Dear Rachel,

I have been dating a wonderful guy for a few months now and we are getting quite serious. Things are really wonderful and I feel confident that he is the person I want to spend my life with. Yet there is one huge problem. My parents are completely against the relationship even though they haven’t even met or spoken to him. I keep trying to get them to spend time with him and get to know him so they will understand how great he is, but they have written him off based on superficial judgments and won’t have anything to do with him. He has also tried to speak with them and they have refused. I want to move ahead with the relationship, but I also don’t want to do so without my parent’s blessing. What should I do?


Dear L.R.,

I am so sorry to hear that you are dealing with this issue as you find yourself getting ready for engagement and marriage. There is no decision more important or exciting than deciding to marry someone, and probably no greater time to desire your parent’s blessing and involvement. Yet it sounds like you may just need to move forward without them.

The first thing you must figure out is whether or not their objections are based in something concrete, or if they are putting other fears or their own issues on your which are not related to your particular situation. Your parents love you and want what is best for you, and if they disapprove of a situation, it is most likely because they feel they are trying to protect you from something they feel is negative. But while their motive may be good, it does not mean that they are right.

I am sure you know that one of the Ten Commandments is to honor your mother and father. And yet we find something very interesting. The Torah teaches us that when it comes to getting married, we are allowed to marry whom we choose, even if our parents disagree. This means that moving ahead in your relationship is not considered disrespect, and even more so, you are obligated to marry the person of your choice and who you feel is right for you.

It appears from what you describe that you have tried to speak to your parents about this man and have tried to get them to meet him. I would suggest you continue to do so, and also let them know how important it is for you to have their approval and involvement, but if they refuse to speak with him and get to know him, they will need to understand that you will be moving forward.

Your parents need to recognize that you are an adult, that you are doing what you think is best for you, and that you have found the person that you want to spend the rest of your life with. Simultaneously, you need to be open to hearing their concerns and to trying to understand if there is any legitimacy to them. For example, if they are concerned that he won’t be able to support you because he doesn’t have a stable job, then they have a solid concern. But if you know that he is responsible, that he has savings, that he is motivated and does have work, even though it may not be in the traditional 9-5 way, then you may not be worried. What is important is acknowledging their concerns, being honest with yourself if they really are problems, and if not, trying to explain to them and show them how the reality may be different then it appears to them at first glance.

If you know that this man is right for you, then the stronger and more upfront you are with your parents, the better. If you find that you are not telling them that things are progressing or hiding the relationship from them, because you know they don’t approve, then in the end you will be working against yourself and confirming whatever suspicions they may have. Part of being an adult and being ready to embark on such a major milestone in life such as marriage, is being able to face uncomfortable and difficult situations head on. Anything less only raises concerns that either you are not convinced that he is right for you or that you are not ready to move ahead.

Much luck with this situation. May you be blessed with clarity and strength, and if this man is everything you think he is, may your parents overcome their concerns and get to know him themselves, and hopefully see exactly what it is that you so clearly see!