Marriage Without Approval?

May 28
May 20, 2016

Marriage Without Approval?


Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world
Question #23
Rite of Passage Eight –A taste of things to come–
1954-1956 Age: 20-22

Q: Marriage without approval: Did you ‘move out’ without parental approval… Do you face the same situation as a parent, with your child? How did you (or might) you handle it now?

“Both our parents were unhappy. We were too young, too inexperienced and too poor…but we were too much in love to listen.” Page 55

I had no idea about what my future might entail and how we might survive on the miserable army officer’s pay. Both our parents had had years of ups and downs and knew the challenges of a cash poor marriage with no planned prospects.

My mother did the heavy lifting with a long and rational letter to us both that I passed to Treena to read. I must admit that it made sense to “just wait a little and try to save…so that you have something to fall back on.”

I had spent all my savings on a pretty little sapphire engagement ring which I now had in my jacket pocket as an assurance of my ongoing love to offset the possible drama when Treena read my mother’s ‘reasoned’ suggestion to delay.

We were driving at the time that I handed over the letter. Treena asked me to pull over; it was at night. Without a word she got out of the car, stood in the headlights and tore the letter into tiny pieces, throwing them in the air like chunky confetti. “THAT’S what I think about THAT idea!” she said defiantly.

May 28

So…what about now?

Looking back I’m grateful for two things. My mother’s letter had expressed her full acceptance of Treena and her love for us both but it had not allowed for any kind of projected date.

For her love…I’m grateful!

Treena expressed an entirely different passion…she had set her heart on a September marriage and nothing was going to get in the way.

For her love then and for the rest of her life…I am grateful!

I have experienced the same kind of practical concerns for our children as they engaged in the human form of the salmon’s osmoregulation –when the fish move from fresh to salt water and leave the familiar comforts of home (shallow water and river banks) and parents and strike out into the perils of the unknown with not much else than love to guide them.

I would still offer good advice but never use ‘fear of financial failure’ as an argument. In the face of love…only genuine kindness with gently spoken words, never written, and with respect for their emotions, will do.

Had my mother sat us down over her wonderful tomato sandwiches, looked into our eyes and gently asked us to wait. I think we might have still done what we did!

For that…I am grateful.

P.S This week I read Treena’s poem Once there was sweet Motherhood


  1. Patti Jean Meehan Says: 1:03 am

    Good question. I married against the advice of my parents who have since past away. That was 1994. We divorced in 1996 after my mother passed away. If I had it to do over I would listen to them and realize their advice comes from many years of experience. I remain single and dedicated to cooking for friends as I have been for over 47 years.

  2. Lynn Severance Says: 1:38 pm

    My parents were never faced with giving advice to me about an “early marriage” such as Graham and others here have expressed. I do not have that experience nor, obviously, what I may have shared had I wanted to dialogue with children of my own on the brink of marrying.

    If I had had that experience with children of my own, I’d pray I could have been sensitive to their feelings while being honest with mine – born from years of being able to converse with them in such ways.

    I know many who married very young and who have maintained loving and thriving marriages. I know of others commencing to marry when also young in age, and their marriages did not last.

    I deeply believe that any parental input is done from a place of loving concern knowing the potential of what could lie ahead with challenges that naturally come within any marriage. Those challenges come no matter the age of the spouses when they first embark in this stream of life and becomes part of the journey the make and, hopefully come through stronger on the other side of them.

  3. karl guggenmos Says: 12:12 pm

    My parents and her parents had no objections.I had moved to the US attending bible School while my parents
    lived in Germany.My In Laws where happy.I was 25 she was 21
    The issue s we faced was that we got married 6 months after we met.I don’t recommend that for anyone
    My son and daughter are both married and I have been very happy with their choices,even though trials are part of the equation

  4. Lynn Says: 4:24 pm

    My father didn’t express his disapproval until we were walking down the aisle. Excellent advise; however, much too late.

  5. Jean N Sozio Says: 4:04 pm

    My widowed mother was thrilled – – the rest of the family and in-laws were in silent shock that a 25nyear old man would marry a 17 year old girl (with parental consent) yet to graduate high school – which I did. Our parents were gracious to fund the blessed event but after that life was up to us. We had planned a honeymoon in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. On our honeymoon night we counted our cash gifts to find $900.00 (1972). We took $600.00 for our honeymoon and banked the rest once we returned home. Here we are 44 years, 2 jobs, 5 homes, a myriad of cars, and 8 dogs later. Love is truly all you need and life is what you make it – whatever sails your boat with no regrets.

  6. Drenna Says: 2:48 pm

    Beautiful post!

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