Early in a relationship, you may not spend a whole lot of time with your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s parents, but as the relationship progresses, it is a good idea to spend a balanced amount of time with them. Why? Because it is important to see how your potential spouse treats his or her parents before becoming engaged. More specifically, it is important to see how he treats his mother and how she treats her father.
Ladies, how he treats his mother is a good indication of how he will treat you. If he treats her with respect and honor, he will more than likely treat you with respect and honor. If he mouths off to her and treats her like the dirt under his feet, he will more than likely treat you the same way after you both say, “I do.” He might be on his best behavior now, telling you how amazing, beautiful, and irreplaceable you are, but if he treats his mother poorly, it is only a matter of time before you see the same treatment. Once the new marriage wears off – and it will wear off – the real him and his hidden character flaws will be revealed.
Gentlemen, she may be gorgeous, sweet, and treat you like the entire world revolves around you; but, if she treats her dad with disrespect… if she whines and complains to him and about him… if she treats him like an ATM and does not honor him as the head of her house, it is only a matter of time before she will treat you the same way. The old saying is that women get married hoping they can change their husband… and men get married hoping their wife will never change. However, she will change. This isn’t to say that she’s putting on a front and purposely trying to reel you in by false pretenses, but there are sides of her that you won’t see until you are married.
We are all human and we are all imperfect. When a girl is growing up, more often than not, her dad is the main man in her life. If she is in the habit of treating him with disrespect, then she is not going to automatically go into marriage respecting and honoring your position as her husband and as the head of the home. Her looks will fade, but if she shows her father gentleness, honor, and respect, you can expect her to treat you with gentleness, honor, and respect for a lifetime. Her looks aren’t guaranteed for even a day.
So what if my boyfriend’s mom is not available? Or, how can I tell how he treats his mom if she’s no longer living? What if my girlfriend’s dad suffers from mental illness and has verbally abused her? How can I look at their relationship as a mirror of how our relationship is to be? Circumstances such as these do alter your ability to evaluate.
My husband’s mother passed away before I had the privilege to meet her. In getting to know Eric, I looked at how he spoke about her, and how he treated other older women in our lives. He showed a great deal of respect for older women and that showed me a deep part of his character. If your boyfriend or girlfriend has an opposite sex parent that is not operating in a typical capacity (mental illness, etc.), find out who the other people were in his or her life who shaped them. Perhaps an uncle or an aunt filled the parental area that’s lacking? How does she interact with the older men in her life? How does he interact with the older women in his life? This may seem like a small thing, but it is unbelievably important.
If his or her parents are still married, watch how they interact. Our parents are our main role models for relationships. Just because someone’s parents have a dysfunctional relationship does not mean that he or she is doomed to repeat the parent’s mistakes; however, the norms created by our parents’ relationships do follow us into our own, and good pre-engagement counseling and premarital counseling is a good place to address these potential problems before marriage.
Once you are serious about marrying your boyfriend/girlfriend (or fiancée), spend a couple hours with his or her parents (without him or her around) to discuss the strengths and weaknesses in your potential mate. If his or her parents only have good things to say about him or her, that may be a red flag warning. Hopefully, the parents will give you a balanced and fair review of their child.
Are you impressed with how your significant other treats his/her opposite sex parent? What stands out about their relationship? Let us know in the comments below!