Two people fall in love, and decide to see if their love might stand up over time,
if there might be enough grace and forgiveness and memory lapses
to help the whole shebang hang together.
Anne Lamott / Flower Girl
Arjun and Ev (names changed) met the old-fashioned way – at a club! They were both in grad school at the time. After just a year, they knew that this was “it.”
Arjun proposed; Ev said “yes,” and his parents were utterly displeased. They didn’t like Ev and made it clear to him. Ev wasn’t like them – she didn’t come from money and they thought she was just a common gold-digger.
Arjun & Ev decided they’d wait until his parents came around before setting a wedding date. A year passed and his parents still talked crassly about her and were cold when she was in their company.
Arjun had several hard conversations with his parents.
He was hurt that they had so little regard for the woman he loved. He also would not tolerate them talking ill of her. They continued in their scorn.
Arjun stopped talking with his parents and he and Ev married at the courthouse. No one knew they were legally married.
Now, ten years later, they decided to have a “real” wedding.
Arjun invited his parents. To their credit, they wrote him a letter of apology and agreed to attend the wedding.
However, during the ceremony, from my vantage point, they looked like they were attending a funeral and not a wedding!
And there’s more to the story. . .
Arjun’s father is a hero to at least 1000 people back in India. He has given them work. He has educated them. His factory workers look up to him.
As Arjun shared with me, when the workers and competitors saw photos of Arjun and his “fiancée,” Ev, on Facebook, they made fun of her because she was not Indian.
Arjun’s dad asked him to remove the photos. Arjun felt hurt.
No one talks about any of this.
The pain is left untreated.
Here’s the thing –
Weddings bring out the best and the worst in people – including parents.
While culture and religion and upbringing all impact how you communicate with your own parents, it is important that you and your partner talk about how you will together talk with the parents about your wedding. About your life together.
I have no “6 East Steps to Having a Difficult Conversation with Your Parents” – BUT – here are
9 questions to help you and your partner gain clarity + strategy
in planning for difficult conversations with family
- How do you deal with your parents? Revert to childhood? Become passive-aggressive? Argue heatedly?
- How do you express what you desire for the wedding to your parents?
- Are you able to explain why you want what you want?
- Is your wedding family-focused or friend-focused? What are the implications for this?
- Have you asked family for specific help in any areas?
- What do you think are your parents’ obligations to you regarding paying for and planning of the wedding?
- What do your parents think their obligations are?
- How do you show your family thanks throughout the planning process?
- What are you willing and prepared to do if your parents do not go along with your ideas and wishes?
If you want tips on how to communicate in smart, healthy ways with your partner + family – during wedding planning and beyond –
check out my book,
Treat you and your partner to a communications coaching session with me.