No one should have to deal with unsupportive relatives at their same-sex wedding. Sadly, though, it happens far too often. When it’s a random cousin or a great aunt that you never see, the answer is simple- just don’t invite them. If they can’t be part of making your big day one of the happiest of your lives, they don’t need to be part of it.
What do you do, though, when that unsupportive relative is someone much closer to your heart? When it’s your mom, dad, grandparent, or favorite aunt? While the answer isn’t always simple and really depends on how deeply you desire holding onto the relationship, the tips below will help.
How to Cope with Unsupportive Relatives at Your Same-Sex Wedding
Recently, we came across a Reddit post from user- Cupcakeashwee– that was posted in the LGBT Weddings community. The post (embedded below) was titled, “Future Mother-in-Law Incredibly Unsupportive of Our Upcoming Wedding,” and the user was asking for advice on how to deal with her future mother-in-law. When we read this post, it tugged at our heart strings, so we wanted to help to come up with ideas on how to deal with a situation like that.
Decide how important their prescience is to you
Fans of the mockumentary sitcom Modern Family may recall a particular episode from Season 5 called “Message Received.” During an argument, Mitch’s (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) father, Jay (Ed O’ Neill), reveals that he’s ashamed to tell his friends that his son is marrying a man. (Mitch is marrying his longtime partner, Cameron “Cam” (Eric Stonestreet). Mitch replies to his father, “If it really makes you that uncomfortable, then don’t come to the wedding.”
Before the episode ends, father and son have repaired the damage. However, it does raise the question on whether or not to invite relatives who don’t support same-sex marriage. As mentioned above, sometimes it really is just a matter of canceling their invitation. Will your wedding really be any less special if “random cousin Ronnie” who you met exactly once at a family reunion isn’t there? Can you imagine walking down the aisle without seeing Great Aunt Gloria in the crowd? If they aren’t a major part of your life, it’s fine to cut them from your guest list. If you do need them there, or would at least try to work things out with them, keep reading.
Have an Honest Conversation With Your Relative
First and foremost, it’s important for you to sit down with your unsupportive relatives and outright ask them why they either don’t approve of your upcoming nuptials or why they don’t like your partner. There could be one of several reasons for their displeasure. It may be a generational thing. It may be an upbringing thing. Or it may be a religious thing. We’re not saying that any of those are good reasons for not supporting your same-sex wedding, but it can help you get some perspective and decide what to do next.
You may discover that their objection has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that you’re planning a same-sex wedding and everything to do with something else entirely. Maybe Grandma is upset not because her granddaughter is marrying a woman, but because you’re doing it in a garden instead of a church. Perhaps dad really is an LGBTQ ally, but he just thinks you’re moving too fast. After you have heard their side- regardless of what that may be-calmly and politely let them know that you truly respect and love them dearly, but you also love your partner and intend to spend the rest of your life with them.
Stand By Your Partner No Matter What
No matter how your family member reacts after the two of you talk, it is crucial that you stand by your partner and stay 100% committed to them. They are your life partner and they are the one you will spend the rest of your life with. The two of you need to present a united front, one that is peaceful and harmonious. This will convey to your family that both of you are on the same page and that you both are dedicated to your relationship, your marriage and your life together.
Consider Counseling Sessions
You may want to think about asking your family member to attend objective, third-party counseling sessions with a licensed marriage and family therapist. This may be helpful in opening the lines of communication with your relatives and may also assist everyone involved to come up with workable resolutions to the conflict. Lastly, a therapist may also help to aid in the building of a new family structure that will include your new spouse.
A reputable online website that will help you locate a counselor in your area is Psychology Today. The website allows you to search by city or zip code. Then, you can filter the list, if you so choose, to find a professional that specializes in issues such as family conflicts, life transitions, relationship issues and stress. Psychology Today also allows you to choose a specialist that is LGBT-friendly.
If, after all of that, your relative still gives every indication that they’re going to ruin your special day, you may need to consider just cutting them from your guest list. Yes, even if that relative is your mom, dad, or grandparent. It will hurt, and I’m sorry for that. However, this day is about you and your partner. You deserve the best day possible, and sometimes that means leaving out people who can’t support your love.