How to discourage an ill-advised marriage without alienating the person?
March 9, 2014 10:53 AM   Subscribe

My partner's 18 year old sister wants to marry her boyfriend of one year. They both live at home with their respective parents, are not planning to pursue post-secondary school, and are financially insecure (she does not work, he works part time). They have recently converted to a fundamentalist version of a new faith, and their plan is to rely on her disabled mother who would lose her benefits by caring for them - the mother is against this but of course loves her daughter. Their religious community is encouraging them (but not offering financial aid). What can we do to support her but not her decision?

We live in Canada and they are obviously going to do this. His parents disapprove. My partner is trying to talk to her respectfully and show they like the boyfriend and have no issues with the religion, but she is in love and feels my partner doesn't understand. Complicating the matter, her boyfriend has discovered a fundamentalist religion and she has converted so he will stay with her. Neither is knowledgeable about the faith (which I am familiar with having grown up in the culture) and to me it seems they are getting married to resume intimate relations.

What can we do to get through to her that this is a poor idea, without making her feel we are against her religion or her boyfriend (because we aren't)? We don't want her to ruin her life by rash decisions and don't want to end up financially subsidizing her decisions, but we also don't want to turn our backs on her in case she ever needs our help. Our ideal outcome is that she should wait, our logic is if he loves her he will still be there in a year or two, and also that she should at least go to college and/or learn to be financially independent in case he can no longer work, or he leaves. Finally we also feel she should learn more about her chosen religion prior to marriage. My partner is more open about it and I am open to a more progressive version of her faith (I have seen fundamentalist version first hand).

Does anyone have experience with this? Is there anything at all we can do without being patronizing? I talk to my partner about this and my partner speaks to her with what I say in mind, as I feel it is not my place to directly involve myself. If you made a similar decision to hers did it work out? Are we being too hard on her? Is there something you wish someone said to you? Please help. We love her very much. While we want her to make her own choices we don't want her to jeopardize her future. I did find this post but do not think the situation is the same:
posted by partly squamous and partly rugose to Human Relations (27 answers total)
I feel like the thing you can do most to help, here, is to guide both of them towards things that are going to allow them to actually be financially independent. Getting married young is often a mistake, but so are doing lots of things while young, and sometimes it's not, and mistakes are recoverable. But I'm a little confused, if the mother's going to lose her benefits, what they're going to do at that point? And, anyway, look, I know plenty about fundamentalist Christianity, if not other fundamentalist religions, and I will say that married couples are generally expected to be self-supporting, no matter what their age. They are not going to be able to raise a family on one person's disability check, regardless.

So at that point--some books on budgeting. Some conversations about things she can do to make money, including from the home, which is something most flavors of fundamentalism are okay with, and which would provide her with some skills and income if something goes wrong. Conversations about ways to help her boyfriend transition to full-time work at a living wage, whether that involves college or not. Some such groups have a problem with college, but the trades are also viable career choices and don't involve nearly as much debt.

At that point, if they wait, they wait. If they don't, they don't. But the picture they get from their family outside the church is that these are people who love them and care about them and are really helping to get them off the ground, that these are people they can turn to if there's a problem. And if she sees people being helpful and sees how budgeting for a family works and still sees that her boyfriend refuses to make action towards being the sort of person who can support that family... that might give her a second thought. Or else maybe he'll totally step up and they'll be fine. Either way, it's easier to stay the good guys, for you two, and that way if she ever needs out, she's already got you.
posted by Sequence at 11:12 AM on March 9, 2014 [7 favorites]

You need to leave the marriage and religion issues aside and tell her "You're an adult, I fully respect your right to make choices and have faith you're making the smartest decisions for yourself." While knowing that, frankly, there are worse tragedies than a stupid marriage at 18 that's over by 20.

I think where you need to draw the line is by saying "If you're independent enough to make that kind of adult decision for yourselves, you guys also need to be living independently, with a plan to support your new family unit. Do you need help making a plan, or what do you guys have in place?"
posted by DarlingBri at 11:17 AM on March 9, 2014 [22 favorites]

Oh, and you might also phrase higher education for her as something that she could do even if she's intending to stay home with kids, especially if you've got some inexpensive local option. I.e., if you can get him looking into becoming a plumber or electrician, say, you can point out to her that an accounting degree would let her learn the business side of things so she could handle the books someday when he's running his own business. If things work out, that really WOULD be a good combination, so you're not being disingenuous.
posted by Sequence at 11:21 AM on March 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

I live in an area with that I consider to be a pretty fundamental/conservative religious group. The average age of marriage around here is shockingly low, something like 22 for women and 24 for men. There are a myriad of reasons for this - many religious, many cultural, and as far as I've seen and heard, never based on logic.

