Author Topic: Family Member Complicating Marriage  (Read 441 times)

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Offline Saxon

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Family Member Complicating Marriage
« on: June 14, 2017, 05:50:46 PM »
My fiance and I were received into the Orthodox Church in December. She's from a Ukrainian-Canadian family who fell away from Orthodoxy at the first generation over here. Her grandparents were thrilled that we embraced the Faith. Anyway, we're getting married this October, but there's an issue with her brother that's threatening to disrupt things. He has always been strange and distant - four years with my fiance and I've only met him a handful of times, usually at Christmas, funerals, and so on, as he doesn't keep in close contact with anyone. Rumors were swirling that he's gay. Well, after their grandfather passed away just before Christmas, he came clean (he kept it hidden because he knew his grandfather would be destroyed by it). He did so by bringing his partner - a male-to-female transsexual - to Christmas dinner. No one said anything, although I know my soon-to-be in-laws weren't happy about it as they barely spoke to them (my fiance's aunt, on the other hand, a hardcore flag-waving liberal who lives in California, was all for it).

Fast-forward to the grandfather's internment last week. The brother showed up with the transsexual and another guy who we've never heard of before. We thought it was strange that he would be bringing a random friend to his grandfather's funeral. After lunch, while we were back at my fiance's grandmother's home, I noticed this individual rubbing and caressing the transsexual's leg. On the drive home, there was an awkward silence until I finally spoke up and asked my fiance what was going on. She echoed my thoughts; it looks like some sort of polygamous homosexual relationship. Now, I try my best to adhere to the "hate the sin, not the sinner" mindset, and I can turn a blind eye to her brother's inclinations while praying the sickness is lifted, but the transsexual boyfriend paraded in front of us was just too much. This latest revelation just added to the circus atmosphere.

We had already agreed that while her brother can come to the wedding, the transsexual isn't welcome, and certainly not this other individual. I've spoken to our priest about it as well, and he supported my position and said he doesn't want those two in his church. My fiance is reluctant solely for the fact that we know her brother won't come if he can't bring his "partner", and that it'll cause a family rift as, whether or not they support his lifestyle, he'll stop talking to us. Her parents have some sort of dislike for religion and already blame me for bringing their daughter into Orthodoxy (despite her being as enthusiastic as I was), and will further that blame by claiming it fractured the family.

My priest has been simple and uncompromising in this matter, and while I certainly appreciate that, my fiance and her family will be a different story. Does anyone have any advice on how to move forward?

Offline Quinault

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Re: Family Member Complicating Marriage
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2017, 05:57:35 PM »
It sounds almost like the brother is intentionally bringing people are that are on the "very" end of the spectrum as something like a statement.

I'd have a frank conversation with your fiancé about whether or not she would like this prior behavior to be duplicated at your service in the church. Possibly you could have a second reception that is devoid of anything religious. I'd also remind the brother that the wedding service isn't exactly short! He may decide of his own accord to skip it and just attend the reception instead.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Family Member Complicating Marriage
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2017, 06:41:27 PM »
Lord, have mercy! I have no advice for you on that. there are no good solutions for such a situation
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Family Member Complicating Marriage
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2017, 06:46:13 PM »
From the title of your thread I expected this to be a real problem affecting your own marriage. Be grateful it's not.
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Family Member Complicating Marriage
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2017, 07:04:09 PM »
Why not just limit the brother to 1 guest
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Offline Tallitot

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Re: Family Member Complicating Marriage
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2017, 07:08:05 PM »
How large is your wedding? Just invite him w/o a "plus one".
Proverbs 22:7

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Re: Family Member Complicating Marriage
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2017, 07:34:49 PM »
Ultimately, it's the priest who decides who can and cannot enter the Church. He's the Rector. That said, I personally find no problem of anyone entering the Church provided they understand the etiquette and their place in the pecking order. In this case, it seems like that would be a difficult feat to achieve.
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Re: Family Member Complicating Marriage
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2017, 07:40:53 PM »
On the drive home, there was an awkward silence until I finally spoke up and asked my fiance what was going on. She echoed my thoughts; it looks like some sort of polygamous homosexual relationship.
It might be good not to assume and instead to find out straight from the horse's mouth, exactly what is going there.
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Offline Tallitot

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Re: Family Member Complicating Marriage
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2017, 07:41:51 PM »
It's not just the ceremony they have to consider, there's the reception or dinner afterwards. There is nothing wrong with asking the brother to either attend alone or limit himself to one escort.
Proverbs 22:7

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Family Member Complicating Marriage
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2017, 07:48:29 PM »
It's not just the ceremony they have to consider, there's the reception or dinner afterwards. There is nothing wrong with asking the brother to either attend alone or limit himself to one escort.

