Hi. My name is Whitney. I am 23. I have been dating a 29-year-old doctor who is doing his fellowship. He is Asian, by the way, and I am an American. Six months ago he called his parents who live in Korea and told them he was going to marry this great girl he met.
His father was okay with the idea, but his mother totally freaked out. She got on the next plane to the U.S. She has been here ever since. We have booked church, the reception and the honeymoon. I’m supposed to get my ring in two weeks, when his best friend and his wife arrive in Los Angeles, and we surprise them with our engagement.
Well, now I don’t know what’s going on. My fiancé’s emotions go back and forth because of his mother. His mother says he has betrayed her because she wants him to marry a Korean girl she picked out for him in Korea.
He told her over and over he wants to marry me. He has even gone to the point of telling his parents I am pregnant, hoping that might help. But his mother is still against the whole thing. She leaves messages that she is going to kill herself.
I am at the point where I cry every day at almost anything. I don’t know if he is going to be here. He says he is, but I just don’t know with all the guilt his mother is putting on him. Please help.
Whitney, some traditions are harmless and cultural. There’s nothing wrong with putting up a Christmas tree. Other traditions, like burning witches at the stake and sacrificing virgins, needed to go.
Today, arranged marriage is another tradition on the chopping block. It’s the 21st century. Your boyfriend’s mother jumped on a jet plane cruising at 35,000 feet to confront him. Does she use an iPhone to leave her threatening messages?
She is using modern technology to practice the ancient art of blackmail. She thinks she gets to live her life and his life, too. But his dad is not opposed to your marriage. He may well think, if only I had been free to choose a bride when I was my son’s age.
While your fiancé’s mother is entitled to pick out his Christmas sweater, she is not entitled to pick out the woman he will sleep with the rest of his life. A bride is not something he can return. “Don’t throw away the receipt!”
His mother picked someone based on her own tastes and preferences. She wants her own way. That’s all. But we can never give in to threats of harm, and her threats prove she is in the wrong. Let his father deal with his wife.
Meanwhile, it’s up to your fiancé to decide. His decision will reveal if he is the man for you. He should realize, if he gives in to his mother, how angry he will be. “I tried to marry a woman I loved, and I got stuck with you.”
Either way you will remember this not as a happy time, but as the time you didn’t know if you would be a bride. Accept it. There’s no point in bashing his mom. You don’t have the ability to change her.
Now there is little you can do but be yourself and adopt a “que será, será” attitude. What will be will be. Once you know what will be, you can direct or redirect your life.
~ Wayne & Tamara
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Direct Answers from Wayne and Tamara – Column for the week of December 4, 2017