Mother In Law Hurting Bride to Be - What can Groom to Be do?

Nancy - posted on 10/04/2012 ( no moms have responded yet )

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Hi Fellow Moms, This is my first posting and I am seeking advice for my good friend who is getting married in just a few weeks and is having Mother In Law problems with her future husband’s mom. Family is very important to both and the kids have made great effort to always spend time with their respective families each weekend all throughout their relationship. The issue started shortly after the couple became engaged. My newly engaged girlfriend has a great relationship with her own mom, dad and siblings and grew up in a house where everyone is very supportive, not judgmental and always considerate of one another’s feelings. My girlfriend’s fiancé also comes from a great family, however the groom to be’s mother is very religious and openly talks about religion all the time. Now back to the first issues. The groom to be’s MIL and sister were hanging out with my girlfriend (groom to be was not in the room) and they all started talking about bridal dresses. My girlfriend happily showed her future MIL a few ideas of dresses she envisioned for herself and said “I am so excited for us to all go look at dresses together, etc. etc.” Unfortunately the MIL said “I don’t like that dress” or “No” or “too low” or just shook her head. My girlfriend did not say anything but certainly felt hurt by this because she wanted to involve her future MIL in the search even though she has always known the dress she wanted and was not asking for advice. Why couldn’t the MIL recognize she was happy and just be happy for her (recognizing that she had her wedding and now this is my girlfriend’s turn?). Similar thing happened with Bridesmaid dresses. My girlfriend showed first dress to MIL and MIL said “No” or something that just shut it down and so my girlfriend, hurt picked a different dress (again nothing wrong with both dresses – not risqué or inappropriate for venue, etc.). My girlfriend invited both MIL and Sister in Law to fitting for bridesmaid dress and when the MIL saw her daughter in the 2nd bridesmaid dress she just didn’t say anything while my girlfriend’s own mom and sister and even Sister in Law were all happy about it. Then the MIL said “We need to get you a shawl” because it is strapless. That really hurt my girlfriend because she couldn’t understand why if there was nothing wrong with the dress and if it is known that it is already picked out and everyone else was happy why the MIL couldn’t just keep her opinion to herself and be happy for the fact that she has a daughter in law who WANTS to involve her and be close to her. All the while the groom to be (knowing how his future bride felt about these budding issues) was sitting in the lobby of the bridal store so he was unable to hear these comments even though he so badly hoped that everything was going ok. To make matters worse the groom to be was able to sense disappointment on the face of his bride, paid for all the ladies and moms for a simple dinner after the girls tried the dresses on and later asked his mom what she thought of the dress (hoping to understand what was causing the disappointment). His mom told him “The dresses are beautiful!” Why couldn’t she tell the bride to be and make her feel good?! During that same bridesmaid appointment, the MIL asked what the flower girl will wear and my girlfriend said “a little white dress!”. The MIL said “Great! And you should tie a little pink belt around her waist to tie in with the Bridesmaid dresses.” When my girlfriend said she wanted to keep it all white, the MIL got all quiet and did not say anything. From what she tells me it was an awkward moment and everyone felt it. When these things were happening, my girlfriend would tell her Fiance but she would tell him not to say anything to his mom. Her fiancé is a great guy and I know he felt stuck in the middle because he did not know how to address these issues with his MIL without making it look like his bride to be was complaining to him. He did however speak to his mom about why she said his sister should wear a shawl and say “why did you say that?” and went on to mention that other cousins in their family and his sister wore strapless bridesmaid dresses and she never complained about them. Moving onto religion, the MIL has mentioned certain things to the bride like “Confession is very important” and my girlfriend would always listen and be very polite. Her family is the most amazing family but they stopped going to Church a long time ago. My girlfriend has always prayed and had a great faith, etc. Once during these private conversations between MIL and my girlfriend, MIL said “You will go to hell if you don’t go to confession.” I have asked my girlfriend about the conversation, I have met the MIL many times and know that she can be very nice, and my girlfriend says, “She just looked at me and said it, no ifs ands or buts about it. As a result of these religion and wedding control issues from the MIL, my girlfriend has made a conscious effort to not involve the MIL, instead choosing to do a great deal of wedding decision-making with her fiancé. My girlfriend does not want unsolicitated advice and feels crushed because she is the most amazing young lady and always imagined that any parents would absolutely love her. This is causing her a great deal of strain and they are now only weeks away from the wedding. She is very stressed and anxious all the time and just feels so sad, especially because in her mind, you only get married once and you will never get these experiences back, that dress appointment, her shower, all marred but hurtful or insensitive comments. I know the groom to be is so hurt by this too and wants so badly to fix the situation but is not sure how. Moms, how would you advise the groom to be? I think he should talk with his mom but I don’t know how he should go about it and now they are only weeks before the wedding. What advice would you give him so he can productively talk with his mom and clearly articulate how her actions have hurt his bride to be. The bride also included the MIL and Sister in Law in her hair appointment on the day of the wedding and I know she is just so nervous and dreading that on her wedding day the MIL will tell her she should do her hair this way or that way, same goes for when MIL sees her in her dress. We all want the MIL to recognize the amazing daughter in law she is going to have and just be happy for them. I have a great relationship with the groom to be and I am so happy I found this site and really look forward to your advice. Thank you, Nancy

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