I've personally known a lot of people who have gotten married in these circumstances only to regret it 5-10 years later. The problem is, there isn't a single thing that I or anyone else could have said to them to make them change their minds. If anyone here can tell you what logical argument you can make to stop these sorts of things, they are far more brilliant than anyone I've ever met.

As for what you can do: the best thing at this point would be to help her understand that if she does go through with this, there is still a safety net available to her and that she isn't stuck in this marriage forever. I've known a lot of women who entered "conservative" marriages only to feel trapped due to no career/job options or social stigmas - let her know that if she ever does want out, she'll have people who are ready to help her.
posted by _DB_ at 11:22 AM on March 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

I talk to my partner about this and my partner speaks to her with what I say in mind, as I feel it is not my place to directly involve myself.

What kind of relationship do you have with her? Assuming you are female (sorry if I'm wrong about that), it's possible that you might be able to make more of an impression on her than her big brother.

Although I think it's still probably best if you don't go in trying to change her mind. I think the best you can do is make sure that she knows you're there for her in case she does have doubts, etc. I think it's also reasonable to make sure she knows that you have experience with her new religion and that you're willing to talk with her about it if she has questions or concerns.

With that in mind, if you don't already hang out with her one-on-one, you might consider doing so. She'll probably see through it at first, but it's worth a try. If she does go through with this marriage, she'll need a friend who's older/wiser and has experience with her religious community.

Also, I know several women who are now in their thirties and fairly secular who got married way too young in fundamentalist religious communities and they are fine now, with solid careers and full social lives and adult relationships. It's not ideal but it also doesn't have to be the end of the world.

One thing you may want to do is see if you can convince her mother not to support them. It seems like that would be fairly disastrous for her personally (and thus the family) and might put the brakes on their plans a bit.
posted by lunasol at 11:25 AM on March 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

What kind of relationship do you have with your partner's mother? Frankly, it sounds like she's being set up to be taken advantage of. If she said no to having them live with her and/or depend on her financially that might put the brakes on things.

If you have a close relationship, I would actually sit down and talk with her? Does she need help figuring out what to say to her daughter? Does she feel equipped to say no to her daughter and the fiancee? What steps does she want to take to help her daughter be financially independent? Would the mother like to talk to a social worker who can help her understand her rights and how to protect herself?

If you can help the mother, then you may end up helping the daughter.
posted by brookeb at 11:28 AM on March 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

I think you need to communicate to your partner's mother. She may love her kids, but she shouldn't have to subsidize her daughter's bad decisions. She'll probably be easier to convince, but if she's determined to "help", then that's on her.

But you know what? There are worse things in the world than getting married young. Hopefully she doesn't have any kids.

On any bigger level, I'd stay out of it. Let people make their own mistakes. That's how you learn sometimes.
posted by inturnaround at 11:33 AM on March 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Someone should talk to them about birth control and planning their family. I'm not sure if that person is you, or your partner, or a parent, or someone else, but please address that. These kids are primed for baby making.
posted by juliplease at 11:33 AM on March 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

My old pastor would have told them, "no money, no honey."

I would encourage them to figure out how to gain financial independence. Not much is harder on a marriage than financial issues. Are you sure their faith leaders aren't encouraging them to get finances in order? I would be shocked if not.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:35 AM on March 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

their plan is to rely on her disabled mother

I think this is where the family should get involved. As a legal adult, what faith community she participates in, and who she marries are her choice. However, it sounds like she's still planning like a child or teen--that is, she's assuming that she can rely on her mom to take care of her.