True. Although this really needs to be a decision by his sister.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Family Member Complicating Marriage
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2017, 09:03:23 PM »
whether or not they support his lifestyle, he'll stop talking to us.
That may not be a thing to be feared.

You need not make any apology for not tolerating what they evidently can't stand either. If you want, just send an invitation to the reception, not the ceremony. With or without "and guest."
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Offline Saxon

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Re: Family Member Complicating Marriage
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2017, 07:52:24 PM »
Why not just limit the brother to 1 guest

Unfortunately that doesn't mitigate the dilemma - his "partner" isn't welcome to either the ceremony or dinner. I don't want him there, and neither does our priest (who has also become a very good family friend). Her brother will have to be specifically told that he cannot bring any guests. He'll almost certainly boycott the whole thing and it'll likely be some time, if ever, before we're again on speaking terms. The fallout will spoil our memories of the day and cause endless family drama. I can't help but think that if my in-laws had shown more interest in Christ, and less in money and material things, that their son wouldn't be such a trainwreck. But what's done is done.

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Re: Family Member Complicating Marriage
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2017, 07:57:03 PM »
Unfortunately that doesn't mitigate the dilemma - his "partner" isn't welcome to either the ceremony or dinner. I don't want him there, and neither does our priest (who has also become a very good family friend). Her brother will have to be specifically told that he cannot bring any guests. He'll almost certainly boycott the whole thing and it'll likely be some time, if ever, before we're again on speaking terms. The fallout will spoil our memories of the day and cause endless family drama. I can't help but think that if my in-laws had shown more interest in Christ, and less in money and material things, that their son wouldn't be such a trainwreck. But what's done is done.

Invite him to the reception (sans guest) but not the ceremony. It is perfectly acceptable to bar from a religious function anyone who is likely to disrupt it. He's a grown man; if he wishes to sulk over not getting his statement across on your special day, by all means let him.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Family Member Complicating Marriage
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2017, 12:48:16 PM »
Unfortunately that doesn't mitigate the dilemma - his "partner" isn't welcome to either the ceremony or dinner. I don't want him there, and neither does our priest (who has also become a very good family friend). Her brother will have to be specifically told that he cannot bring any guests. He'll almost certainly boycott the whole thing and it'll likely be some time, if ever, before we're again on speaking terms. The fallout will spoil our memories of the day and cause endless family drama. I can't help but think that if my in-laws had shown more interest in Christ, and less in money and material things, that their son wouldn't be such a trainwreck. But what's done is done.

Invite him to the reception (sans guest) but not the ceremony. It is perfectly acceptable to bar from a religious function anyone who is likely to disrupt it. He's a grown man; if he wishes to sulk over not getting his statement across on your special day, by all means let him.
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Family Member Complicating Marriage
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2017, 12:52:41 PM »


I suggest speaking directly with him, and letting him know that you care for him, and wish for him to attend, however, you disagree with his chosen lifestyle (and you ARE free to say that...we all have a right to our opinions and beliefs), and since it is YOUR wedding, you ask that he not bring along his partner.

IF he argues and throws a fit, so be it.  Clearly you've hardly seen him in the past, so it is not like you will be missing much.

If her family blames you for any of this, and for returning their daughter to her native Faith, then it is on them. 

Focus on your wife and yourself...and building YOUR kingdom, and raising your children if God grants them.

(If possible, move far far away from her family.)
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Offline FinnJames

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Re: Family Member Complicating Marriage
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2017, 02:29:15 PM »
We had already agreed that while her brother can come to the wedding, the transsexual isn't welcome, and certainly not this other individual. I've spoken to our priest about it as well, and he supported my position and said he doesn't want those two in his church.

It's your fiancée's wedding (well, yours too, of course) so she ought to invite whoever she wants to it. If that includes her brother but not his partner or the third person, then she should just invite her brother and ask him to come alone. People are always advising to 'ask your priest'. This may be one of those times when it's convenient to 'blame your priest'. That might deflect any hurt feelings on the part of your fiancée's brother and her wider family.