The M word

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Narley, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. Narley

    Narley Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    134
    I guess this is more an open discussion question than a request for advice, although hearing all your input and views would certainly be helpful!
    So my girlfriend and I got talking last weekend about marriage. We've been dating for almost 4 years now and are both commited to each other. We do want to get engaged and eventually married, although the timing of it isn't certain. This is for a number of reasons, first being finance... It's a beach wedding we would both want, preferably somewhere hot. That's going to take some saving up! Another reason though is that I would very much love my parents to be there, not just that but to be genuinely happy about it! It's a bit of a sticky topic, but I've only been out to my folks for 2 years. They're deeply religious and actually have been amazing and supportive of me and my gf. However I'm worried that mentioning the M word would/could be taking it a step too far for them. In their minds marriage is a religious thing. And whilst they love and support me for who I am as their daughter I don't know if they could ever reconcile that with their religion. Mostly because their belief basically says that marriage is something only a man and woman could do. Don't hate them! No ones ever going to see everything eye to eye. I guess what I'm wondering is what are your thoughts and experiences regarding family and your same sex marriage? How did you break the news, how did you deal with any questions. What sort of ceremony is appropriate especially when your parents are religious and partner is an atheist? Would you think not having a religious ceremony would make it easier or harder for the folks. Or should I not be thinking too much about what my folks think?
     
    #1
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
    greylin and Emm like this.
  2. Spygirl

    Spygirl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2013
    Messages:
    743
    Likes Received:
    1,058
    My wife's family is southern-baptist and before moving here, her one brother gave her a bunch of religion (her parents are divorced and she has 2 older brothers who are very much active in the church). A year or two after, I went back to her home town and met her family and it went really well. Keep in mind this is a family who tried to send her to straight camp when she first came out as gay at the age of 21.

    When Marriage became legal in our state, my wife hesitantly told her mother and her brothers that we were getting married. Before she could barely get it out with her one brother, he stopped her and asked her if it would be okay if he and his wife and children could come to the wedding. And they did -- they flew out -- along with my mother-in-law and it was a wonderful time.

    Talk about doing a complete 180!

    Our wedding was low key (because we're both not into the huge pomp and circumstance) --- kinda like Top Chef food truck meets park with a rustic stone pavilion (we're both into mountain biking, etc.) -- high end food and drink but informal in terms of dress -- and we were married by a friend who happens to be a pastor (went to seminary at Harvard). I'm not terribly religious but I think it meant a lot to the wife (and probably to her family as well) to have the ceremony done by a person of faith. Even our dogs were there and got to share in the day. I wouldn't change a thing.
     
    #2
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
    Gentry, greylin, rac and 2 others like this.
  3. Narley

    Narley Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    134
    Wow that's sooo amazing! It must have meant so much to your wife to have the support of her family there. I guess that's what I'm holding out for with my family. I know my brothers won't be an issue. With my parents, i was totally expecting to be disowned, pleasantly surprised when my mom was more upset that I'd had to carry that sort of secret around without feeling I could tell them. And my dad's response was... and I quote, "oh I totally get it, I don't find men attractive either". But despite that I know it was a massive ask and I've very much taken baby steps (after coming out) in terms of exposing them to the fact that I'm gay.
    It's one thing to come out in words to your folks. For me it's always seemed hard to also "live" out to them too. Even holding hands with my gf in front of them is hard for me, without worrying that they could struggle with it.
    Am I being way too sensitive to them?
     
    #3
  4. Spygirl

    Spygirl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2013
    Messages:
    743
    Likes Received:
    1,058
    Well, would you hold hands with a man in front of your folks? I wouldn't but I'm not big into public displays of affection anyway.

    Maybe you're overthinking it? Maybe you're putting their needs ahead of your own? And maybe, if they sense you're uncomfortable, they too will be uncomfortable.

    Keep in mind, this whole thing was a process which took years. Baby steps, my friend. Baby steps. Ultimately the hope is that they want to see you in a happy healthy loving relationship -- that doesn't have anything to do with your spouse's gender. :)
     
    #4
    Narley likes this.
  5. Queen

    Queen Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2015
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    19
    Remember that your marriage is about you and your future wife, it's great if the people in our lives support us, but what it ultimately come down to is the two of you.

    Neither of us had family at our wedding, we'd been together 24 years at that point and still no one "approved" of us. Now our parents are gone and it's just us... because we made sure that was our focus (the two of us), we're happy and comfortable.
     
