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Pride Goeth

Direct Answers - Column for the week of November 25, 2002

My boyfriend's daughter (I'll call her Mary) got married six months ago. She is 19 and pregnant. My boyfriend (I'll call him John) didn't go to the wedding because he disapproved of her husband and the marriage.

The reason he gave for not attending was it would make him a hypocrite in front of his other children if he went. This caused a huge rift between John and Mary, and they have not spoken since the wedding. Before this they were very close, talking almost every day.

Mary's baby is due any day now. I told Mary it would be a shame not to allow her baby a chance to know its grandfather. She said John could see the baby if he wanted, but she is unwilling to make the first move.

I talked to John this morning and told him I think they are both stubborn as donkeys. John is firm on his stance, saying it is a matter of principle. He says by not compromising he is able to sleep at night. I am not sure John is using the term "principle" correctly, since I don't understand what principle this involves.

The dictionary defines a principle as a rule of conduct, or something which is important. In my opinion establishing communication with Mary wouldn't compromise his principles, since it seems his objective was not alienating his daughter but boycotting the wedding. Is there some principle involved here?

Trina

Trina, when you are a parent, all you can do is get your children to a certain point. After that they are on their own. Parents are not like pear trees, putting out only pear seeds. Humans are free to follow a different course. Wisely or not, Mary can decide who she marries.

She married a man John dislikes, and she is pregnant. That's a fact, not a principle. As a parent, John punished Mary by not attending the wedding. It was a harsh punishment. Girls dream of walking down the aisle on their father's arm, and Mary has no wedding pictures with her dad in them.

After you punish a child, you move on. You don't punish them again and again for the same offense. Whatever John's pride required should have been satisfied. All the rest is revenge. The only principle here is anger. John is angry his authority over Mary was undermined.

For the sake of vanity he is ready to create a permanent rift in the family. On birthdays, holidays and other occasions the family won't be together as a unit, and in a short time, the repercussions of his actions may be too far advanced to reverse.

If John cannot behave himself around Mary and her husband, it is best not to be around them. But the principle he violates is placing pride above love.

Wayne & Tamara

Looking Forward

I am involved in a relationship for the past seven years. Recently I asked my partner what his future plans are for us. His answer was, "I don't know." Am I wasting my time?

Nadine

Nadine, if you have to approach the topic of marriage so gingerly, you already know the answer. If your partner wanted to make things permanent, you wouldn't need to ask.

It's hard to walk away from a casino table when you've been losing. You naturally want to win back what you've lost. You lost three years, then four, and now seven. It's time to walk away.

He's had the benefits, and you've taken the loss. He hasn't given you the one thing you want. Chances are he has known for a long time he doesn't want to make you his wife.

You will learn a lesson if you end this relationship on your own terms. You will have learned not to let things drag on with someone who doesn't have those feelings which add up to marriage.

Wayne & Tamara

About The Author

Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at www.WayneAndTamara.com.

Send letters to: Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield, MO 65801 or email: DirectAnswers@WayneAndTamara.com.

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