The day you plan, dream and somewhat dread has arrived…your child is getting married! It happened to me just last weekend. With every detail finally in place, my husband walked our daughter down the aisle to begin her new life as a Mrs.
First of all, how in the world did I get this old? It seems as if just yesterday I was changing her diaper and looking for her retainer in the trash can.
The day was beautiful and so was she. It was perfect and a fabulous time was had by all. I often caught myself standing back taking it all in and at times felt like I was in a movie watching it all happen. Surely this is not real.
As she danced with her father, the tears rolled down my face and it became clear: a new chapter of parenting was beginning.
This shift in our relationship has been developing since she left for college. I feel we have navigated this transition well, and it must be due to the fact that she is an independent, capable, and strong-willed young woman. Over the years, we have had the opportunity to develop a great relationship with the equally independent, capable, and the strong-willed young man she married.
Do you see a pattern here? Together, these two make a pretty formidable team, and I believe they will accomplish anything they set out to do.
Rewriting the roles
What has worked for our relationship has been a willingness to step back, guide, and provide a soft place to land when needed. I like to think we are close and communicate well with one another. I truly think that this approach will continue to serve us well and maintain the strong bond we have with both my daughter and her husband.
Nonetheless, I still went online and searched "relationships with your married children" to see what the experts say. That is what you do, right?
Tips for parenting newlyweds
- Only give advice if they ask for it and remember, it's just a suggestion - they can accept it or reject it. Don't take it personally.
- Help out financially when asked directly. When tough times come they may or may not ask you for help. Decide ahead of time with your spouse/partner how you will deal with it if it arises.
- Avoid putting your values and standards upon them. Let them establish their own traditions.
- Give them privacy and try not to ask too many probing questions. Please, please, please, do not ask them "When are you having kids?"
- Respect and do not belittle their decisions. If they make mistakes, ditch the "I-told-you-so" attitude. Sometimes the best lessons come from working through the mess.
Remember to continually cultivate and nurture the relationship with your married child and their spouse, and most importantly, love them through it all.