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ABOUT MARRIAGE: THE IN-LAWS
Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | 5:57 am
How do you feel about his parents (her parents)? Do you find them interfering bores, who meddle and carry on in a way that drives you mad? Sometimes you can get away from in-laws, but often you cannot. If there is any squabble, the girl will tend to opt for her parents to back her up. They will take her side nearly every time, whether you be right or wrong.
Ideally of course, getting along with the in-laws is best. In fact, in spite of the mean things that are thrown at in-laws as a group, many of] them are wonderful people, and many sons-in-J law and daughters-in-law find the new relationship just great. It is a delight to see this state of affairs. Approaching it all with this in mind, of course, is much more likely to yield successful results than the reverse.
In fact, over the years I have seen the son-in-law or daughter-in-law become more attached to the in-laws than to her own parents. Somehow they “just click.” It is an interesting phenomenon.
I must recount a little story that still stands out in my memory. It is a gem, and I love to think about it. It is a bit complicated, so follow carefully.
Jim and Jane both attended the university which is not far from where I practice. They were a lovely couple of kids, in their late teens. Jim’s parents were pretty tough on him, and when he met Jane, he really fell head over heels in love with her. What’s more, he made the grade with Jane’s mother, who was a friendly person and took to Jim in a kind of mother-and-son relationship, as it should have been.
Jim spent quite a bit of his spare time there, although trying to pass examinations at university level didn’t leave too much time for socializing. However, the two were at the same institution and saw a fair bit of one another, particularly after classes. I saw them from time to time and immediately felt what a great match they would make. You know, sometimes two young people just click, and I think I clicked with them too.
However, one forlorn day they came along. I immediately suspected trouble, and wasn’t far wrong.
“Think I’m pregnant,” Jane mumbled, with an unhappy look on her face. “I think she’s right,” Jim added. “It’s my fault. I accept the entire blame. However, our problem now is, what to do?”
(This was in the days before legal terminations were introduced. In fact, as many will remember, because it is not that long ago, having a termination carried out for anything other than strict medical reasons was a criminal offence and could result in a gaol sentence. Besides, abortion in such a case as this is contrary to my principles; so we didn’t even discuss it.)
“There is only one thing,” I said. “Jane is pregnant, so she’ll have to go through with it all. Either you can get married, or let Jane battle through alone, and adopt the baby out when it is born.”
“What are your thoughts on marrying under circumstances as these?” they both asked. I had to tell the truth.
“Marriage entered into because you ‘have to’ surely isn’t the best foundation for a lasting family union,” I replied. “However, it is done by somebody every day of the week. It depends on how you both feel about it.”
“We’ll think it over,” they said as they left.
A week or two went by, then Jim turned up on his own.
“I’ve got problems,” he said. “Big problems and I want your advice.”
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“It’s Jane’s mum. She’s cut up real rough.”
“That’s to be expected,” I answered. “I’m not surprised that she has thrown you out and is mad at you and won’t let you back in the house.”
“I go along with that, “Jim said. “But it’s not that way. She is blaming Jane for getting pregnant, and has thrown her out of the house . . . literally packed her bags and told her to get lost—like on a permanent basis.”
“You must be joking,” I said, hardly believing my ears. I knew Jane’s mother, and had always found her to be reasonable.
“As for me, I’m getting on with her better than ever. I clicked with her the moment we met, and really love the old dear—not that she’s that old, I suppose.
“She has told me she is ashamed of the way Jane must have acted, and she wants me to know she bears no grudge against me, and welcomes me into the house whenever I like. ‘Please keep in touch,’ sort of thing. My problem is with Jane and trying to get her housed somewhere.”
“What about getting married?” I asked.
“Jane’s mother is totally against the idea. She flew into a rage when it was broached.”
So, the unhappy pair plodded on. Jim found adequate accommodation for Jane, and paid the bills and did his share in looking after her, which in these modern times is really something. So often, when there is talk of a child, the father-to-be simply vanishes into space. I must say I admired him for his stand. What’s more, he kept in close touch with Jane’s mother, and did his best to lead her tactfully around to accepting the idea of reinstating her daughter.
University students well know that beggars can’t be choosers, for funds are invariably scant. Relying on the home front is important when you are an impoverished student.
With Jim’s tact, he finally talked Jane’s mother around to accepting the idea that Jane was pregnant. In fact, she gradually became enthusiastic, and more and more overjoyed at the idea that she would be a grandmother. This would be her first grandchild.
“Things are going fine,” Jim said one day when he called around to give me the latest progress report. In fact, I found myself becoming more and more involved with this lovely pair of kids in strife.
“Glad to hear it,” I replied.
“Yes, Jane is back home. Her mum has fully accepted the situation, and now says she will fully support the whole thing, and in fact is really looking forward to the baby, and can hardly wait till she is a granny. How is that?”
“It sounds fine,” I answered, really happy that the family was becoming reunited again.
(posted in General health)
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