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Ask Dr. Sherry: 'My Future Mother-In-Law Doesn’t Approve Of Our Engagement'

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Dr Sherry Profile Two

You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it's your turn to sit in her chair...

Q: I am a 25-year-old soon-to-be college graduate. My fiancé and I have dated for four years and we are both in college right now. We love each other very much. He is my friend, my prayer partner and my number one supporter. We both deeply believe in not moving in with each other or living with each other until we wed, and we refuse to marry too fast. He is four years older than me and we are both active members of our church. We have agreed to pre-marital counseling as well and look forward to it. In addition we have both decided to hold off on children until we are finished with our degrees.

Immediately after the proposal, his mother opposed to our union. My engagement bliss turned into engagement blues. She feels that he will not finish school if we are married. I am continuing my education post-grad. Neither of us are naive about the obstacles we will face. We have chosen to face them together.

In retrospect, besides her one objection we have over 100 supporters (full of family and friends). Yet, I still feel sad, and I am having a hard time dealing with his mother. It's already nerve-racking to marry into a new family, but now the idea of having a monster-in-law gives me nightmares. Honestly, I am so disappointed by her sudden change in attitude. Not so long ago, his family was gung-ho about marriage. She went from treating me like a daughter to being distant. Dr. Sherry, how do I maintain my relationship with her when she so heavily objects to our union.

Thankfully,
Bride-to-Be

Dear Bride-to-Be,

Congratulations on both your pending marriage and college graduation. Please do not let anyone rain on you parade. You are very smart to wait until after you complete college to marry and start a family. Seeking premarital counseling is also a wise choice. Marriage is a major step, and it can be life changing. While it would be great if everyone was happy and supportive of your marriage, but that may not be realistic. I am sure that you were hurt and disappointed that your future mother-in- law objected to you marrying her son. Is your fiancé aware of her attitude and how she is treating you? Given that you and your fiancé have dated for four years, I am sure she knows you. So, you are not someone he dragged in a week ago and decided to marry. The two of you have taken the time to get to know one another and emotionally bond. It sounds as if you have more in common with each other than some couples who have been married for years.

It also sounds as if your future mother-in-law has other issues with you. Her excuse of not wanting you to marry her son because she is afraid that he will not finish his education is weak, especially given that you are both are in school now. I am sorry to say that she seems to have an issue with you that has nothing to do with her son completing her education. Whatever her issue with you is, your fiancé needs to address it first. He should confront his mother regarding her attitude toward you and the pending marriage. It is far more likely that he is a "mama’s boy," and she is just not ready to let him go. At the age of 29, he must step up and address his mother head on as an adult. He must let her know that he hopes she can be happy for the two of you but at the end of the day, you are going to be his wife and hopefully the mother of her grandchildren.

If she continues to act distant towards you after he has spoken with her, then you may want to speak with her. You should tell her how you feel about her changing from treating you like a daughter to being suddenly distant. You should also ask her what happened. All of these issues should also be addressed in pre marital counseling. Once the issues are addressed, let it go despite her response, and prepare to enjoy life with your new husband. -- Dr Sherry

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