So, I suggest that your partner and his mom (or is her mom not also his mom?)--anyway, the young woman's mom and another caring family member--sit down with his sister and say, basically, "It sounds like you really want this marriage to happen, and that's something you have every right to do. It also sounds like you're expecting that you'll be able to continue to live with and be financially supported by your mom, and that's not going to be possible if you're married. This isn't about opposing the marriage, it's about creating a sustainable plan. Your mom has the resources to support you financially and have you live with her while you're getting ready to make adult decisions, such as college, career, and marriage. Once you get started with those decisions, the arrangement needs to change. If you were to choose college, it might make sense for you to continue living at home. If you were working, it would make sense for you to be saving up and have a timeline for moving into your own apartment. If you're choosing to get married, you and your fiancé/husband need to make a plan for living together and supporting yourselves."

Also: brookeb's suggestion of getting advice from a social worker or other person who could advise her mom about resources and benefits is fantastic.
posted by Meg_Murry at 11:35 AM on March 9, 2014 [26 favorites]

If there was anything you could do to change their minds, I would offer suggestions leading to it.

But you can't. Rather than drawing their anger, your best bet is to stay out of it. Sorry, but hey won't listen to any amount of reason.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:38 AM on March 9, 2014

Make it clear to her that she will be cut off. From money, from family, etc. She's being a child and should be treated like a child.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:44 AM on March 9, 2014

I would be frank and tell her that what she is doing is going to end up costing the people around her who are going to have to pay for her decision, which isn't fair. If she and her boyfriend aren't old enough to take care of themselves financially, they aren't old enough to be getting married. I would guilt her and use a little tough love, like "What the hell are you doing? This isn't fair." Relying on a disabled mother who is going to lose her benefits if they get married is beyond selfish. This girl needs a dose of reality and someone needs to tell her how shitty she is being.

I wouldn't even mention the religious stuff. That needs to be dealt with separately or it will sound like it's about the religion, which it isn't. This talk about putting off marriage needs to be about the financial situation.

I think you're too concerned with sounding "patronizing." If she wants to be an adult and get married, she needs to get approached like she's an adult. What she is doing to her mother and the people around her is not OK. She needs to know that.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:45 AM on March 9, 2014 [6 favorites]

I think you're walking a fine line between talking to her like an adult and pointing out the obvious problems with her getting married and pushing her so hard that it makes breaking off the engagement harder than it would be otherwise because you've made it them against the world.

Even if she knows in some part of her that this is a really bad idea you have to leave her the room to be able to admit it and still feel like she's in charge of her decisions. Honestly I would focus very practically on how they're going to support themselves. Not telling her that the marriage or the relationship is a bad idea but re-iterating that you like the boyfriend but that its a serious commitment and helping her research jobs/opportunities/housing so she can see the reality of the situation for what it is. And if the reality of it is that she can't live at home or your family cannot afford to support them she needs to know that too not in a way that makes her feel berated or manipulated but in a very matter of fact way so she can honestly weigh her options.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 11:54 AM on March 9, 2014

Leave the religion out of it. Leave the education out of it. Those things aren't actually anyone else's business, no matter how appalling they actually are. But the part where her financial plan is to - what? defraud the government until they find out and cut her mother's benefits off? - that's the part where everyone in the family - her mom, her brother, everyone - needs to present a united front and explain to her that she won't be allowed to drag the family down with her. She can do what she wants (and she will) but she needs to understand nobody else is going to pay for it. She's old enough to get a job, and she'll have to.

And I'd figure out who the authority figure of her religion is and talk to them, to see if they can help make this clear to the kids. (But talk to them first before you bring them into it, to check the crazy level.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:04 PM on March 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

I'm from a fundamentalist background. I've seen lots of ill-advised marriages. I've never seen anyone talked out of it. Even an intelligent, relatively level-headed adult will leap into a not-great marriage with someone who isn't really a good fit for them when sex is forbidden until marriage, ignoring all advice from close friends and family. The good part is that people can recover. I've seen people divorce and start over and eventually get to a much better place. And I've seen people push through and work the marriage out. And sometimes what everyone thought was a Bad Idea marriage seems to be making both people happy.

Focus on protecting her mother. You can't keep them from getting married, you can't force them to get jobs.

(The one thing that did apparently work was separating the young lovebirds by moving the whole family to another state, or sending teenagers to live with relatives a long way off. But I don't think you are in a position to carry that out, and I doubt it would work these days).
posted by bunderful at 12:28 PM on March 9, 2014 [7 favorites]

IME, the best thing you can do is treat the marriage like a done deal, and start advising her on how to be good at it. Books on budgeting are good; depending on which fundamentalist version of which faith it is they belong to, budget and household management may be explicitly her job in her new role as a wife. Help her plan a budget for her new family; take her grocery shopping with the amount of money allocated for a week's worth of groceries and let her see what it purchases. DO NOT pepper that trip with negative words like "Are you sure you want to live like this? Can't you see how hard this will be?" Rather, emphasize what she'll need to do to make it work.

