When you get married, you begin a new stage of your life. This means that the role your parents have in your life changes significantly. Here are some ideas for how to make that transition go smoothly.
The first step to keep your parents (and I'm talking about both sets of parents) from being too involved in your marriage is recognizing that when you married your spouse, you formed a new union and left the one that included your parents. The Bible counsels in Genesis 2:24, 'Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and cleave unto his wife.' This isn't to say that you love your parents any less or no longer honor them. You will still share your life with them, maybe seek the wisdom that they have to give, but they are no longer the ones you will turn to first and their opinion is no longer the one that counts the most.
Not so long ago, I was a new wife. In fact, we'd spent the last week on our honeymoon in southern Utah and we were just now finally driving the last stretch of highway to our first home together in Idaho. My husband (William) and I were each driving a separate car, following each other. And then, the next thing I knew, I was bumping along at a dangerous incline over the sagebrush. It still scares me to say it, but I fell asleep at the wheel and ran off the road. When the car came to a stop I looked around. William must've just gone around the bend ahead of me and no other cars were in sight. I was shaking as I scrolled through my contacts. I had to call home. My dad would know what to do about the car and Mom would cry with me for just a minute until the shock wore off. And then I paused. I was married now. Advice I had heard before was suddenly very applicable. In this moment of need, I needed to now turn to my husband. I took a deep breath, tried to sound brave and gave him a call.
It may be a small event, and it certainly wouldn't have ruined my marriage if I had chosen to first call my parents. But for me, it clearly felt like I was starting a new chapter in my life in which I would "cleave unto" my husband. Learn to turn to each other first, trust each other and make decisions together.
Be careful of what you say to your parents
Family Life Today's broadcast "Becoming One: God's Blueprint for Marriage," reminds couples to be very careful of what you share with your parents about how your spouse has disappointed you or hurt you. Your parents don't have near the grace to give your spouse that you have. You're their son or their daughter that they will naturally move to protect. They've been trained to do that for years.
Help parents understand their new role
If your parents don't seem to understand their role in this new relationship, sit down and set some boundaries. You might find that different topics trigger your parents to get involved. It might mean that you simply don't discuss finances or the way in which you choose to raise your children with your parents. Some experts advise that new couples move far away in order to have the space necessary to establish their own family unit. Either way, be willing to put in the investment with both your spouse and your parents to strengthen those relationships. It's not about the distance between your homes as much as it is the distance between your understandings.