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Shall i just stand by and watch my sister marry the wrong man?

(16 Posts)
cheekymonk Sat 16-Aug-08 17:10:17

Evening ladies!
My sister(26) is planning to get married next year. Her and fiance have mortgage together and live in the house which they have been putting time/effort/love into.
Their relationship is very rocky. They have been together 4 years and living together for 1 year. They are currently not speaking, it has been 4 DAYS... They spend little time together and often have huge blazing rows. They argue over almost anything. My sister admits that she could "do better" but says she loves him. He refused to anything in the house if she watched soaps or her telly one night which was the start of not speaking to one another.She always rings mum or me with any probs rather than being able to speak to fiance.
Yesterday she went to try on wedding dresses despite them not talking, having sickness/runs (sorry tmi!) and a patient dying under her care this week (she is a nurse). My mum was in tears saying how unhappy and tortured she looked. We both feel she wants the fairy tale and loves the idea of a big wedding rather than the importance of marriage itself.
We both just want her to be happy but she clearly isn't. What do we do?? Stand by and watch?? She knows how my mum feels as her and fiance don't speak. I do get on with her fiance so perhaps try and talk to them together but is it my business? Mum and I don't want to lose my sister and want her to know we are always there for her but my Mum is heartbroken at the thought of her entering into a liftime of misery.
Mum also objects as she is largely responsible for footing the bill and is asking me what she should do?
Any ideas anyone?? Do we intervene, what shall we say??

lilymolly Sat 16-Aug-08 17:14:52

Oh dear a tough one

1st thing- your sister is old enough to make her own decisions.

2nd thing- its nothing to do with you


If you feel this strongly can you have a nice chat with her about her impending wedding and how it is usual to get cold feet yadda yadda yadda etc.....This may give her the chance to bring up any doubts

And say if at anytime she wants it to stop that you will fully support her in any decision she makes

She is then able to make her decision on her own.

As regards to your mother paying for the wedding. I think its tough- she agreed to pay for it so its a bit late to pull out now.

Maybe its time to let your sister live her own life.
You may risk pushing her away if you interfere too much

HTH Good luck

Romy7 Sat 16-Aug-08 17:16:46


and be prepared to help her patch her life up if nec, without being judgemental.

Uriel Sat 16-Aug-08 17:28:14

If your mum doesn't want to pay for the wedding, she should just say so. I think it's pretty unusual for a late 20s couple not to pay for their own wedding. Are they contributing at all?

If she does back out of footing the bill, it will make them save up to get married. That may show if there's real commitment to each other.

As regards speaking to your sister - only you know how close you are and how she'd react to your advice. FWIW, a friend of mine had a stressful and problematic marriage.
When the marriage was over, her parents mentioned that they'd thought he was the wrong man for her. She wishes she'd known that beforehand.

cheekymonk Sat 16-Aug-08 17:39:17

Well Mum has not really promised, my sister makes it clear that my mum "owes" her because I went to uni and she didn't/ Mum has said she would rather buy my sister a car than fork out for a wedding she doesn't believe in. My sister and fiance are trying to get away with paying for as little as possible and my sister drops hints to everyone about them helping her. (Dad, grandparents etc) Trouble is we had some help from family but did pay the majority chunk ourselves.
My mum is much more involved in my sister's life than me as I live away. My sister relies heavily on my mum and really needs her, more than my mum can cope with really.
I hope I don't sound judgemental, my sister is admitting fiance is the wrong man by saying she can do better isn't she? I am no expert and I know no relationship is perfect but I feel that as her family, we must be there for her.

cheekymonk Sat 16-Aug-08 18:00:35

Thanks all for your input smile

stirlingmum Sat 16-Aug-08 18:46:43

I know some counselling services run pre-marriage counselling to help couples understand whether marriage is for them or not. I wonder if you could convince them to go for this?

If I was your mum I would be tempted to at least limit the amount of money I would spend on the wedding because if they aren't even saving for it then it doesn't show alot of commitment.

