Dating & Marriage

How can I honour my mother who is trying to end my relationship with my fiancé?

My partner and I are in our mid-20s. We have been together for five years and are certain of our commitment to marry. My mom has made the wedding planning process a nightmare and eventually got us to cancel the wedding. Our relationship took a huge hit but we are working on it. My mom has overstepped her boundaries and undermined our decisions multiple times, even going to extreme ways like physically hurting herself. How do I draw the boundaries with my non-Christian mom and go ahead with our decision to get married?

Ms A

At The Well

Benny says

Dear Ms A,

I can hear your anguish as you try to honour your mother while living your own life as an adult. I suspect that your mother’s unwillingness to let you go is not new. Were there many battles around establishing your independence and identity during your growing up years? Am I right in assuming that your mother is more against you marrying than just marrying this particular person?

If I am correct, then you need to decide if this issue of marriage is going to be a “deal-breaker”, i.e. is this the one issue that you will finally choose not to compromise on? In my opinion, it is an extremely important issue. If you do decide on this, then you need to communicate your wish as clearly as you can to your mother. Be open to listen and hear her opposition, if you have not already done so. And if her views do not outweigh the reasonableness of your choice, do consider remaining firm. You may do this in the presence of other supportive adults as your mother might fly into some hysterics. It is possible she may ask you to leave the home.

Even with this action on your part, there may be other attempts by your mother in the future to pull you into her “sphere of control”. Although I do empathise with her as she might feel like she is losing you, such an attempt to redraw your boundaries may bring your relationship into a new place—a place where there can be stability in connection without the need to control the other.

Finally, do consider engaging the help of a family therapist to facilitate a family discussion. Even if your mother does not attend the counselling sessions, it would help you clarify any concerns you have and also help your partner and you start your new life together on firmer footing.