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Help! 20 y.o. daughter wants to get married

Janie

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My 20 y.o. daughter just called and announced that she is engaged and wants to get married as soon as she graduates. She's a college junior--a wonderful girl, very good student, always had big ambitions. Now she says she is engaged to a guy she's been dating for less than a year. He is not a college student and has no interest in going to college. He works in a restaurant in the town where her university is located. I've met him twice and he seems like an OK guy. But had no idea they were "serious" enough to discuss marriage. In fact, last week she said she had no intention of getting married.

Help, what do we do and what do we say? Her father and I both think this will be a disaster if they go through with it. We've both told her to wait. I don't want to alienate her by coming down too hard. Any TUGgers have experience with this?
 

Jbart74

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If she's a junior now, that means she's got a year and a half until she graduates. I'd let her figure out on her own over that time whether this is what she really wants. Let her realize on her own and hope for the best, in either outcome.

JMHO of course.
 

Patri

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At least stall her that she should wait a year after graduating, because it will be very stressful to plan a nice wedding while still a student, going through graduation, getting a job, etc. Encourage her and the guy to discuss finances and decide how much they should have saved before they wed, and how will they earn it? If she doesn't have money sense, work through the realities of living on your own, and the lifestyle she expects to have. Can they afford it? Will his lack of education hurt their future?
And both should feel very comfortable with the family of the other, since they will become part of that family. If there is any tension, it will affect the spousal relationship. Say you and his parents need time to get to know the opposite child.
Eeeh, good luck.
Our boys married young (22) and the girls were 20 and 21. I would have preferred they wait a few years, but they had dated for a long time and were right for each other. Remain calm, he may be all right, and you don't want to say or do something that will haunt you. :ignore:
 

falmouth3

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If you try to convince her it's a bad idea, she'll likely cling more firmly to him. I"d suggest that you just ask that she does wait until graduation. That gives her time to mature and think about life. But you also need to keep in mind that he may indeed be "the one" and you'll have to learn to accept him. Good luck.

Sue
 

ladycody

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If she's a junior now, that means she's got a year and a half until she graduates. I'd let her figure out on her own over that time whether this is what she really wants. Let her realize on her own and hope for the best, in either outcome.

JMHO of course.
I would agree with this. I'd actually be very supportive...even enthusiastic...but maybe let her know that you are unable to financially assist in a wedding until the summer after her graduation. This would postpone early expenditures that might be wasted in the event that things go sour and...in the event that it actually occurs...you will have been great and supportive so should move forward with a positive relationship...and it will give her a bit of breathing room to find a job and get acclimated as well as give you some time to financially prepare (even if this isnt an issue for you...she doesnt need to know that). :D
 
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dougp26364

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Unless the guy is a drug addict, thief or other social outcast, I'd say congratulations. Time is a magical thing with younger people and the mistakes we think we can see they don't see coming.

If you don't think she takes everything you say, positive or negative, back to her fiance, you're likely mistaken. Even though you have reservations about them as a couple I wouldn't poison any future relationship with a knee jerk reaction that might possibly be wrong.

Once their grown and out of the house, it seems to me that the best you can do is hope that the knowledge and values you taught them while they were growing up have taken hold. Let her go and let her grow. It might be painful but it may be the best that can be done. At some point you can't control their life or decisions without doing great damage yourself.
 

AKE

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I wouldget her to start thinking a bit more... e.g. Ask her how she is planning to pay for the wedding? Where will she live afterwards? How is she going to pay for that? Health care? What are her expectations 10 years down the road versus his? Where does she want to be in 30 years (and does she see him following the same path?) Doe she want kids? Does he? Can thier salaries support kids and a lifestyle that she is accustomed to?

20 is way too young to get married, and especially to someone who doesn't appear to havethe same aspirations. I think the stats are that 40+% of first marriages end in divorce and basd on your description, it does not sould like it has a great chance of success.
 

ondeadlin

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If you generally believe your daughter has good judgment, you should trust her. Congratulate her. Wish her the best.

Everyone in a family typically knows how the other person feels, so you can be sure she'll expect you to talk her out of it. She's waiting for you to ask her to reconsider, if she's sure, etc., if not completely oppose the marriage. Doing any of those things would be a big, big mistake that will have a ripple effect for years. Even if you succeeded in getting her to call off the wedding, she'll resent that fact and blame you - possibly for decades - if the relationship goes bad.

My advice would be to smile and embrace your potential son-in-law. The upside to that decision is A) if they really do get married, and it works, you've laid the groundwork for a great relationship, and B) if they don't get married, it's not your fault, or C) if they get married and it doesn't work out, there isn't going to be any joy in saying "I told you so" anyway.
 

Icarus

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Why do you think it will be a disaster?

From what you said, she's waiting until she graduates, which is a while, and she's a good kid.

It's tough being a parent, isn't it?

-David
 

Mydogs2big

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Being in love is great! Don't damper it at all, be excited for her and share how you have felt in the past. Then she will be more receptive to your gentle little suggestion that she is so smart to take time to notice any red flags before getting married. And that they are so responsible to take the time to let the new rush of attraction slow up enough to examine the "CHARACTER" of the other. After all, it is only the character of the other that will let love flourish.