SalBySea Sat 16-Aug-08 18:58:32

cheekymonk - you said that she always calls you or your mum when things are bad between them - maybe the good times balance out but she doesnt tell you about them

I have a friend like this - I am her shoulder to cry on and she always tells me her doubts and fears and niggles, thing is she never tells me about the good times so I sometimes wrongly judge her boyfriends and get convinced that they are @ssholes. Not only does she only tell me when things are bad, but she also tells me a kind of angry/paranoid/exagerated version of events cause I guess if they're going through a bad patch she want someone to say "yeah, he's a d*ck, you're totally in the right and he's totally wrong"

Or maybe she's picked up that you guys arent very receptive to the good things she has to say about him so keeps her mouth shut and this is adding to her distress

just a few things to consider

beanieb Sat 16-Aug-08 18:58:32

What Romy7 said.

your role is to be there for her if it all goes tits up. Talk to her, though, as her sister... listen to her now if she needs you to but never judge her OH.

cheekymonk Sat 16-Aug-08 19:22:22

Thanks again, yes definitely things to think about. I do actually like her fiance, he is difficult, moody and controlling at times but there is something I like about him. He is fantastic with my ds who adores him despite rarely seeing him. He is not all bad I am just not convinced about their compatability but then I know its not my call!

choosyfloosy Sat 16-Aug-08 19:27:31

Very very difficult.

How old was your mum when she married? Do you think this is influencing your sister at all?

TBH I don't think there is much you can do, though I would make some comment if someone said 'i could do better' to me about their partner.

I guess you could rent Four Weddings and at the 'forever hold their peace' bit, say something then? But be prepared for her simply to cut you off, rather than lose her future (as she sees it, perhaps).

cheekymonk Sun 17-Aug-08 16:43:47

Mum got married at 21, pregnant with me. My nan fiercely objected to my dad, was furious about pregnancy and forced my mum to move out. they didn't talk for 2 years. Mum talks very bitterly about whole thing, saying noone helped them etc and that her dress was horrible but I have seen photos and think she was a beautiful bride... Of course though, on your wedding dad it is all about how you feel not look like.
My mum said nothing when I had first wedding dress fitting and I assumed it was because of me a being a fat bride and therefore not the beautiful daughter on her wedding that she had imagined but now... as she is reacting the same with sister who totally looks the part but she is worried about their future and happiness as a couple...
I understand why Mum is worried and can see why she lacks enthusiasm but there is more to it. When dh and I announced our engagement she tried to talk us out of it, saying marriage is only a piece of paper etc. Her and my dad were having huge problems at the time and are separated now.
Life is complicated, especially in our family!

quinne Sun 17-Aug-08 18:38:28

If it was my sister/ close friend then i would say don't get married to this man. I'd tell her that I think she ought to postpone the wedding.

i would not have done this when I was 26 but I would do it now because I have the benefit of hindsight. The divorces have swept through all my friends now and of the 20 or so weddings I went to plus the 20 or so other couples we got to know as friends, not one survived where the couple didn't get on before the wedding. The relationships that "just didn't make sense" all fell apart causing huge pain all round. there were two marriages in particular where everyone had there doubts. The first was when the bride was more interested in the wedding than the marriage - that one lasted 10 weeks. The second one was a relationship which they just did not seem matched (that ended when the wife got pregnant and the husband felt trapped).

cheekymonk Sun 17-Aug-08 19:31:47

I hear what you are saying quinne, I really do. I talked to my sister this morning and she said it was a "generation" thing that my dh and me aren't deliberately cruel to one another and they are!!! he taunts her about her weight, she plays on his inferiority complex about him coming from a "poor" family and we are "rich" (hardly, its all relative though I know) and its all about game playing and point scoring. He is always telling her he needs more love as she isn't overly affectionate and the problems just go on...
I remember my 1st year when I moved in with dh was the happiest of my life, it was fantastic. Now it is harder, money worries, parenting, a mortgage, separation due to his job but we are essentially a team at the end of the day and we both try hard to spend as much quality time together as we can. I think you need the foundations of that honeymoon period to build on but its like they have never had it.
I also don't like to think of people laughing at my sister behind her back. Everyone knows they have problems (she tells them) so it doesn't matter how grand it all is if everyone is thinking "this won't last 5 minutes"...I know its not important what people think but I can't help but think about it...

quinne Sun 17-Aug-08 20:13:32

It sounds like she won't listen to you. Since when did insult humour become a generation thing?
I would not worry what other people think. Until they've been there and done it themselves they will think love is everything. So all her friends in church will be thinking "how romantic". Sadly love is not the only ingredient to a successful marriage and your sister sounds determined to learn that the hard way.

If she won't listen, then you should give up trying to talk her out of it because:-
1. she might cling to the idea more in face of opposition
2. She'll need to feel able to go to you for help when and if it all goes wrong for her.

I'm sorry though because its a tough situation for you to be in. (Maybe he'll be braver?)

cheekymonk Sun 17-Aug-08 22:39:44

Thanks quinne x

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