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Grandparent Woes - Wedding Forgiveness

So a little back story...I got married 2 1/2 years ago. My mom's side of my family (i.e. her parents are SUPER religious - i.e. Latin Catholic mass everyday). My husband and I got married outdoors, which in the eyes of my parents (mostly my mom) and grandparents, was not a "legal marriage", since it was not in a church. Along the way up to the wedding, my grandparents sent us numerous books about the importance of having a Catholic wedding, as well as not very nice voicemails and letters stating their opinion and how they would not attend if it was not in a church. In the end, my grandparents chose not to attend our wedding.

Our entire wedding planning process was very stressful...lots of guilt, nasty opinions, and tears. We ended up having some issues with our minister (family/friend) we had lined up (nothing personal, we just found out too late that their license would not be valid in the state we lived in). In the end, we decided to get married a week a head of time (before our outdoor wedding ceremony/reception), in my church (just ourselves and two witnesses). At that point, my husband and I were so fed up with not only my parents for not being supportive of our decisions and especially my grandparents that we told no one about our quick/small ceremony, because we felt that if they couldn't come FOR US, then they shouldn't come at all. 

We eventually told both my parents and grandparents that following Christmas (6 months after our wedding). I was very reluctant to even attend Christmas because I knew that my grandparents would be there. My husband was the one that told everyone. When we told my parents and grandparents about our small "church wedding", my grandparents seemed very relieved that we did do a church ceremony. I told them how very hurt I was that they chose not to attend. There response was "I wish you would have told us about your small church ceremony, because then maybe our church would have approved of us attending" and "it was a hard day for us too". 

There apology did not feel very sincere to me.  It was extremely hard to see them miss our special day. On top of this, since finding out we did getting married the "legal / Catholic way", they do now recognize our wedding anniversary (they sent us a wedding present after we told them too- of course a religious gift, and now send yearly anniversary cards too). But it just hurts that they couldn't recognize it before. It's not like I had some heathen/devil wedding or something. We had a beautiful barn/country wedding, and I'm so glad we did, (despite all the hell we went through).

I talked to my uncle later on about it (my grandparents son), and he was very supportive of my husband and I, and our decision. He actually told us that something very similar happened within his family decades ago when another uncle got married. I found out that apparently my grandparents never even attended THEIR OWN SON'S WEDDING!! (I believe it was because he married a non-Catholic who had a child "out of wedlock" from another father). I had never heard about this prior. So turned out, this was not the first time they chose not to attend a close family members wedding. It actually made me feel a little relieved, and disgusted. To this day, this uncle still very rarely speaks to them (understandably)...(and yes, they are still married).

To this day, I am still very angry with them. Frankly, I really don't consider them my grandparents. It just hurts that their apology did not feel sincere. They only have so many grandkids. They made the CHOICE not to attend...NO ONE ELSE. I believe in God and I'm much more spiritual than religious. I don't appreciate people shoving thier views down my throat. I realize they probably will never change; I realize how important religion is to them, but if your church is so strict that you can't attend your granddaughters outdoor wedding, and in the end, you end up pushing family away, then there is something seriously wrong with that. For gosh sakes, my husbands 90 year old grandpa had to have his LEG AMPUTATED weeks before our wedding and he STILL ATTENDED.

I still very reluctantly attend holidays (my husband is very supportive but also keeps telling me I should try to "get over it"). In fact, part of the reason, I'm writing this is because my family is trying to get my husband and I to attend my grandparents 80th birthday dinner coming up soon. They have been calling and texting the past week (To which I haven't responded to the matter yet). I really hate conflicts, I hate stirring up trouble. I'm not sure if my parents just don't realize that I'm still peeved at my grandparents, or what... My feelings towards it, is why should I recognize someones birthday who couldn't even acknowledge my marriage?? I'm not sure if I will tell them we already made plans that day (which is true, we did/still do have plans - they did only tell us about this very last minute), and/or if I should tell them the real reason why....

I know it's not good to hold grudges. I realize they're getting older. I'm normally pretty good at letting things go, but I just don't know how to move forward...I just don't know what to do anymore...this has really been stressing me out again lately. I don't want to have any regrets, and I hope I'm not sounding selfish, but honestly, I'm still very hurt, and I just don't know how to forgive them. Any advice would be appreciated!

Re: Grandparent Woes - Wedding Forgiveness

  • bdeneys said:
    So a little back story...I got married 2 1/2 years ago. My mom's side of my family (i.e. her parents are SUPER religious - i.e. Latin Catholic mass everyday). My husband and I got married outdoors, which in the eyes of my parents (mostly my mom) and grandparents, was not a "legal marriage", since it was not in a church. Along the way up to the wedding, my grandparents sent us numerous books about the importance of having a Catholic wedding, as well as not very nice voicemails and letters stating their opinion and how they would not attend if it was not in a church. In the end, my grandparents chose not to attend our wedding.


