Relationship Connection: My daughter is marrying a guy we don’t like


Our daughter dated this guy for a couple of years and we had major concerns about him. She was in high school at the time and he was a couple of years older. This was a major source of conflict between her and us during her last two years of high school. It was no secret to him that we disapproved and didn’t agree that she should be with him.They are now engaged and he will be a part of our family.

We still disapprove, but the main issue now is that our daughter doesn’t want us involved in her wedding plans at all. She tells us that since we weren’t supportive, she figured we wouldn’t want to help. We feel she’s punishing us.

We’re not only worried about the wedding, but how to live with the fact that he’s now a part of our family.


I certainly can understand your struggle with your daughter in high school, but now that she’s out on her own and starting her own family, the last thing she needs is your opinion. She already knows how you feel about her fiancé, so driving that point home will only increase the acrimony and distance with her.

Marriage is already hard enough without the constant disapproval of in-laws. The best thing you can do is accept the fact that your days of managing your daughter are over and that it’s time to learn how to build a relationship with her and her soon-to-be husband.

Just because you didn’t approve of him for your then-high school daughter’s choices, it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn to accept him now that he’s going to be a part of your family. I’m not suggesting this will be an easy transition. You may have feelings of resentment and frustration that they didn’t respect your guidance when she was in your home as a teenager. You may not want to give them the satisfaction of knowing that you could ever be OK with their union.

Please consider where your stubborn stance toward this relationship will lead you. Do you want to be right or do you want to have a relationship with them? How about with their future children?

You might even consider sitting down with them and letting them know of the transition you’re working through. Let them know that you recognize how difficult their relationship has been for you as the parent, but that you now recognize how they need support instead of parenting. Show them they have a support system to help them build a strong future together.

If they are terrible for each other and have a rotten marriage, you can still love and support your daughter as she learns these difficult lessons. Our job as parents isn’t about protecting our children from all of their bad decisions. It’s letting them know they have love and support to take risks and learn from their own mistakes.

Your daughter didn’t follow your rules and counsel as a teenager and now you worry about her future. You can’t continue to hold her hostage to the immature and disrespectful actions she took as a teenager. If there are real consequences coming her way as a result of her rebellion, you don’t need to do anything more than let her know she matters to you and you recognize she is living her life the way she wants to. You did your part in teaching her and all you can do is hope the lessons she learned in your home will support her in this next phase of her life.

You may be the only support she has now or in the future. Continue to position yourself so you can be there for her no matter the outcome.

Stay connected!

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Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @geoffsteurer


Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.


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  • Too Durn Bad May 21, 2014 at 8:59 am

    So you don’t get a doctor or lawyer as a son-in-law Too bad. Get over it. But don’t worry. Your daughter getting married right out of high school probably will be divorced after a few years and a couple of kids. Then maybe she’ll find someone that will tolerate the kids. Unlikely, but maybe.

  • JOSH DALTON May 21, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Who is the gangster in the picture hahahahah!? I would have an issue with my daughter dating this guy too! I don’t have any kids yet. Hell I have run into situations in the past. I was not able to date some girls because I am black! I sure has heck fire was not throwing up gang signs and wearing a dew rag specific to any color. I had a full time job and going to college. That was not good enough based on the color of my skin. I would be worried that my daughter would be dragged into a bad situation when this guy in the picture dropped the “N-word” thinking he was hard. Like most “GANGSTAS” from Saint George Utah. I’m saying I rep the PDS south Valley View! I used to bang Dixie Downs.

    • JOSH DALTON May 21, 2014 at 11:41 am

      I’m sorry but I still ca’t get over how extremely street,hood,gully, and gutter these kids look! My Wife’s parents hated me. 8yrs later I am now loved as one of the family. The reason they disliked me was because the behavior I was displaying was not working for my program. Not only that I was having pre-marital sex with their child and living in sin. I take it as a learning experience. Back to the photo. How come we don’t get to see the rest of this group of upstanding US citizens? Is this a party flier for an upcoming bash out on the AZ strip? Is this the last serving member of the Bloods? This article and caption left to many questions unanswered. It almost looks as if the girl was photo shopped into the picture. Is this an add for GEN-X clothing? so many questions…

      • Amy May 21, 2014 at 2:32 pm

        I’m pretty sure this is what is called a “stock photo” and not the actual couple in question.

