What Do You Do When Your Parents Don’t Approve of Your Spouse?

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 11/22/2013 | 10:15 AM EST

No one wants to choose between a parent and a spouse

Not having the approval of your parents can take a toll on a relationship, especially when you have a very close bond with them and care about what they think.

No one wants to choose between a parent and a spouse. It’s a position no one should have to be in, not to mention someone is bound to get hurt in the end. In these kinds of situations, it’s important to intervene early on.

If your mother or father doesn't approve of the person you’re dating, it could be a sign of jealousy. Parents love to mark their territory, and often have unreasonably high standards for their children. For some parents, there’s never anyone good enough for their son or daughter.

Winning the trust and approval of a parent takes time and patience. But it’s important that you create opportunities for your partner and your parent to get to know each other better. Inviting mom or dad over for dinner, or having your spouse join in on your parents’ favorite pastime, are great ways to break the ice. If your dad likes football, encourage your partner to watch a game over beers, or if you want to go the extra mile, have him take your dad to an actual game. If your mom enjoys yoga, set up a session date with her and your beau. The best way to reach a happy medium is to have a common ground.

But if your mom or dad doesn’t approve of your mate because of more serious reasons, like their character, race or occupation, getting over that hump of disapproval can be far more perplexing.

Ultimately, if you’ve made a conscious decision to be with your partner, and you’re with them for the right reasons, your parents have to respect that. As a parent, one has to learn to love the person one’s child chooses to be with. While your parents may want the best for you, only you know what truly makes you happy. And if that means taking a firm stance in opposition to them, so be it. Just make sure the person you’re with is worth the sacrifice.

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