Hi, guys —
I was so glad to find your site, because my husband and I are really at a loss as to what, if anything, we should do.
We have been happily married for 24 years and are the parents of 7 children. Our 22-year-old son is engaged to be married in four months, and if we had been able to see just the facts this time last year, we would be so thankful.
Daniel's fiance, Rachel, is 21 years old, Catholic, and from a wonderful family. Daniel and Rachel both graduated this spring from Catholic Universities without any student debt and are planning a Catholic wedding but there are several problems that have arose.
First of all, they met in March and got engaged in May, the day after we met Rachel. That, in itself, would probably have ended up being OK but since they got engaged we have not seen Daniel for even one minute without her. . . . (We told them that we were very surprised at the timing, and that they should keep praying about it and listening for God's Will, but we weren't angry or hostile in any way on the issue.). . . When he talks on the phone it is always on speaker phone with her and if she is not available he won't answer but will call back once she's able to be in on the call. Any texts that either one gets are hooked into their fitness trackers to go to both of them. He moved in with her parents, a little over an hour from us, and her parents, (we love her family, by the way), said that they also have never talked, at all, to one without the other.
Our son works the midnight shift a half hour from where they're living, and she rides to work with him every day and spends all night at a library. They, especially Rachel, seem deathly afraid of anyone saying anything that might make them reconsider marriage. Our son has had no contact with any friends . . . (He had been halfway across the country for four years of college, but he has been emotionally close with his six siblings, us, and some of his 30 plus cousins.) . . . and Rachel's parents said that the only time they are not together is when one is in the bathroom.
They recently started sleeping in the same room. He was in the living room, but the midnight shift complicated things which we don't really like hearing, but I personally wouldn't be super concerned about it . . . four months before the wedding, if the rest of the relationship wasn't so extremely controlling.
We have good relationships with the six other children but if we knew that he could have a happy marriage and happy life that led (him, his future wife, and children) to Heaven, but in return we were to never see (him|them) again, I think we'd be okay.
It's really not about us. We are really at a loss as to what we should do at this point, besides praying a lot, which we certainly do.
Thank you for any advice you may have.
God bless you.
I would talk to them both together, and express something you want to share with both of them, so that they can have a long, happy and healthy marriage.
You can share how you have noticed the very tight bond they have, and also how they might be overlooking an important dynamic of a successful relationship and marriage:
The principle is that they each need to develop or maintain supporting relationships with other close friends and family, which requires real intimacy, not marital intimacy of course, but just as real and essential to a good marriage.
Those dynamic relationships require one on one time, that they each must foster and nourish, and they should talk about how they will support one another in that. Guys need guy time, and girls need girl time — it's how we are wired. Even other close relationships need one on one time.
If they don't, there could eventually be resentment between them that could harm their relationship in the long run. Maybe you have an example . . . but don't create a scenario in which they could say we're not them.
What you don't want to do is feed the fear that you may be undermining their relationship; you want to strengthen it.
- Become an ally, not a foe.
- Ask them if they see any obstacles to creating that support, and how they may best express that value of person to person bonds.
- Lastly, you can express how glad you are that they found each other, and that they share faith together, which is so important.
Whether they sink or swim is not under your control, but pushing or criticizing could have unhappy consequences for a long time if you overstep, because we've all seen it happen.
This is their journey, so ultimately just smile and pray.