    This is shitty and wrong.

    If they were truly religious and accepted the teachings of a higher being, they'd have attended your wedding no matter where it was being held. You're supposed to love and accept everybody unconditionally and not pass judgement on what kind of a wedding somebody wishes to have.  

    Suppose you and your H are athiests, or you and he simply do not observe --- you don't attend church, unless somebody you know is being married there.

    Now, let's suppose you decided to have a wedding at a church --- doesn't matter what kind -- for instance, let's use a Catholic church.

    Would they welcome enthusiastically a church based wedding if it's pretty clear that both  the bride and groom are only having the wedding to please a family, "it's the thing to do" or because "everybody does it"?

    Would that make a Catholic wedding okay with them?

    I am guessing probably. And at that point,t hey are wrong because why have a church wedding if you are not a churchgoer. It just cancelled out the reason why a faith based wedding is held.

    Our entire wedding planning process was very stressful...lots of guilt, nasty opinions, and tears. We ended up having some issues with our minister (family/friend) we had lined up (nothing personal, we just found out too late that their license would not be valid in the state we lived in). In the end, we decided to get married a week a head of time (before our outdoor wedding ceremony/reception), in my church (just ourselves and two witnesses). At that point, my husband and I were so fed up with not only my parents for not being supportive of our decisions and especially my grandparents that we told no one about our quick/small ceremony, because we felt that if they couldn't come FOR US, then they shouldn't come at all. 

    You are absolutely right!

    We eventually told both my parents and grandparents that following Christmas (6 months after our wedding). I was very reluctant to even attend Christmas because I knew that my grandparents would be there. My husband was the one that told everyone. When we told my parents and grandparents about our small "church wedding", my grandparents seemed very relieved that we did do a church ceremony. I told them how very hurt I was that they chose not to attend. There response was "I wish you would have told us about your small church ceremony, because then maybe our church would have approved of us attending" and "it was a hard day for us too".

    Since when does any "Catholic Church" have to 'approve" attendance at a wedding of another faith??? I've never heard of this --- methinks they are trying to bust you or are trying to stir up another pot full of controversy. Sheesh.....

    There apology did not feel very sincere to me.  It was extremely hard to see them miss our special day. On top of this, since finding out we did getting married the "legal / Catholic way", they do now recognize our wedding anniversary (they sent us a wedding present after we told them too- of course a religious gift, and now send yearly anniversary cards too). But it just hurts that they couldn't recognize it before. It's not like I had some heathen/devil wedding or something. We had a beautiful barn/country wedding, and I'm so glad we did, (despite all the hell we went through).

    I talked to my uncle later on about it (my grandparents son), and he was very supportive of my husband and I, and our decision. He actually told us that something very similar happened within his family decades ago when another uncle got married. I found out that apparently my grandparents never even attended THEIR OWN SON'S WEDDING!! (I believe it was because he married a non-Catholic who had a child "out of wedlock" from another father). I had never heard about this prior. So turned out, this was not the first time they chose not to attend a close family members wedding. It actually made me feel a little relieved, and disgusted. To this day, this uncle still very rarely speaks to them (understandably)...(and yes, they are still married).

    To this day, I am still very angry with them. Frankly, I really don't consider them my grandparents. It just hurts that their apology did not feel sincere. They only have so many grandkids. They made the CHOICE not to attend...NO ONE ELSE. I believe in God and I'm much more spiritual than religious. I don't appreciate people shoving thier views down my throat. I realize they probably will never change; I realize how important religion is to them, but if your church is so strict that you can't attend your granddaughters outdoor wedding, and in the end, you end up pushing family away, then there is something seriously wrong with that. For gosh sakes, my husbands 90 year old grandpa had to have his LEG AMPUTATED weeks before our wedding and he STILL ATTENDED.

    I still very reluctantly attend holidays (my husband is very supportive but also keeps telling me I should try to "get over it"). In fact, part of the reason, I'm writing this is because my family is trying to get my husband and I to attend my grandparents 80th birthday dinner coming up soon. They have been calling and texting the past week (To which I haven't responded to the matter yet). I really hate conflicts, I hate stirring up trouble. I'm not sure if my parents just don't realize that I'm still peeved at my grandparents, or what... My feelings towards it, is why should I recognize someones birthday who couldn't even acknowledge my marriage?? I'm not sure if I will tell them we already made plans that day (which is true, we did/still do have plans - they did only tell us about this very last minute), and/or if I should tell them the real reason why....