Since you have time, and you've embraced their plan; planting the seed to watch for red flags will be in the back of her mind as time goes on and you have the opportunity to put light on subjects such as "well she should have known he wasn't a man of integrity when they were dating and he went into collections for his credit card" "She knew he was irresponsible and lied to people when he'd call in sick and wasn't, what did she expect?" or "I can't believe that person is complacent staying right where they are in life at their age, I wonder if he has a family depending on him"

If there is no rush (suggesting insecurity) then maybe over time after pondering all the red flags and good character aspects, he will pass the test and truly be the right one. In which case you will be happy and they will love you all the more for it.
 

Keitht

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My 20 y.o. daughter just called and announced that she is engaged and wants to get married as soon as she graduates. Her father and I both think this will be a disaster if they go through with it. We've both told her to wait. I don't want to alienate her by coming down too hard.
She's 20 now and says she wants to marry once she graduates. From what others say that means she will be 22 by then. I hate to tell you this - she is an adult now and even if you are able to control her life until she's 21 you won't be able to do anything about it then.
Just what are you planning when you say 'come down hard'? Kidnapping her and locking her away? Taking out a contract on the boyfriend? Cutting her off from her inheritance and telling her never to darken your door again?
I think it's the parents that need a reality check here, not the daughter. Sorry if that all sounds pretty harsh, but you don't own your daughter nor can you live her life for her. :mad:
 

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Oh, no Keith--what I meant by "coming down hard" was that I am concerned about sounding too negative when speaking to her about it. At this point, I am having a hard time feeling very positive. Yes, she is an adult and I realize that my feelings don't play into her decision-making on this matter. I just don't think she has any clue how difficult it will be for her--because she's in college, she's almost completely financially dependent on us now. (she does have a PT job for pocket money). She attends college in a small city where there aren't going to be a lot of job opportunities for her, especially with a recession on. And boyfriend wants to open a restaurant in that same city, which pretty much locks her in to staying there. It's hard for me to imagine how they will support themselves.

Thank you for all the wise advice, everyone: I dearly love my daughter and I don't want to drive a wedge between us. At the same time, there are some things about this that are deeply concerning because they are so out-of-character for her.
 

pcgirl54

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Congratulate her,tell her you love her and are glad she is waiting until after graduation as this will give them both time to save for the wedding and secure a job so they will both have less stress. It is shedding postive light without stating the obvious parental worries. Let her know that you are looking forward to meeting him.


I married at 20 going on 21 while DH was a junior in college. My parents were supportive and trusted my judgement. Dh's mother was not as kind and I cried many tears before and after my wedding from so many thoughtless comments she made. We have been married 33 years. BTW I also said I was not going to get married and after dating for 5 weeks he proposed and I said yes. I was 19 but knew in my heart that he was the person I wanted to be with. We did not tell his parents until much later because we were afraid they would get mad and they did. I quit college to save money for our wedding and furniture. I went back to college when I was 43 to finish where I left off. I know this is not typical but I wanted you to know that it can work.


As a parent I would feel the same as you if one of my sons was in the same situation. What you want to know is how to approach her as a concerned mother who loves her daughter.


Support from you is what she will remember especially if she has made sound decisions as a rule up until now. Support from you is what she'll need if things don't work out.

Best of luck as this progresses.
 
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cookie6512

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i married 3 months before I turned 20. I am 32 now and still happily married with 2 kids. getting married young isn't for everyone. its hard however, it can work. I would be supportive. I know she thinks the world is at her fingertips (being she's young), I did too! It isn't for everyone, getting married that young, however, maybe during the planning process of the wedding she may realize it isn't for her.

be supportive
 

JoAnn

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When I announced that I wanted to get married at 19, my Dad had a fit. He didn't like the BF because he wasn't 'citified' and we were too young, and BF still had a year to go in college. We married anyway and have been together 56 1/2 years. BTW, Dad finally came around and finally approved..years later, and after we gave him 3 grandkids. My In-laws were wonderful and treated me like their own.

Just get to know him a little better and hopefully things will turn out all right. Good luck.
 

applegirl

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I wouldget her to start thinking a bit more... e.g. Ask her how she is planning to pay for the wedding? Where will she live afterwards? How is she going to pay for that? Health care? What are her expectations 10 years down the road versus his? Where does she want to be in 30 years (and does she see him following the same path?) Doe she want kids? Does he? Can thier salaries support kids and a lifestyle that she is accustomed to?.
I would do all the above in a very positive, happy way, so she doesn't feel like you don't trust her or seriously doubt her judgement (even though you do). Tell her how proud you are that she is waiting until after she graduates to get married (and hope that she really does wait!). I agree with an above poster that if you scold her in any way she will cling stronger to him and possibly get married sooner.

During the next year or so you will have time for some thoughtful conversations with her about various things such as expectations for x, y and z. If she goes to church or synagogue you might encourage them at some point to go to marriage counseling. I know at our church that talking about crutical issues such as money, children and sex are all discussed to make sure the couple are on the same page and if they are not, well...it may be a red flag for your daughter and she will come to her own conclusions.

