Daddy, I’m getting married!!!

Remember the movie, Guess Who is Coming to Dinner?

Remember the song by Paul Simon, Slip-sliding Away?

Remember the movie, Fiddler on the Roof?

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine told me his daughter (with fiancé) made that announcement, “Daddy, I’m getting married! Isn’t that great!”

My friend is divorced, successful business man, father of two children (a boy and a girl). His daughter is in the third year of college and intends to go to graduate school. She is a good student and expects (and is expected) to do well in grad school. She believes she will not have trouble finding employment after school. Her skills are and will continue to be in high demand.  She is also known as a serious, deliberate person; one who thinks through her decisions.

Her fiancé is 3 years older and a recent college graduate who is well established locally with strong working relationships with other colleagues in his field, in the area. He is a hard worker, has initiative and is eager to prove himself.

They dated on and off in high school. They have been dating steady for the past three years; since she began college. She loves him and all indications are that he loves her. They have been through some tough times and worked through them together, staying together as they worked through them.

All indications are that they are a level-headed couple with a bright future ahead of them.

Now….for those of you who are in this situation or fear being in it (a divorced parent of marrying aged children), this is a moment of great pause.

What do you say?

She/he wants you to say, “Wonderful. I am so happy for you!”  You may want to say, “Wonderful. I am so happy for you!” It would be easy to say, “Wonderful. I am so happy for you!”

But you hesitate. Why? Because….you are divorced. You have been there, done that. And you found out how life has a way of living itself, whether you notice it or not.  Life has a way of changing things. And no one told you about that. And yet, you are still responsible…for the consequences of those changes, for your reactions, despite your lack of experience in such situations,

What do you say then to this, “Daddy, I’m getting married!”

After A LOT of consideration, something like this occurred to me:

“Darling, I am so happy for you. You will make a beautiful bride and _____ will make a very handsome groom. You are in love and your futures look so bright!

I wish for you and _____ all the happiness in the world.

I also wish for you time for consideration about the decision you are about to make. The decision you are about to make is unlike any decision you have ever made before. It will be both a private and public decision that will affect you for the rest of your life. You will think about this decision nearly every day of your life…judge yourself by it and imagine others judging you by it.

You are going to change as you age. _____ will also. Despite these unknown changes, you will expect yourself to love and remain with _____. And he, you. Further, no one knows how you will change and you can’t prepare for such changing.

There will be times in marriage that you can’t see your partner; nor he, you; won’t know your partner, nor he, you; won’t know the right thing to do; can’t give any more despite there is more to be done; and can’t see a way around obstacles in your way.

It is in our very nature to pair off and everyone enters marriage this way.

If you want my permission or my blessing to marry, know that there is a big part of me inside saying, “No, don’t” because of what I have learned about marriage.  This is too big of an issue for you to ask someone else’s direction. It is your decision and your decision alone. All I can tell you is to consider what I have said about marriage and if you still feel the right choice is to marry, than know that I will support you, win or lose.”