    I know it's not good to hold grudges. I realize they're getting older. I'm normally pretty good at letting things go, but I just don't know how to move forward...I just don't know what to do anymore...this has really been stressing me out again lately. I don't want to have any regrets, and I hope I'm not sounding selfish, but honestly, I'm still very hurt, and I just don't know how to forgive them. Any advice would be appreciated!
    These people are bigots and stuffy and just plain wrong.

    Perhaps it would be best if you cooled it with them for awhile. Seems like every time they are around, religion gets into the mix and they have to be the ones to get their 2 cents in.

    Shame on them. Sorry you got the crappy end of the stick with them every time around.
  • I completely agree. Faith is about acceptance and unconditional love, but apparently to them, that’s not true. It just pisses me off that they now acknowledge our marriage as legit, only after we told them. 

    My sister actually married a non-Catholic (Methodist) several years ago in the Catholic Church. My grandparents attended. I’m actually surprised they did considering they’re not the same religion. But I guess that goes to show that it doesn’t matter as long as it’s a “legal church wedding”.

    And, yeah, I thought their excuse for not attending was a bunch of B.S too. I had never heard of a church having to “approve” attendance of a wedding. It felt like they weren’t truly sorry that they missed it. In their original letter they actually stated, they could not attend because “someday, we will need explain what we’ve done to our maker”. If your God/church, is THAT strict, sounds like it’s really more of a cult, and is in fact doing more harm than good.

    I agree, they are bigots and wrong. They seem very intolerant to other people with other views then themselves. They fortunately haven’t said anything harsh since the whole wedding fiasco, however, every time I’m around them, I feel like they are just looking down and judging. I hate the guilt trips from my family as well. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells every time.

    As for my grandpa’s birthday, I don’t think I will be attending. They’re lucky I even come to holidays when they’re around. I try to put a good face on at holidays, but it still stresses me out and puts a knot in my stomach. I’m thinking I’m going to try to have a talk with my dad (who’s much more understanding). I actually found out from him (pre-wedding) that he still feels like an outsider to my grandparents – even after 30+ years of marriage to my mom. I hate the way things are, and the way my family acts. Maybe someday, I will forgive them, but I don’t see it happening for a while. 

     

     

  • I don't think the way they presented their views to you was very loving or kind. And, sending books and making calls to try and "win" you over to their "side" is never a good idea! I feel for you there.

    When DH and I got married (in a Methodist church), with DH being a conservative Lutheran and me, at that time, still being Methodist, there was one of his uncles, aunts and their children who did not attend our wedding.

    First, I know the distance was quite a ways for them to go with their large family. Second, I also know that they didn't have the monetary ability to travel and pay for hotel rooms for that many people. But lastly, I know that they being strict Baptists, would not have been "able" or felt comfortable attending our wedding reception.

    Our wedding reception had a live band and an open bar. While we're not huge drinkers or dancers on either side of the family, my parents who paid for the wedding reception, felt it appropriate to have the band and the alcohol.

    So the other reason DH's extended family didn't come was due to dancing and drinking. At that time, it irritated me because I felt like they were making a statement about my family and our choices. I felt judged. I didn't like it.

    Now, I've come to realize that asking a person or a family to concede and set aside their closely and dearly held beliefs, just for my sake and benefit isn't really kind or fair of me.

    Many people face variations of these issues at family times.

    I'm not going to try and insist that you do things my way; however, if you're tied into a denomination of Christianity, Catholic included, forgiveness is a major part of the worldview. Forgiveness isn't agreeing with someone, necessarily, or permitting them to continue in poor behavior, but it is a means of freedom from the burden of anger and hurt - FOR YOU.

    If you forgive someone and then move on, you become free from the pain. 

    Also, your kindness and patience, even in the face of their rudeness and hardness, instructs people.

    Lastly, if they're in their early 80's, I think you just need to cut them some slack. Elderly people lose their filters - it comes with age. And, while they apparently did this same thing to one of their sons years ago, they too have the choice to follow their worldview in whatever way that looks and is personal to them.

    In the long run, now and when they've passed away, I think you will look back on this whole situation. When you look back, how proud of yourself do you want to be about it knowing that you probably did the nicer thing? That you took the higher road? That you honored the elderly in your family with respect and kindness, even when they didn't do that for you?

    And, maybe they don't notice. Maybe your parents don't notice. But your DH does. You do. More importantly, God does. Many a good thing goes unnoticed (or so we think).

