It was stated earlier in listing six reasons marriages fail each failing marriage has its Number One reason. Listing in-laws as the fourth reason doesn’t mean it ranks in fourth place. It could be Number One in some marriages.
I’ll launch this study with a question: In-laws or Out-laws?
The answer: That depends on several things not the least of which is how long the couple has known each other, and do they know each other’s families?
It is a sobering thought when engaged couples realize when they marry they are also marrying the entire family. Well, not exactly, but nevertheless a new relationship is entered into that encompasses more than just the couple.
Through in-law relationships the intendeds get their first real look at how they can expect the obfect of their affections to function in the family setting.
This can be reassuring or upsetting depending on the quality of family life his or her future mate grew up in.
This is most essential when considering the first area discussed: Role Models and Role Reversal.
It is a proven fact men and women carry into their marriage the best role model they have for their gender – best does not always equal good.
In the dating relationship it is wise to observe how each person treats the primary men and women in their family. This is an early indicator as to how your future spouse will treat you.
Realize that in the dating process a person would naturally be “on their best behavior” when you are around but might not hesitate to be “their normal selves” with family members – even in your presence.
In this reasoning, this author does not intend to explore the implications of marriages brought together through on-line dating services.
Whether this is good or bad, biblical or un-biblical or minimally affects marriages in general one way or the other, I think it is too early to determine.
Future in-laws may be turned into out-laws if the man does not ask her father for her hand in marriage. Many think this is an outdated custom and many men may not do so. It is biblical however.
Answer this question: At what age does one cease to be the child of one’s parents? The answer is - never.
Colossians 3:20 plainly states:
“Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.”
Not asking could set up a barrier in the in-law relationship that may never come down.
“But,” asks the stammering couple, “suppose they say, No.?”
This ought to give serious couples reason to think through their relationship, and prompt them to ask the parents to explain their specific objections.
Saying “No,” initially does not mean they will not say, “Yes,” when the parents see their realistic objections resolved.
It is far easier to deal with in-law objections on this side of the altar than after the couple says, “I do.”
Next time: Six Reasons Marriages Fail: Number 5: Religion
Rev. Thomas (Tom) C. Lacy, Advisory Board Member of the Virginia Christian Alliance and Founder and Director, of New Hope Counseling Service.