home raising the rug rats and making dinner. Times have changed. The world is much more liberal, people’s minds have opened, standards have reset.
For the sake of this exercise, let’s sketch out this hypothetical fiancé’ with extreme fatal flaws. Maybe she comes from a mob family; maybe she’s a recovering addict, missing a limb, hell, maybe transgender. To each their own, right? You know where we are going with this. Now regardless of these flaws, she remains the woman you trust, believe in and want to spend the rest of your life with. On the surface, maybe it’s not all perfect and straight out of the Cleavers, but beneath those topical flaws, this is the woman who has captured your being. What are your parents going to do? There is no suspending your allowance anymore. There is no putting baby in the corner.
Now does this mean you should rebel, spite, and FU them? Not at all. Being defiant in this circumstance will only lead to years of an awkward relationship that may never repair. However this may go down, your parents will remain an important feature of your life that are irreplaceable. This is your opportunity to work through big boy real adult stuff to show your parents that you have the maturity to make these kind of monumental decisions and showcase a wisdom they can respect, even if indifferent. Here is how you do it:
1.) Understand the collective goal
Realize why your parents are being difficult, pig-headed, closed-minded, their ultimate goal is they want what’s best for you. They are leaning on years of personal experience, wisdom in truly believing they have a better understanding of the longer view. Yeah know what, they may be right – marriage is, in many ways, a roll of the dice, as we all know the stats out there. The bottom line here is simply that you are at a point in your life where even if it’s not the right long-term choice, it still is your choice and potentially your mistake to own. I know that might sound cliché’, but it’s an appropriate one.
So when you have that tough conversation, make sure you keep their intent in mind and understand what their drivers are. Tell them you realize what they want is what is best for you – that connection point is crucial. The minute you become overly self-justifying, you start losing your angle and losing your parents respect. This conversation requires patience and a little Confucianism, call it a parental Jedi mind trickery if you may. They must know that while your transgender future wife might come flawed, you are willing to take on those flaws for the right reasons because they are offset by so many downright wonderful characteristics. Ultimately at the end of the day, as we mentioned earlier, true love doesn’t always come in perfect shapes/sizes and granny and nanna probably felt the same way about your mom and pops when they eloped in Vegas.
2.) Time Heals
Always remember to keep it all in perspective and never to get caught up in the heat of the moment. There is a lot of stress during the engagement/wedding planning period and it might be too easy to blow a gasket. Keep it in check, stay patient. It’s unlikely that anything truly tragic will come of some of these anxiety-ridden disagreements as long as nothing catastrophic is said. Even then, time will heal.
These are your parents – they saw you through childhood, gave you life, love you unconditionally. It’s hard to replace that – savor that relationship and treat it with respect. Understand what drives them and give them the respect they deserve in looking out for you. If you give them that, they’ll understand. Keep it Confucius and Godspeed.