    #5
    Narley likes this.
  6. Emm

    Emm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2014
    Messages:
    488
    Likes Received:
    484
    Sorry, I know this is a serious topic but your dad has to get some kind of trophy for that kind of response to someone coming out :) Legendary
     
    #6
    greylin, rac, Narley and 1 other person like this.
  7. rac

    rac Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    Messages:
    274
    Likes Received:
    251
    I totally get that, my gf is the same. We are very behaved in front of her parents, we don't want it to be awkward. You're not being sensitive, you're just being considerate.
     
    #7
    greylin likes this.
  8. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2013
    Messages:
    2,149
    Likes Received:
    963
    Squueeeee, congrats, Narley, for getting to this stage in your relationship!
     
    #8
  9. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    596
    My mother in law isn't religious, but she does think that if her daughter hadn't met me she might have come around to a nice boy, grown her hair long, and never put on a tie. She thinks that our marriage is invalid because we're "too young" (code for: delusionally gay). But our decision to get married wasn't for our parents; it was for us, to stand up and make a commitment in the presence of our community. My MIL behaved like a child who didn't get her way, at the wedding and at times since, but she came and tried to help. In some ways, I think it made it more real for her, because it was a structure and tradition that she recognized, when she recognized so little else about our relationship.

    We did not want a religious ceremony, but we borrowed from the Protestant ceremony structure and sang several hymns that we love as a nod to the divine. We wrote our own vows, and our officiant was a former monk who left seminary to become a doctor. It lent a certain solemnity to the occasion, which I think helped those more traditional folks in the congregation have context for what was going on. If I were your atheist partner, I wouldn't want a marriage ceremony to include religious components that were not meaningful or genuine to me in marriage, but there might be cultural aspects I felt connected to that would be okay.

    I know you didn't ask for advice, but I guess I want to say that your marriage is yours, and that waiting for your parents to come around and be comfortable with it might be worth it, but it also might not be. Reasonably, do you think they will? Reasonably, do you think your sexuality in general and relationship in particular are going away? And your parents might really, really surprise you: they've been supportive so far, and knowing that you want to solemnize a marriage might make them understand you better, not less. It seems like you're tying yourself in knots trying to keep them from being uncomfortable - but they might not want you to do that. Your mom's reaction to you coming out indicates pretty strongly that she felt hurt by being protected from this particular truth, and that might extend to not wanting you to avoid marriage or other next steps out of deference to their feelings.

    Generally, I think that you have lived in fear of your idea of their views for a really really long time, and that even though your fears have not borne out so far you're having trouble dismissing them. You're spending a lot of time guessing their motives and reactions to the not-yet-encountered scenario of their gay daughter wanting to get gay married, but you actually have any proof that they would react that way. It might be helpful to actually talk to them about this, and open the conversation: "I think that I want to get married someday, and it would mean a lot to me to have you all there, but I've been very worried about how you would feel. Have you ever thought about it?" Then you're not guessing, you're giving them notice and space to wrestle with it, and whatever they land on, you can make plans accordingly.

    But - I bet that they would come. I bet they would have to do some processing, but that they love you (and hold out hope for grandchildren, because I've never yet met on-the-fence parents who didn't), and have so far shown themselves to be way more committed to loving and supporting you than following the letter of their beliefs, and that they would be heartbroken in three or five or ten years to learn that you waited because of them.
     
    #9
    Farore and Narley like this.
  10. Narley

    Narley Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    134
    So I know it's been ages since I first posted this but I wanted to give you all a little update!
    Life got quite busy for us after this posting, what with work and Christmas and then a move both with work and personally (not changed jobs but rather my job moved and I moved with it.) My girlfriend moved in too, we're both loving being able to finally be a couple and not just a weekend couple ;)
    And now that the dust has settled on our life a little, it seemed a good time to give my parents/family a heads up on the fact that marriage could be on the cards.
    I did just that on Sunday, sending mum a text and just laying the cards down.
    i guess her response was kind of what I expected. She said that she found it hard to reconcile what her faith says about marriage and us being a same sex couple. We also talked yesterday for quite a while about it on the phone. From that I've come to understand that whilst my parents know I'm gay, and have met and even holidayed with my girlfriend. They seem to be in denial a bit about me being Gay. Maybe as some sort of coping mechanism?
    I'm really glad though that I've broached the topic and I'm hoping this will help them get over that little hump. Her main message was that it's my life and decision and they will love and support me regardless but that her faith comes first, so possibly not be able to come to the wedding if it was too marriagey aka done in a church. Sighs -_- which honestly was tough to hear but I guess not wholey unexpected.

