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Engagement Issues: Do They Hate Your Mate?

Are your parents less than thrilled with your future spouse? Here are tips on how to clear the air before the deal is sealed.

So you've met The One -- you laugh at the same jokes, you love the same books, and you don't wrangle over the remote. But what if your parents don't feel the same warm and tingly affection for your sweetheart? Our advice? Don't get defensive -- try these six ideas to bring the most important people in your life together before the big day.

Get the Facts

Ask your family members why they disapprove. Open discussion can defuse a volatile situation, and their reasoning may surprise you. Perhaps they misunderstood something your future husband said, or perhaps they've misinterpreted your soon-to-be wife's shyness. Let them know how much you love your mate and they may try harder to accept him or her into the extended family.

Alter Your Angle

Remember that your family wants the best for you and be open to the fact that people in love (and lust!) sometimes choose to ignore their partner's faults. Have an open mind and be certain your feelings ring true.

Shower Them With Love

Show your family that you care about them. They may worry that you're leaving them behind and may feel jealous of your spouse. After all, your married status may mean you won't make every Christmas gathering. They'll see less of you and you'll have new priorities. Make sure your parents and siblings still feel cherished and irreplaceable in your life, and they may learn to love your spouse.

Roll With the Punches

Don't take everything your relatives say at face value. Don't harp on insults made in the heat of the moment. Wait until family members chill out before asking about stressful moments. They may realize their words were hurtful and think before they speak next time.

Act Fast

Don't wait too long to address the issue. If it takes years to broach the topic with your parents, it may be too late. Once a behavior pattern or opinion has been established, it can be difficult to change. Speak up when issues arise or your resentment (and your spouse's) may build to such levels that the familial relationship will never be mended.

Stand By Your Man (Or Woman)

Whatever happens, stay committed to your spouse. Ultimately it's the two of you who will spend your lives together. Present a united (yet friendly) front, and you'll find the road a lot less bumpy.

Good luck!

-- The Knot

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