Also talk to her about the living situation. Being a wife means being an adult, and it means managing your life like an adult. There's nothing wrong with living multigenerationally; billions of people do that worldwide. But she needs to be prepared to be the master of her own house, not a child with her own room. Nobody should be caring for her; by taking this important step towards adulthood, she is taking up the mantle of being the carer.

As others have mentioned, plenty of people marry young into disastrous marriages and divorce 2-5 years later and everything is fine. The thing that can fuck it up is children, though. If her faith feels strongly about birth control, this may be a difficult discussion to have, but if you can, I would strongly encourage her to get some kind of long-lasting, safe, effective birth control like an IUD -- to the point of underwriting it yourself if you have to. Delaying childbearing until she's 23 or so at a minimum will be better for her, her husband, her financial security, her education, her health, and for every one of her children; you can find a whole shelfload of research that supports this fact.

You can't talk her out of it. The most you can do is tell her that you love her, trust her, and will support her, and try to keep her from getting pregnant immediately. It may be that a little material support in the form of education about what happens in a marriage AFTER the wedding will help encourage her to demonstrate her adulthood by choosing to wait.
posted by KathrynT at 12:32 PM on March 9, 2014 [7 favorites]

I think you have a long talk with your spouse about his family (in general). Sort them into categories of who is self-sufficient/drama-free and who will frequently needs help or has "issues". And then you say to your spouse: "Whatever happens, we are married and we can't let that stuff get between us. So let's set some firm limits of how involved we can get with our time, money, and resources." Get your spouse's commitment by making your own needs clear -- not to be financially burdened (or otherwise heavily involved) with "helping" siblings who aren't self-sufficient. Then when they ask for assistance (which it sounds like they will), be clear about your limits and follow-through with them. Having a united front with your spouse is the key to these family situations. You can't solve your in-law's issues but you can restrict how much impact they have on YOUR marriage. Good luck!
posted by 99percentfake at 12:43 PM on March 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

The way I would go about it is from a slightly different point of view.

Sit down with them, both you and your partner, and let them know adult to adult that it is absolutely not okay that they endanger the well-being of your partner's disabled mother. Forget about everything else. Make it about that. Nobody is against them getting married, you just want to make sure that Mom is not getting in trouble.

While you've got them, set out a budget. Sister's fiance makes X amount of money per month working part time. That means they can afford to spend [this much] on rent, food, gas, utilities, and other expenses. Then you can help them set some goals for their future.

Setting these things on paper is smart for any couple who are about to get married or move in together, but maybe this will help them see the errors in their thinking.
posted by TooFewShoes at 1:00 PM on March 9, 2014 [19 favorites]

What TooFewShoes said. Religion, getting married too young, etc etc--none of these are things you can easily change their minds on, and they may well resent you for trying.

But your mother-in-law's (or whatever term you prefer) well-being is a thing that is objectively wrong to fuck with, and has nothing to do with any of the religious issues. There needs to be a big conversation with her first, without the kids in question. Then a united front and as TooFewShoes said. Especially the bit about budgeting.

Mum needs to lead this discussion, and put her foot down absolutely and unambiguously that she will not support them--if they want to be adults they need to act like adults and support themselves, and she will not lose her necessary assistance in order to help them.

Sometimes loving your kids means saying no, if she's hung up on "I love my daughter and must support her."

While knowing that, frankly, there are worse tragedies than a stupid marriage at 18 that's over by 20.

I think there's a reasonable concern here that divorce is probably a no-no as it is with most fundamentalists. Which makes things a little bit more high stakes.

I hope that a splash of cold financial reality will help them open their eyes. In case it doesn't, when the family is having its discussion without them, you all need to agree exactly how far you will go to help them if/when they go ahead and get married anyway.

Try the safe sex talk but again, fundamentalists tend to be against any kind of contraception except pure thoughts so that may also backfire.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:47 PM on March 9, 2014

Somebody needs to get it through their heads that either
1. they're dependant children who are too young to marry and who depend on their families for support OR
2. they're independant adults who are old enough to marry, which also means old enough to support themselves.

