The craziness of Thanksgiving weekend travel is settling down, and you're just beginning to digest the details of the trip home to meet your honey's family this Thanksgiving season. The question is rarely as simple as: "Do you want to marry him?" It extends deeper than that to a relationship that will go through many holiday seasons, births, deaths, reunions and even care-giving situations. Remember that when you marry him, you marry his family too. And with them, is likely how you'll be spending many of your cherished vacations, events and holidays for many, many years to come. So, is it OK to consider ditching a man because his family is unbearable? Yes. Here's a few things to think about:
1. Ask yourself (and him) some honest questions: How close is he to his family? Is he likely to support you, or a stubborn family member on divided issues? How many times/year do they typically get together? Would it be a problem for them if your time was divided between his family and yours?
2. Instead of evaluating his family's resume and status, just sit back and remember the weekend. How did you feel overall while in their presence? Did you feel lifted up? Were you walking on eggshells? Did you laugh, or was it awkward? Was it easy, or hard? Did you feel like you could really be yourself?
3. Do you share the values of his immediate family unit? If not, realize that even if he doesn't share those values now, he may when you have children together. Often, people revert back to the values they were raised with when they have children of their own. Keep your eyes open for possible discord that could heavily impact your relationship later on. It's OK if everything's not perfect, but you really need to decide if these divisions are things you can deal with.
I'm super blessed to have married into a beautiful in-law situation. I get along with my married family and love them all very much. We travel together often, get together for dinners and holidays and make special time for one another. But even within this family, there are other members who are not as lucky and have dealt with decades of stress that has divided marriages and created resentment through the years. Make sure that you don't forget to think over all of the ramifications of joining a family when you decide to marry!
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