Jacinta and Mark were engaged. Jacinta’s parents were concerned because they didn’t see in Mark
the capacity to love generously. Their dilemma was whether to share their misgivings with Jacinta. Would it drive her to defend Mark and alienate their prospective son-in-law? They decided to share their concern with Jacinta while reiterating that they trusted her judgment and would welcome Mark wholeheartedly into the family if this was her choice. They knew Jacinta and Mark would be attending a reputable marriage preparation program, so they prayed and said no more.
During the Engaged Encounter, Jacinta observed how other couples treated each other and that, by comparison, Mark acted like a spoiled teenager. She decided to break off the engagement. It was hard, but her parents’ words helped her to be open to this possibility and to make the decision herself.
A discussion of marriage such as the one above must begin before any wedding or, preferably, even before the engagement. I hope you find that you really like the man or woman with whom your young adult appears to be getting serious. Still, there are bound to be times leading up to the wedding and afterward when you see things differently.
Generally, these are relatively minor and can be handled by the overall rule of thumb: Intervene as little as possible, and trust your young adult’s good judgment.