This is absolutely an either/or situation: you don't get to sponge off Mom and still declare yourself free to take advantage of the privileges of adulthood.

Other than your SO, do they have an adult they listen to? You may not agree with their new church's pastor, but perhaps he can help make them see they can't have it both ways. Don't go to the pastor and knock his church, of course: tell him that you feel these two aren't ready to behave in a grownup fashion, and ask if he can himself do or can recommend any pre-marital counseling they should do before any wedding.

(Alternatively, how about their friends or --- if either one works --- a boss or teacher?)
posted by easily confused at 2:06 PM on March 9, 2014 [7 favorites]

100% agree with TooFewShoes' approach for the SIL and boyfriend. Focus on problem-solving and goal-setting, and avoid engaging with the beliefs or wedding plans on a substantive level.

Re the mother: like many parents concerned with their kids' choices, her enabling is likely blinded by love and hope, and haunted by guilt and fear. But you know, numbers are numbers. Ask her (gently) to provide answers to the practical questions ("with $x coming in, how is the electric bill going to be paid? What about x? How is this going to work?"). If she can't come up with answers at all, or they're unrealistic, remind her of reality, get her to think about odds.

FYI, quite a lot of Canadian teens/young adults feel economically disenfranchised and aren't optimistic about the value of a post-secondary education. I wonder if that might be in the background... in any case, I think it's unlikely your SIL would do well at college / university while all this is playing out. For now, at least, most Canadian higher ed institutions offer bridging programs and support for mature first-time students, and sometimes reduced tuition. She has time.
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:11 PM on March 9, 2014

Yeah, the mother of the sister is key. I wonder what she is thinking she will do for money without her benefits? Was her backup plan for rent your partner?

I agree with meeting alone with the mother, but also meet with his parents as well. And definitely meet with the pastor - if he is any good he has seen this pattern multiple time of young adults marrying basically for permission to have sex. But probably in the past the parents have financially supported the kids - emphasize that in this case the kids are considered adults and on their own dime and costing the mother her benefits. He may be hearing a different story from them.

I remember years ago on mefi there was a post that liberals consider it normal to grow up and then marry and that conservatives consider it normal to marry and then grow up. I couldn't find it but maybe someone else remembers it. It was an interesting article that may help you understand why the church is supportive and help construct arguments within that paradigm.

Although a discussion about the financial reality of adult life is a good tack, you can also appeal to what their plans for a wedding look like. Give them your mother's realistic budget for the wedding (I assume it is in the hundreds, not thousands) as well as what their expected contribution would be (personally I think it sounds like a three-way split between the two sets of parents and the new couple would be fair). Planning a monthly food budget is kind of abstract, but when the two of them realise the wedding budget includes hard compromises like EITHER flowers or food may make the reality sink in or motivate them to work to have the wedding and marriage they want.

You might want to go with her to sign up for Ontario Works (or whatever provincial welfare programme you have). It would hopefully add another layer of accountability on her (and would hopefully embarrass her that she is taking social services designed for those that CAN'T help themselves as opposed to those that WON'T help themselves). Is she not working because of the religion or is that an excuse? Can he not find full time work or is he not looking? Can you suggest leads for full time work for him? Sometimes these obsession with marriage comes about be aside their is nothing else going on - kind of like acting out of boredom. Fill their time with other activities and future options and maybe suggest an engagement with a date set a year or so in the future (maybe tie-in the need for the two sets of parents to save for the wedding and their inability to pay before then - and they have to stick with it!). Speaking of fathers, where is her dad? If he isn't in the picture can the FIL-to-be step into that role of looking out for her? Get to know her friends too and make them allies if possible.

Lastly, there is no need to castasophise. This isn't optimal in your view but nothing they are about to do will ruin the rest of their lives. Being judgemental and holding the "I'm an adult, you're just a kid" card over them will just make them more entrenched and isolated. If your MIL decides to ignore your advice, accept that and step back (and don't step up to financially support her or listen to her complain about the obvious consequences of her choices).
posted by saucysault at 4:39 PM on March 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I agree with the above, don't disagree with their choices, or treat them like children, but ask them what they are going to do when their living situation changes. Treat it like a fait accomplit that that they won't be sponging off the parent and ask her what the plan is. Tell her how proud of her you are she's going to cover rent and electricity and transport costs and everything else related to being an adult. Make it clear that as a married couple, it is up to them to support themselves and there won't be continual handouts, because that's what being an adult means, doubly so if they have kids.