Bottom line is though, that if you want to have your daughter in your life, you will have to support her in the most loving way possible. This does not mean that you shouldn't voice your concerns and ask her hard questions. That's your job, so long as it's done in a way that won't alienate you from her.

Best of luck in this!

Janna
 

LUVourMarriotts

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If your daughter had recently said that she wasn't even thinking about marriage, maybe she is just really excited right now because she was asked. Maybe as time goes on, she will realize that it is not the right thing at this time. But, you may also find that the two of them grow closer together and are ready to move forward with the wedding. You may also find that you feel more comfortable with the situation. Hopefully you will see more of the guy to get a better feeling for the way he will/does treat your daughter.
 

Zac495

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I would support her emotionally, but not financially. I would say I was not in the financial position to help with a wedding with college expenses still in play - that I expected 10 years to recover (say this with a laugh). I might stick in that it's a bit early for marriage in my opinion, but of course I will support her decision and accept him completely.

You can't change affairs of the heart. If it doesn't work out, it's not the end of the world. She isn't a very rich woman who is about to be taken for all she's worth, correct?

That said, I would lean on my friends and not hold back my feelings there. Let us know what happens.
 

AKE

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I would make sure that she understands that financially she will be on her own ... for her last year in college have her pay her own way without any support... once she realizes how hard it is to save and get ahead she might reconsider and wait until she is a bit older. Yes, some marriages do work out but the very vast majority at that age do not.
 

Gramma5

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I don't think I'd expect her to pay for her college unless she got married while still in school. But,that idea alone will perhaps keep her from getting married while in college. But, the suggestion that you need a year to save for a wedding after the college expenses, may give her reason to pause and not rush to married right out of school. Of course, there is always the possibility she doesn't want a big wedding and will marry anyway. However,
most girls want that "BIG DAY" but want mom and dad to foot the bill.....
Being loving and supportive right now, is important for your relationship. It gives you time to have meaning full conversations over the next year plus.
My 23 yr. old son married young (his wife was 21) and we were not at all happy about his choice etc. But, we decided to just love her and pray that they would work hard at marriage. For six years our relationship was work. But as children eventually came and my son and his wife started to grow up and become responsible adults (yes, I know it took them awhile) they began to blossom and make good decisions! Now 13yrs later, they are doing great. He has gone back to school to finish college (oh, I forgeot to mention he didn't finish) and they are active in their church, kids school and community. We would never have chosen her for him, but they are happy and have a great marriage, so... things can work out. I give the credit to alot of prayer on my husband"s and my part and work on their part!
 
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mpizza

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Trust your daughter to make the right decision. My daughter went with a guy for six years, a nice guy, but I didn't think it would be a match made in heaven. I kept my mouth shut and found some redeeming qualities in him. When it came time to actually look for a ring and plan the wedding, my daughter said "I can't see living the rest of my life with him." She broke it off, it was a tough decision and she needed me to lean on, so I was glad I wasn't the enemy. She is now happily married to a wonderful guy.

If your daughter decides to stay with him, things always seem to turn out better than you think they will. As my 87-year old mother reminds me often, we're not always right when it comes to our children's life decisions.

Maria
 

applegirl

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I don't think I'd expect her to pay for her college unless she got married while still in school.


I completely agree with this and this is exactly what I was told when I was in college (that if I got married, they would no longer support me financially in any way). Fortunately for me, I didn't meet Mr. Right until after college during my career.

Encouraging her to save some money after college and explaining that you can't pay much toward the wedding if she gets married right away is a great idea. It might give her enough reason to pause and wait a little longer. Or the two of them might not care and have a bare bones weddding!

I sincerely hope your daughter plans on waiting until after she finishes college before going forward.

Janna
 

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We lived the same situation except that DD was older. We didn't show our concern because it wouldn't have made one iota of difference. The marriage lasted five years.......It was expensive for DD in more ways than one.
 

vacationhopeful

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I agree with LadyCody about not having the money for weddings and wedding planning until after the college bills are finished.

My sis at the end of her soph college year was going to transfer out of engineering to a teaching major as her BF was heading off to law school. My parents were FREAKING on the long distance phone line more than a week (not going to pay for this new major, etc). Our parents called me to travel at their expense 600 miles to talk her out of it (and sis & I were not close:doh: ). I asked for her dorm # and spent 5 minutes on the phone & changed her mind.

So, chilling is the only option and things will work out.

IMHO,
 

elaine

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I agree with others--

Be happy for her and show it--AND applaud her for understanding that finishing school [and getting a job] are top priorities. Support her and let her know that you "know" she has a good head on her shoulders---and leave it at that for now---trust me (as someone who was engaged my Jr. year in college--but got married to a different guy at 28 yrs old!!), A LOT can happen between now and then.
As adults, we all understand that differing educational and career backgrounds sometimes do not make for the best couple--some work out fine, and many do not---but to tell her, or even insinuate that will just push her more that way. Elaine
 
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