How Would You Advise...? Part I
I have four illustrations with four essential questions that should be asked for each illustration. This is the first one.
A twenty-one-year-old girl who is supporting herself and living away from home firmly believes that it is God's will to marry a certain young man. This girl's parents don't attend church. Both the girl and the one she wants to marry are Catholic. The girl's parents strongly oppose this marriage stating only that they don't think he is the right one for their daughter, and, therefore, that the marriage won't work out. Both the firl and her boyfriend feel that the marriage will work out.
1st Essential Question:
Did They Have Mature Attitudes?
The Parents of the twenty-one-year-old girl who disapproved of their daughter's marriage did so, among other reasons, because they detected underlying attitudes in both her and her boyfriend which would have been incompatible in marriage. One of those negative attitudes was a stubborn self-will. The parents sensed that each expected to be "the center of the stage". Neither had learned to submit to authority. They had no concept of "deference", which is regard for the wishes of another. A big step of correction could be taken by following her parents' wishes and waiting for marriage, so that proper attitudes could be learned by both the girl and the fellow. If, after a period of time, they still felt it was God's will to marry, it would then be a lot easier for God to Change the parents' minds.
2nd Essential Question:
Did They Discern Basic Intentions?
The basic intentions of the parents who disapproved of the their daughter's marriage were not to restrict her happiness but rather to help her achieve a lasting happiness. They intend to pass on to her the insights and lessons which they learned, perhaps the hard way. They wanted her to avoid unnecessary problems. They knew they themselves would be involved in her problems if she made the wrong choice in marriage. They intended to derive pleasure and joy from their daughter's happy marriage and looked forward to the possibility of a happy relationship with grandchildren.
3rd Essential Question:
Did they Design Creative Alternatives?
Alternatives For The Girl Who Wanted To Get Married Were:
- Discuss with her parents the qualities she should look for in a husband.
- Give her parents ample opportunity to become acquainted with the boyfriend.
- Ask her parents to point out areas where both she and her boyfriend could improve.
- Request that her parents set up guidelines to help her discern whether she has met the right life partner.
- Be willing to show deference to her parents on the timing of the engagement.
4th Essential Question:
Did They Give God Time to Work In Changing Decisions?
When the twenty-one-year-old girl followed the creative alternatives, her parents asked that the fellow finish his education and then get financially prepared for marriage. They felt that if he wasn't the right one, the interest would diminish. During this time however, both developed inward qualities which increased the respect of her parents for the boy. This resulted in the parents' full approval of the marriage. On their wedding day, her father said with tears in his eyes, "This is the happiest day in my life!"
I understand that this illustration is of a perfect world. So remember each situation will be a bit different, but the questions that should be asked would still apply. The key to all of this is that when you have a difficult situation like this it is so very important for prayers and fasting, asking for God's direction and His will in the matter.