    I guess me writing this more a outlet of expression and maybe even an attempt at cathartic, to talk about it to a group of people who would understand the whole situation from my perspective rather than a faith point of view.

    My one brother is so supportive and accepting so it's not my whole family and they aren't being nasty about it, just honest. I can't change their faith just as much as they can't change the fact that I'm gay. I guess it'll always have to be one of those "agree to disagree" scenarios.

    We're thinking of renting a big house over a weekend and having a small ceremony with family and friends all staying. The reception would be a bbq out in the garden, all very low key, mom said she thought that sounded very nice and that they could possibly come to that. But I'm worried that it could cause sparks to flare as I know my gf's family are super supportive of us. Whilst I get the feeling that my parents would prefer to pretend it's just a family get together and that as long as the M word isn't mentioned they "might" be able to stomach it.

    sorry I know again I haven't really formatted this post very well but has anyone got any thoughts or helpful suggestions to make this the day we want it to be, Our day.

    Do you think time for them to digest is going to help? The wedding won't be for at least a year and half. Will us getting married help them with their denial? Or should we just have the ceremony without them and invite them to do something seperate that's within their comfort zone?
    It's such a hard balance of being sensitive to them whilst being true to myself and our love for each other.
     
    #10
  11. rainydaze

    rainydaze Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2015
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    188
    Oh, Narley, I get where you are coming from...I probably, actually, over-relate, because it breaks my heart for you and your love a little.

    I will share about my personal experience, but my best advice from my "gut" is be true to yourself and the love of your life first and foremost. That day, when you make promises to each other...vows to love and live and grow together through everything that is to come (most of which you cannot possibly foresee right now)...needs to be about the TWO of You. It is your love, your relationship, your life you are joining together, both symbolically and (I'm assuming) legally.
    So, the event and all of the choices surrounding it should be about the two of You...including the when, what, who, how of it all. The only two you really need to be accommodating are you and your future spouse. There is plenty to discuss, negotiate, and compromise on ...just between the two of you. If you start worrying about what others want, need...their comfort, readiness,and hopes...you may find yourself waiting a Long time to get married!

    I know the hope is that our families will see how much we love each other and will just be able to get on board, set all of their old beliefs aside, and just celebrate our happiness. Some can and some can't...and some get there in their own sweet time. The question is are you ready for the marriage/wedding/commitment even if your family is not ready to fully embrace it yet?

    I am very close with my family and I was raised in a fundamental, evangelical Christian family! Both of my parents are Preachers kids! And my wife is from an Italian Catholic family...so, it was a lot to deal with from both sides. I get it. Our wedding was 16+ years ago on a beautiful beach in Hawaii (along with a civil union in Vermont later that same year since it was the only legal recognition going on in the US at the time). Our Legal Marriage License came many years later in D.C. We both joke that we have been married three times...just always to the same person! Haha!

    My sister and her husband flew to Hawaii to be with us and they are to this day our biggest advocates and our dearest friends. Our families (who didn't have to choose not to attend, since we sorta "ran away" to get married, although it was known and well planned) chose to throw us a "shower" beforehand and invited supportive friends and family...although I am guessing some would have had a hard time witnessing the actual ceremony. There was no big blow up, protest, or heartbreak. It was one of the most incredibly peaceful and happiest days of our lives!

    We have been together 20+ years, raised children, and faced amazing challenges we never anticipated. Those vows and that ceremony meant so much to both of us that I don't have actual words to describe it...I just seem to ramble about it.

    Over the years, our families have seen how much we love each other, how committed we are as a couple, and many of the obstacles we've faced together. Some are more at peace and more supportive...all are kind and cordial...the ones who aren't on board just know to be quiet and that it doesn't matter because they are outnumbered now. And our love, our bond is too strong to be influenced by their disapproval. It simply does not matter. Our lives are ours and our happiness cannot be dictated.

    Be true to yourselves and the love between you, on your own timeline. Everyone else will follow, or not, on their own timelines.

    I would suggest open communication with your fiancé and families. So that you can be sure that you are only surrounded by comfort , happiness, and support that day. We have to accommodate everyone's comfort level with us too often in so many environments. Give yourselves permission to shine that day! It belongs to you! Anyone who needs a filter need not witness that moment. .....
    ....just my personal opinion....

    Best wishes to you and your love! Let us know all about it! :)
     
    #11
    Narley and greylin like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice