One might wonder how this crossed my mind in the scope of travel but this is the cool thing about a personal blog, I can write about whatever crosses my mind. You can read Part 2 Here.
Not feeling so well today I opted to do a little reading on my smartphone and came across a couple of very interesting articles. The first When Friends And Romance Mix is a great article about how friends can influence your relationship. There’s one pivotal point not covered here and one in my opinion that is even more important and that is family. I think most people know how good or how bad it can be if family approves or disapproves. If not, let me clarify. Many years ago I was engaged but his family nor mine approved of the relationship and not for reasons you might think. His family wanted someone for him that had parents and grandparents that were college educated with degrees. And if she had siblings they too needed to have a college degree(that wasn’t an issue, I’m an only child) and she had to come from a good family that lived in a nice upscale neighborhood. Essentially, they wanted her parents to be well off. My dad had done very well for us. My Mom was a stay at home Mom doing only minimal outside work instead taking care of the family. This didn’t sit well with my fiance’s mother. She had a full time job outside the home and expected the same for any woman her beloved son was going to marry. My parents disapproved of my fiance from the beginning. Their argument, they didn’t like his job. To make matters worse his brother didn’t like me and my extended family wasn’t fond of him. As you can well imagine the squabbling and fighting soon began and it was bad. My fiance thought I needed to be away from my parents who were possessive and controlling and his parents were the same way. Neither one of us were willing to tell our parents where to go and break contact. It’s hard to break blood ties regardless of how dysfunctional they are. Our parents weren’t the kind of people that allowed limits to be set and they didn’t accept responsibility for their actions. Eventually we broke up. The pressure was too much. But that didn’t end our parents dysfunction. It just translated to someone else.
Another good example: My ex husband and I met a few years ago after my Mom passed and finally parted ways two years ago due to his alcoholism. In this scenario my dad really liked my ex and that heavily influenced me staying as long as I did. My ex was the first man my dad ever approved of and liked. After my dad died my uncle confided that he didn’t like my ex and tried to tell my dad nor did an aunt. My ex once said that while my dad was alive he was the glue that held us together and he was right. Albeit a very dysfunctional relationship because when I got tired of the drinking I’d leave for days at a time. Somewhere deep I thought he’d change.
The point being, that family have an even bigger impact on the relationship than even friends. They’re truly the ones that can make or break it. Whether it’s good or bad. It’s easy to get rid of a negative, overly pessimistic friend who is bringing a good relationship down and if you have such a friend it’s wise to talk to her about the reasons for her dislike. If they’re unfounded tell her you can’t tolerate the negativity and if it persists discontinue the friendship. But make sure her reasons are truly unfounded. If she is a best friend she may see things that other friends might not.
But what do you do when family refuses to accept a good relationship? I have no real good advice for that one. My parents didn’t live long enough for me to have to exercise it. Most men that met my parents ran for the hills as soon as they met. You can tell your family that you won’t tolerate negativity and if it persists you will abolish the relationship. There’s a good chance they won’t listen. The downside is you have to make good on the threat if they refuse to listen. The other downside is if the relationship doesn’t last you could be estranged from your family for years or maybe until they die. This is something you have to tread very lightly with because you don’t want to make the wrong choice. This is a situation where you might want to not only seek pastoral counsel but a private therapist as well. But understand they are fallible. A therapist helped me alot when it came to dealing with my ex husband as well as a roommate. It helped me reign in some of my angry outbursts and hotheadedness to deal with them in a more civilized way. And believe me dealing with my ex husband civilly is close to impossible.
And of course aside from counsel, seek advice from trusted friends, try writing down your thoughts to keep you on track when talking to family and if they try to engage an argument(my mother did this repeatedly especially after her stroke and would go on four hour scream fests) stick to your letter, stay calm and on point and walk away if they refuse to have a courteous conversation. And pray for guidance.