      • Brian May 21, 2014 at 2:52 pm

        The picture isn’t the boy in question. The question was asked anonymously, why would the story include the actual picture of the future son-in-law? A 5 second Google search shows its just a random picture of an idiot no one on earth wants as a son-in-law:

        • Matt Sevald May 21, 2014 at 9:31 pm

          Interesting, so I wonder how the couple in the picture feel about being used (without permission/copyright violation?) by a writer insinuating that they’re prime material for Jerry Springer.

      • Steve D June 2, 2014 at 12:38 pm

        The funny thing is, and I only know this from the many occasions of being the boyfriend parents didn’t like, as soon as you tell your teenage girl “we don’t approve of him,” us lowlifes are in, the more parents resist is directly related to their girls doing the opposite of their wishes. I don’t know why that is and I don’t mean to marginalize the young women out there but it is what it is. My advice, dad’s especially, if you don’t like the hood,gully,street-rat guy that your daughter drags home like some kind of predator cat who specializes in a particular sort of vermin, embrace him, don’t say you like them but as far as your loathing goes, hold those cards back until the perfect moment. you will find that every occasion when your accepting pretense allows the three of you to be together, your daughter will see the dude in the same light she assumes you should be seeing him in, she’ll notice things in the brilliance of your acceptance that she can’t see in the shadow of your all out rejection. What? Y-know w’I’ght-mean gangsta!

  • The Man May 21, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Look at this TOOL!!! I can DEFINITELY see why the in-law’s are concerned!

  • Paula N May 21, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    May I also add some other advice: When she comes complaining to her parents (usually mom) about her husband, RESIST the urge to take her side. RESIST the urge to tell her anything that even smells of an “I told you so”. Above all RESIST the urge to say negative things or gossip about him or the relationship “in confidence” to other family members. I’ve seen so many families (including my own) where there is no acceptance of the new husband/wife and it has only served to drive the couple away from the love and support of family that is so beneficial to the success of marriage.

  • Hatalli May 21, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I think this statement, “We still disapprove, but the main issue now is that our daughter doesn’t want us involved in her wedding plans at all. She tells us that since we weren’t supportive, she figured we wouldn’t want to help. We feel she’s punishing us” pretty much says it all.
    You don’t really appear to care much about anything but your own feelings here. It is NOT your place to ‘approve’ or ‘disapprove’ of this marriage. I don’t blame them in the least for wanting you to just butt out of their business.
    She is going to do what she wants, and then she will have to deal with the consequences, good or bad. And guess what, that is exactly the position you are in right now yourself. You are living with the consequences of your actions.

    • Brian May 21, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      I agree they are living with the consequences of their own past actions, but who their adult or nearly-adult daughter marries is certainly their concern, because it’s not like kids just disappear after they get married. They still want help, still want a shoulder to cry on, still want money, still want to live in your basement when things go wrong, etc, etc. So yes, it’s the girls decision, but it isn’t only “her business”. I’m guessing you don’t have any adult children.

  • Cathy May 21, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Personally, I too would not want a non-supportive parent to have anything to do with planning my wedding. If you did not want anything to do with the man she fell in love with and dislike him to this day then why would you want to help with the wedding anyways? She probably wants the wedding their way and not “your” way.
    She is an adult so she will have to deal with any and all consequnces on her own just like you are dealing with yours now for being negative about the man she fell in love with.
    I hope the relationship gets better but as long as you say anything negative about her choice in a husband or treat him poorly and not like a son then nothing will change.
    My mother did not like my husband at all but she stood by me and treated him as her son because she knew I loved him. She never told me her true feelings until right before she died and I really respected her for that as it was my choice. My mother understood that it was my choice and not hers to make. Good luck!

    • Robyn February 16, 2016 at 1:12 am

      Your mother must have been an angel. I hope in some way she made peace with that and learned to love him.

  • Flip-Side May 21, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    His parents probably don’t care much for her, either. Why is a high-school girl chasing after their son. Is her home life so bad that she’s desperately is seeking someone to marry (rescue) her?

  • rickie May 21, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    If you had taught you child better she would not have gravitated to those types of people. Just like a computer garbage in garbage out.

  • Chuck Brown May 21, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    Let her learn the hard way. Some times we just have to let go and let them learn from hitting rock bottom. If you disapprove of this gangster wannabe then why are you upset your not going to the wedding? Let her have her day without you, it will be one of the biggest regrets in her lifetime…Kids they think they know everything but they don’t now squat…Don’t send a gift either.

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