Our daughter fell in love with and married a return missionary with all of the "right" characteristics. We, her parents and friends never had a good feeling about this relationship. I remember sitting in the temple holding onto my chair so I wouldn't stand up and say 'stop this it isn't right.' It only took about one month into the relationship to see that this young man had terrible mental illness problems which his parents nor he had disclosed . There was terrible abuse, mostly emotional, and complete denial on his and his parents part. We learned later that he had actually been excommunicated but rebaptized and served a mission???.
It was heartbreaking for we as her parents to watch this terrible suffering. We recommended and paid for therapy to no avail. After about three months we had her move back in with us and start divorce proceedings. In the Scriptures we hear of spirits breaking, this is one of the most painful experience I have ever gone through as I watched my daughter's spirit actually break. It was an absolute sin for the man and his parents to not disclose his mental illness problems before hand. And as parents, if you have that feeling that it's wrong, speak up even though "love is blind"!
We often put a lot of emphasis on those who are struggling with mental or emotional health issues and we should. However, the spouses and children of these individuals often face difficulties of equal proportions and also need support. Sometimes people with personality, mental and or emotional challenges can be violent, abusive, and self destructive. A future spouse has the right to know about these types of disorders so that an informed decision can be made and have all the facts. That's part of being "honest and true". Additionally if the future spouse decides to proceed with the relationship they will be better prepared to help their spouse with that knowledge.
I think it would be best for the son who is engaged to be the one to explain his history and issues to his fiance. And if he doesn't have the maturity to be forthright, then the parents should inform her. I married a person who had a number of mental and emotional challenges that I was unaware of prior to the wedding. These disorders persisted despite therapy, medications and being as supportive as possible for over 15 years. Our relationship ended in divorce. I wish I had a sense of what I was facing prior to marriage. I might have reconsidered had I had the correct information.
I disagree with this advice. My sister in law married a man who had pornography and sex addictions. His parents were fully aware and never disclosed any of it to my sister in law. They were hoping my sister in law would 'fix' their son. Shortly after their temple marriage, which should have never been a temple marriage, she caught him having cheated on her with multiple women that he would meet through Craigslist. He went through the repentance process only to keep cheating. She found out he had cheated again when she was pregnant with their first baby. This whole marriage has been devastating for everyone involved, especially the baby born into this situation. She divorced him before the baby was born. Her health was also put at risk because of his multiple sexual partners. All this just because the parents said nothing to my sister in law, withholding necessary information to help make the marriage successful, all in hopes that she would fix him after marriage. This was completely selfish and wreckless and could have all been prevented. Now, if she had been given this information beforehand she would have had been informed to make her own decision as to whether she wanted to take it in and proceed with the marriage. As it was she was left in the dark and spent many hurtful and damaging years in a horrible marriage.
I think it is a fine line the parents walk, because the child is likely to blame their problems on their parenting (I say this having raised a troubled son) even though they have other children that didn't have that child's problems. In our case, the relationship with that couple has been troubled from the beginning. I think that probably a meeting with the child should happen where the parents ask if they have been honest with the fiancée. In our case, a difficult child will be a difficult adult with bigger problems. Or they will have learned to manage them enough to be successful in life/relationships. There is no easy answer here. In our case, the couple is successful financially, were sealed in the temple and our son married the perfect girl for him I guess, a beautiful "princess" whose parents actually presented him with an actual silver platter at their wedding reception, so he knew he was getting a princess. Our relationship has never been easy with them, even after three grandchildren and 11 years, but he has managed to get a pharmacy degree after a horrible time in school due to several different problems. He attracts people like a magnet and has a good job & she is successful career woman as well. They seem to be good parents. He has struggled some with his testimony, which started in his teens. She seems to have a strong one which is good. Sometimes they are nice and sometimes they are not. Can't explain it any better. Both are good looking, great house, good jobs, beautiful family, have it all. What can I say?
This answer only makes sense if the son in question is a perfectly normal person with normal issues and the parents have been over involved. But it sounds to me from the letter that the son had extreme issues that the parents have been drawn into reluctantly. In the latter case, I think the answer should be much different. It is dishonest and cruel to fail to disclose serious emotional problems that will severely impact this girl's life. This is not an issue of letting go of ownership, this is an issue of having relevant information the fiance is entitled to know. She is free to do what she likes with the information, but the parents are not free to keep it from her.
Yes, my dear, you should warn your son's fiance. After you have done so, then follow the advice given above.
Our culture is not well versed in recognizing mental illnesses. A young women would readily perceive in her boyfriend a physical disability - a missing limb, deafness, or visual impairment - and could mentally account for the ramifications of these conditions on a future shared life together. But a young woman (or man) probably would not recognize a mental illness and its ramifications on a future life together. Things like depression, bipolar disorder, mood disorders, anxiety issues, inherited unhealthy family traits. We as a people tend to not be as educated on these and they are not so obvious.
If the blinders of infatuation are in place, these could be even harder to spot.