    PolishtheStars
  • To your DH, I want to say that you might 'get over it', but "getting over it" might come in the form of distancing yourself from them.  Your DH isn't any better right now- he's trying to push you to do something you may not want to do.  Honestly- he needs to back off and let YOU figure out how you want to proceed w/ YOUR family.
    Disneygeek77
  • You need to realize that your grandparents' views aren't going to change.  They are who they are, the way they practice their religion is their choice.  You SAY you don't shove your religious ideals down their throat, but you are doing the same thing by refusing to accept that they did not see your wedding ceremony as valid.  You want THEM to conform to YOUR belief that "it is all the same."  To them, it is not.  I buy into the "God is everywhere" view of weddings/church, but your grandparents aren't obligated to.

    That being said - have they otherwise been loving grandparents?  Then, as hurt as you are, I would cut them some slack. Friends left my wedding early because they didn't like where they were seated (too close to my younger cousins), one bridesmaid left because she wanted to catch an early plane (ha ha - and then the plane was delayed and she didn't arrive at her destination until 6 hours later). People svck!!!  


    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • Wahoo said:
    You need to realize that your grandparents' views aren't going to change.  They are who they are, the way they practice their religion is their choice.

    That being said - have they otherwise been loving grandparents?  Then, as hurt as you are, I would cut them some slack.
    I agree with these two sentiments. Unfortunately, people who are holier-than-thou or just plain condescending rarely change. It sounds like your grandparents have been this way their entire lives and aren't ready to change any time soon, let alone see there's any reason to change.

    If they have been loving grandparents, you may want to work on forgiving them, which would probably take the form of gentle confrontation. You can tell them that their apology didn't feel sincere and you're struggling to get over this. There's nothing wrong with telling them they hurt your feelings. They're YOUR feelings and you can't help feeling the way you do!

    If however they have not been loving grandparents (which I suspect), just distance yourself and don't take their bullshit. You're a grown woman and you don't have to be disrespected just because they're family. Would you let a stranger or even a "friend" treat you that way?
  •  

    Wahoo: while I think you have some valid points, I don’t think by refusing to accept that they did not accept my wedding as valid really qualifies as “shoving religious ideals down their throat”. I really wouldn’t quantify those two things as the same…

    I’ve accepted what they did. I realize they have their views. I accept that everyone’s entitled to his or her own views. I understand they’ll probably never change. I’m not asking them to change or believe what I believe. I just wish their apology felt SINCERE. For the record, I have not said a word about how I felt to my grandparents (or my family) since that Christmas. I’ve kept my opinions to myself since then. I would never think of rubbing my opinions about religion (the way my grandparents did) down someone else’s throat – especially if it was someone I love and care deeply about.

     

    MommyLibery2013 – You have a good point about forgiveness I will try to remember. (I’ve heard it before, but it’s a good reminder).

    “Forgiveness isn't agreeing with someone, necessarily, or permitting them to continue in poor behavior, but it is a means of freedom from the burden of anger and hurt - FOR YOU.

    If you forgive someone and then move on, you become free from the pain.” 

    I believe in forgiveness. Forgiveness has never been this hard for me. I still hold Christian beliefs, just not as strict as my grandparents (or parents). I want to forgive, but it has been hard. I mostly just try not to think about them or the situation, as I realize it’s not good to focus on the negative hurt and anger. I’ve tried to move forward, and thought I had for a while, until my family started bombarding me with texts and voicemails telling me about my grandpa’s birthday dinner. (My parents are pretty good at guilt – especially through text/phone calls /voicemails). It was then I realized that I really hadn’t forgiven them. It was also then that I realized my parents probably didn’t even realize that I’m still not very pleased with my grandparents. I emailed my dad (whom I hope would be more understanding than my mom). I told him how I’ve really been feeling about all of this as nice as possible. I was going to chicken out, as again I don’t like confrontation, but my husband was the one who gently pushed me to just do it, as I know he doesn’t like seeing me like this. (& no, I have not checked my email yet, I’ve been avoiding it).

    Joleri23 (& wahoo): Overall, my grandparents are pretty decent besides their wedding actions. They’re not big on face-to-face confrontation (nor am I). The stuff they did was much less “confrontational” (letters, books in the mail, voicemails). I still feel like I’m secretly being judged anytime around them (found out I was not the only one with those vibes – also my husband, as well as a distant aunt, who doesn’t come around much (understandably) – because of similar yet different situation(s) with my grandparents, mostly due to religion.)

    It wasn’t until my wedding (planning and after), that I realized why so many family members have distanced themselves from my grandparents. Between my aunt, and my other uncle (who I haven’t even seen since I was a little kid). TWO of their children barely speak to them. It seems every time they but their nose in and shove their opinions down others throats (mostly) about religion, they end up losing people they love. I may not be as religious as my grandparents, but I know the bible teaches love, acceptance, and forgiveness, and that I would never treat a stranger as bad as they treat close family. 

    I still haven’t decided how exactly I will move forward, but as of now, I’m still thinking a little distance wouldn’t be such a bad thing. 

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