Tell her you're excited to see her standing on her own two feet, and won't it be great that SHE GETS TO FULLY SUPPORT HERSELF AND IF SHE'S OUT ON THE STREET, THATS HER DECISION TOO! GO HER! Once she realises what reality could look like it may not look so appealing but she has to reach that conclusion herself.
posted by Jubey at 4:46 PM on March 9, 2014

On second thought, if her mother has been on disability for more than a year the daughter may be so wrapped in the helplessness of the poverty cycle that she can't conceive of getting a job/what being employed looks like. So hopping on welfare may not be the best move for her and instead reinforce that dependency on social services instead of her own skills. She has been out of school since last June, has she had no luck looking for work? A lot of entry level jobs are being taken by experienced workers, and she will most likely be passed over in favour of high school students looking for their first jobs because being unemployed for so long is a pretty big red flag. Can her church or community offer her volunteer opportunities to put on her resume and alleviate some of the angst I am sure she feels about appearing to be an adult and having the respect of other adults? What about teaching her to knit and donate what she knits and feeling valued for that? Or cooking in a soup kitchen (I'm trying to think of traditional "female" occupations that may meet her churches approval that don't include children because I suspect after the wedding doesn't make her feel grown-up she'll start getting baby fever). Basically, she probably feels (and has been told) she is a drain on society and you need to help her feel valued and want to contribute. Reach out to her pastor find find employment opportunities in the church (literally, like church secretary or a business owned by a congregant).
posted by saucysault at 5:56 PM on March 9, 2014

Where is this religious group while all this is going on? Unless they are a dozen weirdos meeting in the break room of someone's sister's lamp factory (or perhaps one or two success-pushing sects) I would expect the church to be providing support and counseling on both employment and the planned wedding.

Unless this religious group is sketchy in terms of exploiting their members or is people who are also not fully functional adults, you should guide this girl and her fiance to seek counseling.

The Christian fundies to whom I am related by blood tend to take a tough love stance in situations like this. (They would want the groom to enlist, for one.)
posted by Lesser Shrew at 12:28 PM on March 10, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you everyone - I am so grateful for all the excellent advice and sharing of new perspectives. I am very proud to be a member of this wonderful and helpful website.

I discussed everyone's contributions with my partner who sat down for a family meeting with his sister, mother and some siblings (one sibling is giving tough love and refuses to participate). Happily, the mother will be fine and protected from being taken advantage of, as the older siblings will not allow it, and the sister has decided she and her fiance will find their own apartment and pay their own expenses. So, one of our great fears (the mother suffering) is averted.

I found everyone's contributions helpful. The meeting focused on encouraging her to be self sufficient since she and her future spouse will be living on their own. I hope that even if the reality is that she quits working soon after getting pregnant, at least she will have that experience of self sufficiency.

I appreciated the advice about not focusing on religion or age but understanding that young people make mistakes and it could have been so much worse. I did not think about it like that before, but it is true. At least the man she chose loves her, would be a caring parent, is not involved in crime or substance abuse, and would never physically harm her. In many ways she has chosen a decent partner, and there are people older than her who make worse decisions.

I also appreciated the advice to consider the cycle of poverty that may affect her. Some of her friends cannot work much due to social assistance restrictions, so to an outsider who does not understand the health issues that prevent them from working, it seems like an easy paycheck. This is something to discuss with her in the future.

Unfortunately I do not feel I can talk with her for two main reasons: I am older than her and will come off like a parent, and secondly, I will lose my temper about her faith. I do respect and understand her choices but am so uncomfortable with the misogyny in the particular branch of faith she has chosen - I am afraid I will say something hurtful. This is a reason why we do not feel comfortable talking to her faith leader. The beliefs include women being obedient and not working outside the home, multiple wives, and the importance of having many children.

Thank you again everyone for the support and words of wisdom. I will be sure to update this thread when new developments occur, so others going through similar situations can learn about our experiences. I am so happy to be part of such a supportive and caring community.
posted by partly squamous and partly rugose at 11:38 AM on March 12, 2014 [5 favorites]

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