Why Parents Oppose Their Child's Marriage

Weddings are supposed to be a celebration of the joining of two people, two families, and the beginning of a new life and family. But marriage is a sacred bond that should be considered seriously, and it is often hormones, unhappiness, need, or greed that makes the decision to join two lives in matrimony. While the decision to marry should be between the two people in a relationship, parents often encourage or discourage their child's marriage for a number of reasons.

In some cultures, arranged marriages are common. Running off with one's true love is often romanticized, but the reality isn't always as wonderful as movies make it sound. People don't always know each other as well as they think, and even if they do, people can change. Life happens, and parents who have experienced this know that their children have to experience it for themselves. Yet . . . every parent wants a happier, richer, healthier life for their children than they had themselves.

Many parents object to their child marrying someone with a different skin color. Although some parents are prejudiced or have preconceived notions of what people with a particular skin shade are like, I think that most parents with this objection are just worried about their children. Numerous experts claim healthier, happier marriages are between people with similar cultures, religion, finances, morals, values, tastes, likes, and dislikes. Since parents want the best for their child, they believe a marriage to someone like them will be more successful. And even though they know people of different cultures can be very much alike, parents still push their children to choose a partner in life that looks like them.

Most parents look at what their child's potential spouse does for a living. Will they be able to support a parent's offspring in the manner that they are (or would like to be) accustomed? Is the career something to be proud of? Are the morals, values, religion, and politics acceptable? Will the spouse be willing to spend time with both sides of the family or will a child become absent on holidays and special occasions?

Yes, parents are human. They have selfish motivations as well as wanting the best for their children. And there is no greater motivator than fear.  Fear of the unknown, fear of something in our own pasts, and fear that the wrong choices will make us bad parents. But we should remember that we can all learn so much about each other and ourselves. We have lived our lives and have to allow our children to make their own choices, whether we agree with them or not. (Of course, I reserve the right to snatch my child away should they choose a mass murderer, someone who abuses them, or someone who already has 7 spouses.)

The blue-eyed/brown-eyed study of children done years ago should have taught us acceptance and tolerance. If we all married someone who looked like us, we would be a world of clones rather than a world of individuals. How boring would that be?

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