I think it would be very appropriate for a parent to develop a good relationship with a potential fiancée in the courtship process. Then, if the fiancée is open to receiving counsel, the parent could share, in a loving and supportive way, challenges they foresee that a future wife might need to address in a marriage to their son. Parents are experts in their children. It makes sense for them to appropriate wisdom about their children with individuals that need to know it (potential future spouses).
My mother-in-law hid from me the very serious mental disorders that ran in her family. My now ex-husband did not know of them and neither did I. When he began exhibiting symptoms I was too young and ill read to recognize mental illness. I did not get him the psychiatric help he needed because I did not know that that was what I was seeing in his behavior. She did neither of us any favors. I would have sought help for her son if she had been honest with me. I think your advice is 180 degrees off the mark.
My husband married an emotionally unstable woman after a short and distant courtship in1972. Her father was a physician and knew she exhibited bipolar symptoms and he had tried to get her some help. However, this information was not provided to my husband. After 17 years, 7 children and years and years of therapy she left him and the older kids. The kids have been negatively affected. He was a broken and exhausted man. We have been married 25 years now and still deal with her occasionally. She has continued to decline mentally. The effects on the adult children is still evident. I think ethically the parents need to have a frank talk with both of them and recommend they make for a very long engagement.
I have a friend whose son married a completely narcissistic person whose father tried to warn him before they married, by simply saying that "she had a very unique personality. You need to be aware of that before you marry her." (two short phrases of warning, that's all, not clearly stated or described.)
After they married he told his new son in law he must sever the relationship with his mother and father and cleave unto his wife. He was only to call his mother on Mother's day and Christmas for 20 minutes.
The train wreck marriage has been horrid and continues with this young man's life being destroyed and his parents devastated.
Therefore, I respectfully disagree with this counsel not to "specifically," clearly, and honestly explain to her that he has major emotional issues. Had this young man the "choice" - clearly, then it would have been his decision.
This is not the only experience we have had with nightmare marriages. Please tell her so she can make and "informed" decision.
I wish this question had another response where the therapist addressed the needs of the future wife to have a successful marriage and the desire of this mother to support her in that challenge.
Part of her concern was the short time the couple had known each other before getting engaged. The scriptures tell us the importance of counting the cost before committing to an endeavor that you might not be able to finish. There are enough unhappy and broken marriages already. Would the therapist also recommend a mother not to warn her future daughter-in-law if her son had an undisclosed addiction? Such information would not automatically break up the relationship, but would help her make an informed decision and prepare her to seek support as challenges arise.
Don't you think that she will feel betrayed when something happens (and it most likely will at some point in their life) and neither her husband nor the parents told her of his medical condition? It has the feel of dishonesty going in to the marriage when something that big is not disclosed. I think she has a right to know, and the husband has a duty to disclose, and if he does not, then the parents should disclose it. After all, if roles were reversed, wouldn't you want to know?
This was a good reply, but I felt one thing might have been left out. Yes, the young man's parents need to pull back and let him get on with life and be there for when he asks, but on the other hand I would not think it wrong for them to meet with the young woman and give her some background she may need so that she can decide how she will help her new husband through life. They could then tell her that they are not going to try to tell the young couple what to do, but "we will be there for advise and help that is asked for." In doing this they would be showing their concern while establishing that they are not going to try to run things.
I understand the fine line being walked here. That being said, my son married a woman who appeared to be soft-spoken and kind-hearted. It wasn't very long into their marriage before she started showing signs of what was later diagnosed as a very serious behavior disorder. The trauma my son and their young daughter suffered before he left the marriage was beyond anything our family could have imagined. I wish his ex-wife's father would have given my son some type of warning--we learned belatedly that in the past his ex-wife's father had attempted to 'cast Satan out' of his ex, and had to deal with what her father knew were very unhealthy behaviors. My son has had to seek counseling and still struggles in relationships as he has tried to move forward with his life. It may not be the best analogy, but if someone had a serious physical health issue or a serious financial issue that would certainly impact the marriage, I think most would agree it would only be fair for the future spouse to be aware of it. My son (and our family) have the same concern as the parents who wrote this question for the future spouse--and future children--of his ex-wife.
I do not agree with this answer. My son married a woman who had hidden her mental problems until after the wedding. From the wedding night onward, his life turned into a nightmare. The marriage lasted less than 3 months. Not only did her family keep her instability from him, they cancelled plans to commit her, thinking they had passed the problem onto him. Without more information on this particular young man's difficulty, a blanket piece of advice to say nothing and trust all will turn out okay is unfair to both families.
This answer makes me very, very anxious. I know of two instances, very close to me, where a young woman married someone who turned into someone very different only days after the sealing. A facade was presented to her which dropped as soon as the wife was secured, and parents knew the husband had issues but didn't share them.
Everyone deserve to know the entire story of who they are marrying, even if the past is in the past, because it never stays there--it always comes back again. Stress, anxiety, some other minor disaster--the past behavior flares right back up, shocking the bride who thought she married differently.
Maybe these marriages were good for the husband, but for the wife, these women feel trapped and miserable. One has ended in a divorce, the other still plods on with the wife falling deeper and deeper into depression.
Never keep secrets. Never.
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