November 3, 2018
You were surprised on why your relatives have judged your girlfriend so harshly after seeing her for the first time last week. You probably are asking on how they can be so critical of her without even knowing her, and how can they know better than you, you who have already been dating her for a few months.
I am writing to ask your forgiveness if you have been hurt. I know that by presenting her, you took a risk that your relatives may or may not like her. You still took that chance though, because you felt that she was already the right girl for you. In your mind, if she was good enough for you, then she should be good enough for everyone. Anyway, it was her, not us, who make you the happiest. Isn’t that what really matters?
Congrats cousin — you now join the ranks of many a star-crossed couples who face an opposing challenging world. Like Romeo and Juliet, any hardship will only make your love stronger, and your evil relatives will soon be proven wrong. It’s your life anyway, and as an adult, you can make your own damn decision. To be honest, I don’t even think you cared about whatever anyone thought, so long as she makes you happy. And to be quite frank, I think you’re right. The most important thing was that you like her, and to hell with everyone else.
Before you get even more upset, cool down a bit.
The initial disapproval is just a test. It can be heart breaking, but it doesn’t mean it’s the end. There is still hope that minds will be changed, and it all depends on how you react to such possibly devastating news. You had a right to be angry of course. As I’ve said, it’s not our business to meddle in your love life. But I would rather look at it in a positive way, and use this experience to truly test whether or not she is the right girl for you.
Our relatives was against Husband too when I first introduced them. They thought he was plain rude, a womanizer, and an irresponsible son who have constantly made bad judgments throughout his youth. The fact that he was annulled at a young age didn’t make matters worse. He would say the wrong things all the time, and offend everyone. We couldn’t even finish our pre-engagement counselling with Uncle Eee and Auntie Dee as they couldn’t believe that he was a true Christian. He had anger and alcohol issues. My brother felt he was not good enough as a man for me. My brother even slammed his hand on the wall after I told him to back off. Auntie Bee implored my mom to meet Husband’s first wife, and it was through this arrangement that I met See. It was initially awkward, but I am glad I met her. It put a lot of their concerns to rest.
Relatives do this because they love us. Sure, they worry because whoever we pick will taint our bloodline, but I also do believe from the bottom of my heart that they criticize so that we will as well. When we’re in love, we still wear rose-colored glasses and throw our cautions into the wind. That’s how infatuation work, and it can be a dangerous thing. It blinds us to our partner’s weaknesses and make bad character traits look like cute quirks. We forgive our partner’s dangerous habits easily and say they don’t matter, and that they will change. That it’s okay if our partner argues with us in a destructive and disrespectful manner, or if our partner’s family is crazy and dysfunctional. Anyway, we are marrying HER and not them, so these things doesn’t matter.
Oh please, let’s not delude ourselves.
If you are irritated with her, these things will irritate you even more through time. If she gets angry easily, she will be hot tempered once you get married. If she keeps on complaining about her life, she will also complain about you, and that’s unhealthy. These things will never go away because they already make who she is. If you don’t like her family, remember that they brought her up and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. If they’re dysfunctional, she’s cuckoo too but you just can’t see it.
That’s why we date.
The main goal of dating is to find out whether the (wo)man we love is truly the right person for us. Through the time we spend together, we see if they can make us truly happy beyond the dating stage, and whether they will make good partners, spouses, and mothers/fathers.
You say that she is already everything you need and want in a woman. Okay, prove it. Show us that your love is strong and unwavering. That she makes you a better person, and that life is much better with her around. That she will be very loving and caring towards you, and will not fight with you or ask you to isolate yourselves from your family and friends. The right woman should bring you closer to your family despite initial misunderstandings, not turn you against each other.
It takes humility and maturity to accept harsh criticism, ponder upon them, and to see whether it is something to be concerned about. It takes wisdom to respect the views of elders, even when we don’t agree with it. It is not bad to ask, “Why don’t they like her?” instead of attacking defensively and saying, “Who do you think you are to not like her? You don’t even know her.”
Honestly speaking cousin, it’s your life. And it’s not really anyone’s business to comment on who you choose to come into your life. As you’re now working and have your own income, your relatives have nothing that you want and they can all go to hell for all you care.
But before you make angry snap judgment, take a moment to really ask yourself why your girlfriend isn’t liked? What was it about her that everyone saw that they felt made her not a good match for you? Why did they think that by choosing her, you would be less happier in the future than if you choose someone else? Was it something she wore, something she said, or the way they acted that revealed to them something they felt would not be good for you in the long run? The assumption is that your relatives loved and cared for you. So what was it that they were warning you against? And how can they have seen this in just one meeting?
In Chinese, there’s a word, “看人” or “Kwa lang.” This is a skill that’s honed by meeting different types of people and knowing their stories. My dad was allegedly very good at this. Through just one meeting, he can already make a snap judgment about a person, and it was almost always correct. This uncanny ability was able to enrich him as he can decide very quickly whether this was a person who you could do business with, or who will fool you. I was afraid of this skill, as he oftentimes had an opposing view about people I was friends with. And it bothered me that in time, he was oftentimes proven right in his judgment.
What was it that everyone saw in her that made them feel that she was not the right person for me? Why would they say that while it’s my choice, I might end up unhappier if I ended up with her? What did they see that I cannot?
I think these are good questions to ask. I had asked the same questions when I dated Husband. To be fair, our relatives were correct in their assessment: There were many reasons on why Husband was not the right person for me, and that I deserved better. To be fair, he got rid of the drinking (alcohol) before we got married, so that was one burden off my back. He’s also changed so much since we married. He’s also proven that he’s a terrific father after Baby came along.
But I think that it was good we went through this exercise before we got married. Left by ourselves and without elderly counsel, I don’t think our marriage would have been stronger. Even Husband had to change before he married me, and it was because I demanded that he should.
Though it was an uncomfortable time for everyone, I am still glad that our relatives criticized him then, he still kept an open mind with that. He didn’t blacklist or hate them, nor wasn’t he angry at them for saying such mean things about him. Instead, he understood and tried to prove everyone wrong. What should have destroyed us just made us stronger. What he is right now is due to the trials we went through as a couple. If he wasn’t a good partner then, he was a good partner now because of our relatives’ feedback. And I am very thankful and blessed as a result.
At the end of the day, it’s your life.
You get to decide who you allow inside your life, and who to remove from your life. And before you make any snap decisions on removing your relatives from yours just because they don’t like the girl you’re dating, ask yourself if it’s just your relatives who don’t like her. Does your parents like her, like really like her? Does your friends who have known you for decades like her, as in really like her? Is she like your mother, Auntie Edwina? Will she make a good wife, mother and life partner?
Now, ask yourself WHY.
Reflection is a gift that keeps on giving.
Date her if you must.
Marry her too if you think she’s the best girl for you now and forever.
But choosing the (wo)man you will marry is the most important decision any person has to make in their lives. Therein that one decision lays your happiness, your luck, your future, and your children’s future.
If you choose her, still invite us to the engagement and wedding. Blood runs thicker than water, and it’s laughable and silly if you discard your relatives just because of a woman.
But if you can, pray. Think very carefully. Ask yourself why. Ask other people why. Therein lies the answer. Then decide accordingly.
Good luck, cousin. This is your first time to be in love, and hopefully, it won’t be your last. May you make the right decision for yourself, and may she make you very happy if you do choose her. We wish you only the best in whatever life has to offer.