Ask Angela: We've talked about marriage, but he wants to limit future contact with my non-LDS dad
I’m dating someone and everything is almost perfect. We get along great; his family loves me and I love them and I feel very happy in this relationship. We have discussed marriage and while the thought of it makes me so happy, I do have one major concern. The one thing that has been a concern in my mind is that my father isn’t a member of the LDS Church and my soon-to-be fiancé has been very vocal about wanting to limit our future children’s interaction with my side of the family because of my dad. I should add that my father is a wonderful man whom I love very much. Am I wrong to feel uncomfortable with this arrangement? How can I move forward with him but make it clear that our children will need both of their grandfathers?
Dear Family Portrait,
You are not wrong to feel uncomfortable with that arrangement. One of the main points of the gospel and membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to bring families together, not tear them apart. Parents get all kinds of council not to abandon their children if they choose a different way — how wrong would it be for us to abandon our parents under similar circumstances?
Other than your dad not being a Mormon, is there something specific (like a habit, characteristic, situation or distance) that might trigger this concern? Or, is there a past experience of your boyfriend's that has him worried? If so, you two can possibly reach a compromise about that specific thing as many couples do without having a blanket ultimatum.
If there isn't an underlying concern or past experience, then it’s a deal breaker. Tell him, life is hard and you want your kids to have as much love as they possibly can get. Tell him, your dad raised you and regardless of his church membership, he deserves your and your future husband’s loyalty and respect. In short, tell him no deal. Then read this quote to him from Elder William Grant Bangerter, an emeritus general authority, "Love your parents. I don’t think that parents experience anything greater than the love that they feel for their children. And if you love them back with all your heart, you’ll better feel their love — and Heavenly Father’s love — for you.”
So you see, it’s not just a preferential sort of thing, but an essential piece. When we find ways to love our parents (and I would add our grandparents and great-grandparents) we are better prepared to feel our Father in Heaven’s love for us, and you don’t want to rob your children of that opportunity.
He has communicated how he feels. Now it's your turn — be firm and good luck!
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Angela Trusty is the author of the advice column Ask Angela that appears Saturdays in the Deseret News and Tuesdays and Fridays in The Washington Times. Follow her on Facebook at Facebook.com/askangelaslc.
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